Is Sedatives Addiction and The Best Way to Recover from It

May 1, 2023

Sedatives, also known as depressants, are generally prescribed to those with heightened anxiety, depression, panic attacks, seizures, and sleep problems. Though sedatives are helpful in such matters, they can be very addictive. Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, and sleeping medications are the three main categories of sedatives used worldwide. In fact, a report published by the UK Advisory Council UK Advisory Council in 2016 on the Misuse of Drugs on Diversion and Illicit Supply of Medicines found that opioids and benzodiazepines are the most prevalent drugs within the UK, with benzodiazepines and Z-drugs being the most common illegal medicines.

While most people believe it is impossible to develop a prescription drug addiction because medical professionals authorise them, they cause harm to an individual’s physical and mental health if taken in higher doses than prescribed. Sedative medication or prescribed drugs creates a soothing effect by slowing down the functioning of the central nervous system. As a result, the brain starts functioning slower, and motor skills may also get affected, leading users to show signs of fatigue. Also, sedatives are naturally addictive, and users may quickly develop their tolerance, requiring higher doses to feel the same soothing effects. Ultimately, people become dependent on sedatives, crave them all the time, and experience withdrawal when they don’t get them. 

However, sedative addiction recovery can be achieved. For you or anyone you know who may have developed an addiction to sedatives, professional help is available in the form of rehab treatment, which will help you address underlying issues and overcome the condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Sedative Addiction

Sedative addiction symptoms show themselves both physically and psychologically.

Psychological Signs of Sedative Addiction:

Dependence on drugs like sedatives may also cause mental health issues. And if they don’t get it on time or at desired doses, certain signs may reflect:

  • Failing to cut down on using or stopping the drug
  • Experience physical withdrawal symptoms
  • An overwhelming craving for the substance being abused
  • Taking the substance even though it has caused problems in several areas of life
  • Needing a greater dose or more frequent doses to experience a high

Physical Signs of Sedative Addiction:

  • Dizziness
  • Muscle shaking
  • Restlessness
  • Impaired motor functions
  • Slurred or slowed speech
  • Delirium tremens
  • Hallucinations
  • Poor impulse control
  • Sweating excessively

While these symptoms can be recurring, the intensity depends on several factors, such as what sedative has been abused, the frequency, dosage, etc. For example, some sedatives may cause irritability, drowsiness, and inability to walk without staggering, and others may cause memory loss and other unusual behaviours.

Why Do People Become Addicted to Sedatives?

Multiple underlying factors put someone at risk of developing an addiction to sedatives, including:

  • Genetic Factors

If a person has a family history of substance abuse and addiction, they are more prone to developing prescription drug addiction as well. Furthermore, personality traits like novelty-seeking and impulsive behaviours can also cause this addiction.

  • Environmental Factors

Sedative substances or depressants are known for their calming and contented effects. Hence, people usually take them to numb uncomfortable emotions or handle stressful periods. While difficult moments and stressful situations are the bitter truths of life, people shouldn't rely on sedatives each time to cope with them. Regularly using sedatives indicates deeper issues in a person's life, which need to be addressed through addiction recovery methods, including therapy.

Dangers of Sedative Addiction

Long-term use of prescription drugs can increase the risk of experiencing adverse mental, emotional, and social effects, such as:

  • Relationships breakdowns
  • Legal issues
  • Loneliness
  • Depression
  • Self-harm
  • Delayed cognitive processing
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Unemployment
  • Respiratory problems
  • Academic or professional problems
  • Financial problems

The Best Way to Recover from Sedative Addiction

Sedative detox followed by therapy is one of the best ways to recover from sedative addiction as it helps address the root cause. Many sedative rehab treatment centres also offer both detox and outpatient sessions. However, inpatient or residential rehabs are best for those with severe addiction problems. 

Keep on reading to understand what is best for you:


Usually, the foremost step of any treatment process, detox, usually involves cleansing of all harmful toxins from the body by ceasing sedative drug use. Also, detox must be done in a medical setting under the supervision of healthcare professionals, especially if you have been addicted to sedatives for a long time. The health experts will help make the detox process safe and comfortable, easing withdrawal.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

With this rehab treatment, patients will receive 24/7 support and medical assistance at the facility throughout the duration of their stay. Inpatient addiction recovery treatment includes:

  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Educational therapy
  • Drug and alcohol screenings and evaluation
  • Recreational therapy
  • Relapse prevention support group
  • Full detoxification services
  • Trauma and PTSD groups
  • Separate groups for men and women
  • Specialised programs for healthcare professionals
  • Specialised programs for uniformed professionals
  • Relationship issue support
  • Nutrition education program
  • Specialised services for dual-diagnosis with a mental illness
  • Family program

Outpatient Addiction Treatment 

For people looking for a treatment option that also fits their working schedules, outpatient rehab treatment can help. Outpatient treatment is an approach taken by rehabs that help people attend counselling sessions by visiting a clinic once or twice a week, unlike residential rehab, which requires patients to stay at the facility.

Most common outpatient services may include:

  • Family counselling
  • Psychoeducational therapy on addiction and relapse prevention
  • Individual counselling
  • Daily or weekly group counselling
  • Weekly healthcare professional group counselling
  • Multi-family group counselling

Reach Out for Help TodayWhile inpatient, outpatient, and detox rehab treatment are the main approaches to treating prescription drug addiction or sedative abuse, multiple holistic practices like yoga, acupuncture, and talk therapies are beneficial. However, it would help to acknowledge the dependence first to achieve successful addiction recovery. Hence, reach out to your nearest facility for support today.


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