Terminology – What is a ‘Sedative’, a ‘Tranquiliser’ or a ‘Hypnotic’?

Terminology – What is a ‘Sedative’, a ‘Tranquiliser’ or a ‘Hypnotic’?

May 8, 2020 0 By admin

Long ago, there was little need to differentiate between sedatives, hypnotics and other related types of chemicals. Today, our understanding of how these chemicals interact with chemo receptors in the nervous system is much more exact, and we can group sedatives into several broad classes, each of which has smaller sub classes.

The analytic class of sedatives are called such because they tend to reduce a user’s experience of anxiety.

A tranquilize could be an anti psychotic (useful in treating psychosis) or an analytic (see above).

A hypnotic (also called a soporific) puts the patient to sleep.

Of course, no classification system is perfect, and many chemical groups belong to two different classes. Benzodiazepines, for example, fall in to all three categories, and are just as much soporifics as they are anti psychotics and analytics. 

Was written by Jonathan Ichikawa

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