Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 481-482


  • Nicholas J. BaloghAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Sciences, University of Missouri


Alcohol; Anticonvulsants; Antipsychotics; Anxiolytics/​ hypnotics; Barbiturates; Barbs; Benzodiazepines; Blue devils; Carisoprodol (Soma); Chloral hydrate (Noctec);Diethyl ether; Downers; Diphenhydramine (Benadryl);Ethchlorvynol (Placidyl); Gammahydroxybuty​rate (GHB); Glutethimide (Doriden); Goofballs; Ketamine (Ketaset); Ludes; Meprobamate (Mil-town); Methaqualone (Quaalude); Methyprylon (Noludar); Muscle relaxants; Neuroleptics; Nitrous oxide; Nonbenzodiazepin​e sedatives; Opioids; Sleeping pills (e.​g.​, Ambien, Lunesta, Sonata); Tranquilizers


A drug which lowers arousal (“depresses”) the action of the Central Nervous System. While depressants are used medically in the treatment of some anxiety disorders, more commonly they are consumed socially in the form of alcoholic beverages. Depressants effects on the human body include somnolence, unsteady gait, slurred speech, and uncoordinated reflexes.


Depressants include, but are not lim ...

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