What Are the Different Types of Central Nervous System Agents?

Meshell Powell

Central nervous system agents are medications that affect the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the central nervous system. Some of the most popular types of medications in this category include analgesics, muscle relaxants, and anticonvulsants. These drugs may also include central nervous system stimulants or depressants. Additional types of central nervous system agents include psychotropic drugs, emetics, and hallucinogens. Any specific questions or concerns about the use of central nervous system agents in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Nervous system.
Nervous system.

Analgesics are central nervous system agents that are used to treat pain or discomfort associated with a variety of medical conditions. Non-narcotic analgesics can be purchased at most pharmacies without a prescription and include drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Narcotic analgesics contain stronger drugs and require a prescription from a licensed doctor. The narcotic and non-narcotic analgesic forms should not be taken together without express permission from a doctor due to the possible risk of accidental overdose.

Anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants are types of central nervous system agents. Muscle relaxants are used to prevent or treat muscle spasms and may also be used as sedatives. Typically used to treat epilepsy or other seizure disorders, anticonvulsants may also be prescribed to treat nerve pain or as a treatment for anxiety.

Central nervous system stimulants are used to speed up processes involving physical or mental activity, while central nervous system depressants are designed to have the opposite effect. Stimulants may be used to treat attention disorders, and depressants are frequently used to treat anxiety or as a tranquilizer. Psychotropic drugs may be prescribed to patients who have been diagnosed with psychological illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

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Emetics are central nervous system agents that are designed to induce vomiting. These medications are traditionally given when a poisonous substance is thought to have been swallowed. Hospitals frequently use this type of medication in cases of alcohol or drug abuse when an overdose is suspected. Over-the-counter emetics are not usually recommended for normal household use and have been removed from the shelves in some countries.

Hallucinogens are central nervous system agents that can cause mood changes and abnormal perceptions. While some prescription medications and natural plants or flowers may contain some hallucinogenic effects, illicit drugs are the most common form of this type of drug. Long-term use of hallucinogenic drugs can lead to permanent psychological disturbances.

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