Depressant drugs are prescribed to relieve tension, anxiety and irritability. In addition, depressant drugs can treat insomnia. Orally taken, depressant drugs have a high potential for abuse, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The most common depressant drugs prescribed and abused are barbiturates, methaqualone (Quaaludes), chloral hydrate and Glutethimide. If patients are worried about the possibility of abuse, they should talk to their doctors.
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Barbiturates affect the central nervous system. Barbiturates result in a calming effect, which leads to abuse by some people, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' publication Drugs of Abuse. Barbiturates have a high level of physical dependence and a moderate level of psychological dependence for users. The duration of the barbiturate's effects is between 1 and 16 hours; higher doses of barbiturates lead to longer duration of effects. According to the Greater Dallas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, commonly abused barbiturates include Seconal (secobarbital), Nembutal (pentobarbital) and Amytal (amobarbital).
Methaqualone is another type of central nervous system depressant. Drugs of Abuse notes that methaqualone has both a high physical and psychological dependence for the user. The effects of methaqualone can last between 4 and 8 hours.
Another type of depressant drug, chloral hydrate, is used as a sedative. One brand name version of chloral hydrate is Aquachloral, according to the National Institutes of Health. The duration of chloral hydrate's effects is between 5 and 8 hours, according to Health and Human Services. Chloral hydrate has both a moderate physical and psychological dependence.
Glutethimide is similar to chloral hydrate, where it also works as a sedative. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Glutetimid and Noxyron are two brand name options of Glutethimide. Glutethimide has a high physical dependence and a moderate psychological dependence when used, according to the federal government.