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This is a condition where individuals become dependent on or abuse substances used for their calming effect (sedatives), sleep-inducing effect (hypnotics), and anti-anxiety effect (anxiolytics). These substances (SHAs) include benzodiazepine, carbamate, and barbiturate medications, and are commonly used to treat anxiety, insomnia, muscle tension (spasticity),seizures (convulsions), and to aid in alcohol/drug withdrawal. They are sometimes used to treat high blood pressure (hypertension). Occasionally, an individual who is prescribed one of these medications will abuse it or develop substance dependence. These medications may also be sold on the street and used for recreational purposes. A physiologic dependence upon the medication, which is being taken as prescribed and necessary, is not in itself considered substance abuse.
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