There are four main categories of drugs that can potentially lead those who use them to become addicted. They fall under the umbrella of what is known as psychoactive drugs, affecting the central nervous system and the brain. By acting on the central nervous system, they cause changes in perception, behavior, and mood. Communication between brain cells, also known as neurons, is interrupted, which can lead to long-term damage to the brain. The term “psychoactive drugs” can lead some people to believe that they have nothing to worry about because they would never use such a substance. That is why many are surprised to learn that alcohol and caffeine are part of this group of drugs. These four types of drugs are stimulants, depressives, opioids, and hallucinogens. Reach out to our substance abuse treatment program to learn about how to get treatment.
The 4 Types of Psychoactive Drugs
Amphetamines, caffeine, cocaine, meth, and nicotine are all stimulants. They cause an increase in blood pressure and an elevated heart rate. There is also an increase in energy, and they make you feel more alert. This causes the user to enter an excited state and makes them feel confident and self-assured. The stronger of these substances, cocaine, and meth, can lead to cardiovascular problems and other long-term health issues. The body becomes chemically dependent on them, which can lead to addiction. Look how many people can’t start their day without a cup of coffee.
Alcohol and benzodiazepines are depressants. They slow down and inhibit the central nervous system. Brain function is also slowed down and produces a calming effect on the body. They can be used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders, but if abused, they can lead to loss of motor function and decreasing reaction time. This is why driving or operating heavy machinery is ill-advised after consuming too much alcohol.
Heroin, oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine, and Vicodin are opioids. They are primarily used as pain relievers, but when taken excessively, they can cause the user to enter a euphoric state and at other times cause nausea. Opioids were thought to be relatively safe when prescribed to those under a doctor’s care, but the number of people becoming addicted to them has skyrocketed, leading to an opioid epidemic.
LSD, psilocybin, PCP, and ketamine are hallucinogens. They are known for their mind-altering effects which can be quite dramatic. This may cause one to experience hallucinations and delusions that are far outside their normal state of mind. Other physical and psychological effects may also be felt. This is due to an increase in serotonin levels caused by the drug, greatly affecting mood and perception.
Psychoactive Drugs Classification
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration rates these drugs on a scale of I-V with “I” being the highest and “V” being the lowest. They are classified by their related effects on the brain and body. For example, stimulants cause one to become agitated and feel a burst of energy while depressants slow down the central nervous system and impair brain function. They also have a common chemical structure. In the case of opioids, each of the various drugs is derived from the opium poppy. The likelihood of them leading to addiction is also part of the classification. Consider the following telehealth therapy programs if you are struggling with chemical dependency:
- Partial hospitalization
- Intensive outpatient
Virtual Counseling at Bend, Oregon
Some psychoactive drugs can be used sparingly with little to no negative effect, like a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine with dinner. But when more serious drugs with a strong narcotic effect like benzodiazepine or LSD are used even in small amounts, they can cause serious impairment of both mental and physical faculties. Some or more addictive than others, but even in the case of hallucinogens, which are not highly addictive, the psychological effects can lead one to increase the dose to dangerous levels. At Sunstone Recovery’s virtual counseling program in Bend, Oregon, we have an extensive treatment program for all types of substance abuse and mental health issues. We can be reached online or at 855.833.9199 for you to take the first step on your journey to wellness and recovery.