In both types of dependences, finding and using the sedative becomes the focus in life.Both physical and psychological dependence can be treated with therapy.Advances in pharmacology have permitted more specific targeting of receptors, and greater selectivity of agents, which necessitates greater precision when describing these agents and their effects: Doctors often administer sedatives to patients in order to dull the patient's anxiety related to painful or anxiety-provoking procedures.Although sedatives do not relieve pain in themselves, they can be a useful adjunct to analgesics in preparing patients for surgery, and are commonly given to patients before they are anaesthetized, or before other highly uncomfortable and invasive procedures like cardiac catheterization, colonoscopy or MRI.Many sedatives can be misused, but barbiturates and benzodiazepines are responsible for most of the problems with sedative use due to their widespread recreational or non-medical use.
There is some overlap between the terms "sedative" and "hypnotic".
They are central nervous depressants and interact with brain activity causing its deceleration.
Various kinds of sedatives can be distinguished, but the majority of them affect the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which are brain chemicals performing communication between brain cells.
Sedatives and alcohol are sometimes combined recreationally or carelessly.
Since alcohol is a strong depressant that slows brain function and depresses respiration, the two substances compound each other's actions and this combination can prove fatal.