What are Tranquilizers?

Vanessa Harvey

Tranquilizers are psychotherapeutic drugs prescribed by medical doctors for patients suffering mental disturbances such as anxiety. The drugs help to reduce or eliminate these disturbances. These medications fall into two classifications: major tranquilizers and minor tranquilizers.

Nausea may be a side effect of tranquilizers.
Nausea may be a side effect of tranquilizers.

Included in the major group are phenothiazines, butyrophenones and piperidine compounds. Some of the trade names for drugs in the major group are Haldol®, Risperdal® and Clozaril®, which are most often prescribed as anti-psychotics. Drugs in the major group generally are not abused.

Valerian and passion flower may be used to treat insomnia.
Valerian and passion flower may be used to treat insomnia.

Minor tranquilizers are the more common of the two groups and include the benzodiazepines, which are usually better recognized by trade names. Valium®, Serax® and Klonopin® are among the trade names of the minor group, which also includes some drug combinations such as Librax®. Such drugs are commonly prescribed as anxiolytics, a term denoting anti-anxiety. Many people refer to them as sedatives or hypnotics because of their effect on specific parts of the central nervous system. Among the slang terms for such drugs are the names "libs," "benzos" and "vees."

Dizziness is a side effect of tranquilizers.
Dizziness is a side effect of tranquilizers.

Drugs in both groups are primarily administered orally in the form of a tablet or capsule, but they also can be delivered intravenously. The specific medication and dosage will affect the actual mental state of the patient. He or she might experience confusion, drowsiness and light-headedness. The patient's vision might become blurred, he or she might develop headaches, and he or she could even suffer some memory loss or disorganization in thinking.

Some of the physical side effects that might be associated with taking minor tranquilizers include nausea, vomiting and increased perspiration. There is an element of danger in taking drugs in the minor group because of the possible toxic reaction that can occur if alcoholic beverages are consumed. It is possible to become addicted to minor tranquilizers if they are taken for prolonged periods of time. An element of danger is present if an addiction occurs, because of the health risks associated with withdrawal. Severe abdominal cramps, heart palpitations and hallucinations are some of the many symptoms that an addicted person could suffer.

Many people, in order to avoid taking chemical drugs, have turned to all-natural medicines, among which are herbal tranquilizers. Medicinal plants that are generally known for their sedative properties include valerian, German or Roman chamomile and passion flower. Valerian and passion flower have been used in various parts of the world to treat insomnia, anxiety and even epilepsy. Chamomile generally is considered to be milder than valerian or passion flower, so much larger amounts usually are needed for relief. Eating foods rich in all of the B vitamins also has proved to help naturally combat anxiety, insomnia and stress.

Chamomile tea has a mild-sedative effect.
Chamomile tea has a mild-sedative effect.

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Discussion Comments


@momothree: I definitely agree with purplespark. Your husband needs to talk with his doctor because tranquilizers aren't really for regular sleep disorders. There could be underlying conditions causing your husband to have problems sleeping.


@momothree: Valerian root is an herb that is used for sleep disorders such as insomnia. It is not, per se, a tranquilizer, but it is considered a natural sedative. Many common sleep aids that you can buy actually contain Valerian root in them. You can also buy Valerian root by itself. Clinical studies have been inconclusive on the effectiveness of Valerian root as a sleep aid.

I would suggest that your husband speak to his doctor about his sleep disorder. He could possibly have sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder that can be treatable.


My husband seems to have a sleep disorder. I have tried over the counter medications and can't seem to find one that works. Are there safe tranquilizers that you can buy over the counter. Does anyone know is Valerian root works?

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