Terminology for Sedatives, Hypnotics & Anesthesia

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  • 0:01 Medications Affecting…
  • 0:30 Sedative, Hypnotics &…
  • 1:42 Types of Anesthesia
  • 2:54 Examples
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson goes over some of the terminology related to medications used in the management of the nervous system: sedatives, hypnotics, anesthetics, and anticonvulsants, as well as some examples of each. Take the test after watching the video to see if you remember the terms.

Medications Affecting the Nervous System

By the end of this lesson, some of you will be hypnotized by its awesomeness, and others will be sedated by its terminology. But I hope that in either case you come away with a general understanding of what sedatives, hypnotics, and anesthetics are. All of them are related to medications that affect the nervous system in one way or another. So, let's get to it, then, before you fall asleep here.

Sedatives, Hypnotics, & Anesthetics

Before showcasing some names of sedatives, hypnotics, and anesthetics used in medicine, I want to define their differences.

A sedative is a substance that produces a state of central nervous system depression, thereby inducing calm while suppressing bodily reactions, but one that does not directly produce sleep. A person who is given a sedative may fall asleep because they are calm and relaxed, but the drug itself is not responsible for directly forcing the person to fall asleep.

This is unlike a hypnotic, which is a substance that depresses the central nervous system and is intended to directly induce sleep. It's important to note that many medications may be sedatives, hypnotics, or both, depending on the amount that is given to a patient!

Finally, anesthesia is defined as a total or partial loss of sensation, with or without an accompanying loss of consciousness, which is caused by drugs that induce such an insensibility, drugs known collectively as anesthetics. The word anesthesia comes from 'an-', which means 'without', and '-esthesia', which means 'feeling'.

Types of Anesthesia

There are many forms of anesthesia:

Topical anesthesia numbs the surface of a tissue thanks to a topical medication, like that of an ointment. Your dentist may have rubbed a topical anesthetic prior to using a needle for local anesthesia.

Local anesthesia causes a loss of sensation in a small area, like around a tooth, after the injection of a local anesthetic.

Regional anesthesia causes a larger part of the body, like an entire leg, to lose sensation after performing a nerve block.

Epidural anesthesia is produced when a local anesthetic is injected into the epidural space, the space in between the spinal cord and the bony vertebrae that surround it. Such anesthesia is used, for example, during childbirth.

Spinal anesthesia is produced when a local anesthetic is injected deeper than in an epidural anesthesia, into the spinal subarachnoid space. Such a technique can be used when surgery is performed on the legs.

General anesthesia is maintained mainly by inhalant anesthetics, which cause the total loss of sensation throughout the body and a loss of consciousness

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