Some heroin users may take them either to supplement their drug or to substitute for it.
Stimulant users may take sedatives to calm excessive jitteriness.
Others take sedatives recreationally to relax and forget their worries.
Barbiturate overdose is a factor in nearly one-third of all reported drug-related deaths.
They are central nervous depressants and interact with brain activity causing its deceleration.
Sedatives can sometimes leave the patient with long-term or short-term amnesia.
Doses of sedatives such as benzodiazepines, when used as a hypnotic to induce sleep, tend to be higher than amounts used to relieve anxiety, whereas only low doses are needed to provide a peaceful effect.
Sedatives can be misused to produce an overly-calming effect (alcohol being the classic and most common sedating drug).
Dependent users may get withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness and insomnia to convulsions and death.
When users become psychologically dependent, they feel as if they need the drug to function, although physical dependence does not necessarily occur, particularly with a short course of use.
Sedatives and alcohol are sometimes combined recreationally or carelessly.