Module 9: Sedative/Hypnotics and CNS Depressants

Module 9: Key Terms

benzodiazepines: a type of central nervous system depressant psychotropic drugs that produce sedative/hypnotic effects, sometimes used to treat anxiety; for example, Xanax, Valium, Librium, Ativan, Klonopin.

central nervous system (CNS) depressants: psychotropic drugs that slow down or reduce activity in the brain; for example, alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates.

driving under the influence (DUI): a criminal offense associated with operating a motor vehicle while a person’s ability to safely operate the motor vehicle is impaired by alcohol or other substances; also may be identified as driving while impaired (DWI).

non-benzodiazepine medications: a class of sedative/hypnotic drugs usually used to promote sleep which have many of the same effects as benzodiazepines but may have fewer associated risks; for example, Ambien, Sonata, Lunesta.

persistence: how long a substance remains active in the body; related to the pharmacokinetic principle of drug half-life.

pharmacokinetics: science and principles of pharmacology addressing how drugs are acted upon by the human body, including rates of drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, breakdown, and excretion/elimination.

polydrug use: using two or more psychotropic substances in combination, usually with the intent of achieving a particular effect; alcohol is commonly involved in polydrug use scenarios.

prescription abuse: the use of a controlled substance (medication) without a prescription, in a manner other than was prescribed, or for the purpose of altering feelings/experience.

speed of onset: a pharmacokinetic principle related to how quickly a drug’s effects are first experienced by the user; this varies by type of substance, but is also powerfully influenced by mechanism of administration (e.g., orally, intravenously, inhaled)

tolerance: when repeated use of a substance leads to a person having diminished response such that less effect is experienced by the same dose and/or higher doses are needed to achieve the same effect; one of the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.

withdrawal: the cluster of symptoms experienced when a substance dose is decreased or when its use is stopped completely; not experienced with all substances; one of the diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders.

 

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Module 9: Key Terms by Audrey Begun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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