Central nervous system depressants (Downers)

Drugs that dull the central nervous system, and generally slows down all functioning, making the user feel relaxed and drowsy are known as downers. Sometimes, as in the case of alcohol, inhibitions may be dulled leading to behaviour out of the norm.


  • Slows you down, often slurred speech
  • Lack of co-ordination
  • Decreased energy
  • Decreased alertness
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Decreased appetite
  • Decreased functioning of the Immune system
  • Increased sleeping

Examples of downers

  • Alcohol
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Mandrax

Withdrawal – General symptoms include:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Night sweats
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Back-ache
  • Stomach cramps (Symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fevers are specific to heroin withdrawal – other general symptoms are also evident)
  • During benzodiazepine withdrawal, panic and anxiety attacks prevail