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What are tranquilizers?

Tranquilizers are central nervous system depressant drugs classified as sedative-hypnotics. Tranquilizers are classified into two main categories: minor tranquilizers (anxiolytics, or anti-anxiety agents) and major tranquilizers (neuroleptics), drugs used to treat severe mental illnesses. Minor tranquilizers are used in the treatment of anxiety, tension, panic attacks, and insomnia. Neuroleptics specifically relieve the symptoms of mental illness, but are also used as sedatives before surgical and medical procedures; they are rarely misused for other purposes. Minor tranquilizers are, however, frequently abused. 


How are tranquilizers used?

Tranquilizers are almost exclusively ingested in pill or capsule form. They are available by prescription only. 


How do tranquilizers work?

At therapeutic doses, tranquilizers generally relieve anxiety and may in some people induce a loss of inhibition and a feeling of well-being. Many tranquilizers tend to induce sleep. As the dose of the tranquilizer is increased, so are the degree of sedation and the impairment of mental acuity and physical coordination. 


What are the side effects of tranquilizer use?

Many users report lethargy, drowsiness, and dizziness after taking tranquilizers. Decreased motivation, irritability, nausea, headaches, skin rashes, impaired sexual functioning, menstrual irregularities, tremors, loss of appetite, or increased appetite, lethargy and over sedation, and vivid or disturbing dreams are all possible side effects of tranquilizer use. With regular use, tranquilizers can create psychological and physical dependence similar to that of barbiturates. 


What are some of the more common minor tranquilizers?

Some minor tranquilizers are prescribed as anti-anxiety medications; others are recommended as sleeping medications. Minor tranquilizers may include Valium (diazepam), Librium/Novopoxide (chlordiazepoxide), Halcion (triazolam), ProSom (estazolam), Xanax, and Ativan. 


What are some common street names for tranquilizers?

Tranquilizers are sometimes called downers, sleeping pills, and candy.