Some sedatives can cause psychological and physical dependence when taken regularly over a period of time, even at therapeutic doses.
Dependent users may get withdrawal symptoms ranging from restlessness and insomnia to convulsions and death.
Although sedatives do not relieve pain in themselves, they can be a useful adjunct to analgesics in preparing patients for surgery, and are commonly given to patients before they are anaesthetized, or before other highly uncomfortable and invasive procedures like cardiac catheterization, colonoscopy or MRI.
They increase tractability and compliance of children or troublesome or demanding patients.
There is some overlap between the terms "sedative" and "hypnotic".
Advances in pharmacology have permitted more specific targeting of receptors, and greater selectivity of agents, which necessitates greater precision when describing these agents and their effects: Doctors often administer sedatives to patients in order to dull the patient's anxiety related to painful or anxiety-provoking procedures.
Anxiety and agitation with diffuse, deep, odd body sensations:"..bones are on fire", "I feel weird all over", "...a deep pricking, crawling sensation...".