Depressant Addiction Treatment

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 3rd April 2023 | All Sources


Clinically Reviewed by Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist)

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All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Last Reviewed: 28th October 2022

Depressants are drugs that slow down the nervous system and relieve anxiety.

These drugs are sometimes known as “downers”, and the effects of using depressants can include drowsiness, relaxation, decreased inhibition, anaesthesia, sleep, coma, and even death.
Examples of depressants:

  • Alcohol
  • Diazepam
  • Valium
  • Cannabis


Facts About Depressantsillustration of woman with depression

Depressants are among the most widely used drugs in the world. These drugs treat low feelings, and when abused, it is so the user can experience euphoria. Depressants can increase the production of GABA neurotransmitters which slows brain activity and can even cause blackouts.

Repeated drug abuse can lead to a tolerance, where the user requires a higher dose to achieve the same effect. The sought-after feeling is relaxation, and depressant addiction is a psychological addiction.

As with alcohol, heavy depressant use can include slurred speech, problems with coordination or walking, inattention, and memory difficulties. Government sources have stated that 1.6 million adults may have alcohol dependence.[1]

Due to alcohol being an accepted and more widely used depressant, it is common for people to forget the risks and devastating effects these drugs can have.


Side Effects of Regular Depressant Use

Due to depressants’ effect on the central nervous system, users can develop a physical dependence, where physical withdrawal symptoms occur when a person stops using the drug.

Symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia
  • Poor appetite
  • Rapid pulse and breathing
  • blood pressure abnormalities
  • Seizures

These types of side effects will only occur if depressants are consumed regularly. Along with withdrawal symptoms, behavioural changes can occur if a person has a drug addiction to depressants. Behavioural changes can include:

  • Mood swings
  • Lack of motivation
  • Impaired judgement and functioning
  • Amnesia
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Weight Gain
  • Sexual Dysfunction

Consuming large amounts of these drugs can increase the risk of respiratory failure and sometimes death.

Addicts will need to take the drug despite the psychological, interpersonal or physical problems that can develop.


Depressant Addiction Recovery: Detox, Therapy, and Aftercare


The first goal when treating addiction to depressants is to perform drug detoxification. This is to flush toxins out of the body and continue rehab treatment for your long-term recovery. Drug detoxification can occur at home or in a more controlled environment.

Detoxification can last between 7-10 days, the first initial withdrawal symptom being 12-24hrs after the last dose. The most sever of these symptoms occur between the 24-72 hour mark.

Although a home may feel like a better option, research shows being surrounded by medical professionals can help combat withdrawal effects and creates a more low-risk environment.

Additionally, detoxing at drug rehab is more beneficial for recovery.

These results are due to the support and care a patient can get within a rehabilitation setting. They will have keywords to help them reduce the stress and anxiety from detoxing.

Moreover, detoxification and the symptoms which come from withdrawing can be eased in rehabilitation facilities. A substitute drug is sometimes prescribed, making withdrawal symptoms less severe.


illustration of group therapy

Once the body is clean of the drug, the treatment team can focus on the psychological causes of the drug addiction, which often include anxiety or depression.

Services such as counselling, group therapies and the programme can help patients cope with life without the drug.

Therapy is a great way for patients to explore the reasons behind their addictions; within these sessions, patients can learn healthy skills to cope with life without consuming drugs.

Moreover, group therapy can be a time for a patient to build healthy and long-term relationships with other recovering addicts. It is important to have a support network to help during those tough times, even once you have left rehab.

Sharing experiences and hearing others who may have experienced the same feelings and battles can be positive reinforcement for you to continue on your recovery journey.

Everything is taken care of while attending a rehab facility, from cleaning to providing healthy foods. It is very important to eat right when overcoming drug addiction. The right foods and diet can improve energy and psychological health – which is essential for recovery.

After Depressant Rehab

After finishing a 28-day rehab programme, which can vary depending on the person, you will leave rehab with tools to help you tackle life back home.

This can be a daunting and high-anxiety time, so we provide you with a free aftercare plan for the first year at Cassiobury Court.

The detail of this includes regular sessions either face to face or via video chat to check in and answer any questions you have. Perhaps, you overcame a struggle and wish to share your celebratory news.

Our team is there to be a support system you can refer back to when you’re back home. Additionally, we may suggest going to local addiction recovery meetings. This is to broaden your support network and hold you accountable, which can provide additional motivation to break the addiction.

illustration of virtual help services


How We Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with depressant addiction, we’re here to help.

We offer self and family referrals for those struggling and ready to start addiction recovery. Our dedicated and friendly team can provide you with advice and discuss the option of immediate care so desperately needed for those addicted.

Call our team of experts on 0800 001 4070. Alternatively, text Help to 83222.


This question can be quite divisive. However, due to the fact that addiction is often characterised as a behavioural disorder, it can often be more about managing the illness as opposed to necessarily “curing” it. The threat of relapse will always be there, but we will teach you how to make sure that you keep that threat at bay no matter what triggers may appear in your life. We want to make sure that, through out relapse prevention planning, that you are able to focus on your life while staying clean becomes second nature.

After you’ve made the brave decision to turn your life around and overcome drug and alcohol addiction for good, you’re ready to take the first step and get in touch with our friendly admissions team. Feel free to ask as many questions as you like and discuss all the treatment options available to you. Then if you’d like to proceed with your addiction rehab, we can arrange a pre-screening assessment to review your physical and psychological health. This is also a good opportunity for us to get to know you better and understand the nature of your addiction in more detail so that we can design the most effective treatment programme for you.

The cost of drug and alcohol rehab can vary depending on the type of addiction treatment you opt for. When it comes to our drug and alcohol rehab Bexhill on Sea, the majority of the cost lies with your drug or alcohol detox and also depends on the length of your treatment and whether you’re an inpatient or an outpatient. In any case, cost shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to receiving addiction treatment as the cost of funding a drug or alcohol addiction is much more expensive in the long run.

John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 3rd April 2023

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.

Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist)

Dr Alexander Lapa (Psychiatrist) - Medical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 28th October 2022

MBBS, PG Dip Clin Ed, OA Dip CBT, OA Dip Psychology, SCOPE Certified

Dr Lapa graduated in Medicine in 2000 and since this time has accrued much experience working in the widest range of psychiatric settings with differing illness presentations and backgrounds in inpatient, community and secure settings. This has been aligned to continuation of professional development at postgraduate level in clinical research which has been very closely related to the everyday clinical practice conducted by this practitioner as a NHS and Private Psychiatrist.
He is fully indemnified by the Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) and MIAB Expert Insurance for Psychiatric and Private Medical practice. He is fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK with a licence to practice.

Dr Lapa is approved under Section 12(2) of the Mental Health Act (1983)

Member of Independent Doctors Federation (IDF), British Association for Psychopharmacology (BMA) and The Association for the Study of Obesity (ASO)

Dr Lapa’s extensive experience has also concentrated on the following areas of clinical practice:
– Assessment, Diagnosis and Pharmacological Treatment for Adults with ADHD.
– Drug and Alcohol Dependency and maintaining abstinence and continued recovery
– Intravenous and Intramuscular Vitamin and Mineral Infusion Therapy
– Dietary and Weight Management and thorough care from assessment to treatment to end goals and maintenance
– Aesthetic Practice and Procedures