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any one of various substances that diminish functional activity, usually by depressing the nervous systemnervous system,
network of specialized tissue that controls actions and reactions of the body and its adjustment to the environment. Virtually all members of the animal kingdom have at least a rudimentary nervous system.
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. Barbituratesbarbiturate
, any one of a group of drugs that act as depressants on the central nervous system. High doses depress both nerve and muscle activity and inhibit oxygen consumption in the tissues. In low doses barbiturates act as sedatives, i.e.
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, sedativessedative,
any of a variety of drugs that relieve anxiety. Most sedatives act as mild depressants of the nervous system, lessening general nervous activity or reducing the irritability or activity of a specific organ.
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, alcohol, and meprobamatemeprobamate
, tranquilizing drug that acts as a depressant of the central nervous system and is commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and sometimes schizophrenia. Although meprobamate is chemically unlike barbiturates and has lower toxicity, it has similar pharmacological
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 are all depressants. Depressants have various modes of action and effects. Some are primarily used medically to relieve emotion stress, anxiety, and tension; others induce sleep, and still others are used to relieve pain. Depressants also reduce the rate and force of contraction of the heart and are used in the treatment of some forms of heart diseaseheart disease,
any of several abnormalities of the heart and its function in maintaining blood circulation. Heart disease is the cause of approximately half the deaths in the United States each year.
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. Many depressants can induce psychological dependence and addiction (see drug addiction and drug abusedrug addiction and drug abuse,
chronic or habitual use of any chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than medically warranted purposes. Traditional definitions of addiction, with their criteria of physical dependence and withdrawal (and often an underlying
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). Typically, overdosage results in confusion, coma, and convulsions. In many cases, the effects of one depressant are intensified if another depressant is taken at the same time, e.g., if barbiturates are taken with alcohol. Because of their potential for abuse, there are now strict regulations regarding the dispensing of many depressant drugs.
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1. Med able to diminish or reduce nervous or functional activity
2. a depressant drug
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
These drugs are potent central nervous system depressants. Heroin is the most commonly abused derivative.
The use of certain central nervous system depressants like pain medications, alcohol and hypnotics will worsen the presentation of hypoventilation.
Several of the chapters have been updated; for example, the chapter on alcohol now contains a section on legal and regulatory applications, and information on [gamma]-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) and ketamine has been added to the chapters on central nervous system depressants and hallucinogens, respectively.
Both barbiturates and alcohol are central nervous system depressants and their synergistic effect can be lethal.
CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DEPRESSANTS (ALCOHOL, BENZODIAZEPINES) - watery eyes; drowsiness; thick, slurred speech and sluggish reactions; uncoordinated

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