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.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology