Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that alter a person’s physical and/or mental state because of how they interact with the central nervous system.
Psychoactive drugs can be prescribed by a doctor as well as used recreationally or abused. These drugs can also have both short- and long-term side effects that can include serious damage if they are misused or abused.
Categories of Psychoactive DrugsBecause they include such a wide range of substances, psychoactive drugs can be broken down into smaller classes. These various types of psychoactive drugs are divided based mostly on the substance’s effects on the body.
DepressantsDepressants are a type of psychoactive drug that inhibit and slow down the central nervous system. Depressants usually have a calming effect on the body and can be used to treat aliments like anxiety, muscle spasms, and sleep disorders.
Some examples of depressants include:
StimulantsStimulants are a class of psychoactive drugs that excite the central nervous system and increase arousal. People who take stimulants will usually experience a boost of energy and feel more alert while also experiencing an elevated heart rate and increase in blood pressure.
Some examples of stimulants include:
OpioidsOpioids include prescription painkillers, heroin, and synthetic opioids that were originally derived from the opium poppy plant. What makes this psychoactive drug type unique is its ability to relieve pain. Other side effects of opioids can vary dramatically from euphoria to nausea.
Some examples of opioids include:
HallucinogensWhile these other classes of psychoactive drugs do have some psychological effects, hallucinogens are best known for their dramatic mind-altering effects. Hallucinogens may lead to hallucinations and delusions as well as a variety of other psychological and physical effects.
Some examples of hallucinogens include:
- Magic mushrooms
While there are several types of psychoactive drugs with varying effects, all of them can be dangerous if abused. If you or someone you care about has started abusing these drugs, do not wait to get help.