Sedatives and tranquilizers are medicines that have a calming effect. Generally, sedatives and tranquilizers depress or slow down certain body functions or the activity of an organ, such as the heart.
Mild sedatives and tranquilizers may be used to reduce anxiety or other nervous system problems, promote sleep, or regulate an organ system. For example, light doses of sedatives can help reduce coughing, nausea, or convulsions. Stronger doses of these substances may be used for severe sleep problems, severe anxiety, symptoms related to psychotic disorders (such as hallucinations or delusions), or as part of anesthesia. These types of sedatives and tranquilizers should only be used as directed by a doctor because they can become habit-forming. Abuse of some stronger substances can lead to severe health problems.
Current as of: March 12, 2014
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more, visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.