8 Psychoactive Drugs You Should Really Be Careful With

Last Updated: Jul 23rd 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

The greatest danger of a drug is not the toll it can take on your body, but the effect it can have on the mind.

A body can heal, but the mind may not even know it needs healing.

Psychoactive drugs can be some of the most dangerous drugs out there because of this.

Why? Let’s delve more into what you should be so wary about. 

The Types of Psychoactive Drugs

There are four major types of psychoactive drugs. While some of them have a bit of overlap in overall effect, the categories have distinct positives and negatives. 

The four types are depressants, stimulants, psychedelics, and opiates. While there are dozens, if not hundreds, of drugs in each group, below are the 8 common offenders that you may encounter.

Depressants

Depressants have major control over the speed of your nervous system. They slow down the overall activity of your nervous system, making your responses sluggish and delayed.

This can also affect your breathing and heart rate. This makes heavy use for depressants a dangerous task, threatening lapses into comatose states on the drastic end.

Depressants contain both alcohol and marijuana. They are not on the list here as they are a popular subject across the internet. For more information on either, read on here.

1. Valium

Valium is a prescription drug used to treat anxiety and nervousness. It often combats alcohol withdrawal and also works as a muscle relaxant and anti-seizure medication. 

Valium is often the last resort prescription and used only on severe anxiety. Dependency on it can lead to respiratory depression and coma.

2. Barbituates

Barbituates are a classification of depressant. They focus on lowering heart rate and blood pressure. They also help soothe anxiety, especially in regards to physical symptoms.

Overuse can lead to nausea and dizziness, among other physical symptoms. 

Stimulants

Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants, which fits their name. They increase activity in the brain, giving their user a major increase in alertness.

While used in small doses to improve energy, they can get out of hand fast. Stimulants can increase heart rate and anxiety in great leaps. This makes it easy to slip from small use to overdose.

A major and common stimulant is nicotine, the dangerous and addictive chemical found in cigarettes. The dangers of nicotine and cigarettes are another talked about idea. You can find more information on them here

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a chemical not many people think about when they think of dangerous drugs. 

Caffeine is a common drug in many soft drinks, energy drinks, and even some food products. Many market it as a safe additive designed to increase alertness and boost energy. 

In small doses, caffeine can be manageable. Its ability to boost energy and alertness does come with a boost to irritability, heart rate, and chemical dependency.

Using it as a replacement for rest or to extend hours of alertness is a dangerous route.

2. Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a class of stimulant that focuses on increasing the activity of the brain on a major level. 

The most famous amphetamine is the more potent form known as methamphetamines. Often shortened to meth, this potent drug has a high addiction rate and drastic side effects like malnourishment and psychosis.

Most take amphetamines for recreational use. Doctors prescribe the category in very rare cases and try to avoid it more and more due to increases in addiction.

Psychedelics

When people think of psychoactive drugs, psychedelics are often what they consider. Many psychedelics have drastic effects on the mind. 

While depressants and stimulants change the rate of brain activity, psychedelics change the very nature of the brain activity. Psychadelics deal in a lot of hallucinations and alterations to the senses. 

1. LSD

LSD, or Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, is a synthetic chemical crystal created from an acid found on a few forms of fungus. 

LSD has been one of the most potent mind-altering drugs of recent history. Often known as acid, it has major effects producing hallucinations. These effects can last for hours.

There is no agreed on medical use in the United States. The safety of the user can vary to a wild degree, as most people react to the substance with a large variation. 

2. PCP

PCP developed first as a surgical anesthetic. It creates a trance-like experience in its users, making for a strong dissociative effect. 

The major effects of the drug create major body awareness and have a small relation to alcohol intoxication. As doses grow, the intensity of the effects skyrockets. 

PCP has a major addictive effect. Its mind-altering sensation finds its way into a lot of drug circles. It can lead to major cases of memory loss, mood disorders, and depression.

Opiates

A specialist section used for the treatment of pain. Opiates started as modifications to Opium, though many examples are synthetic. 

Opiates are still used as prescription relief from pain and other hazardous effects. Under careful use and care, some opiates can be helpful and harmless. The addiction rate to opiates, though, makes unmarked use a quick downward spiral.

1. Heroin

Heroin is one of the most major and infamous drugs produced. Processed from Morphine, Heroin has a massive range of purity based on the producing process.

Heroin is a powerful anti-pain medication and leaves the user in a state of numbed euphoria. Heroin has a massive addiction rate.

The danger of Heroin comes from the usual lax nature of production, making for several dangerous impurities to come with the drug itself.

2. Morphine

Morphine developed from the seed pods of the opium plant. It is a natural pain relief medication, treating moderate to severe pain in a manner of minutes.

Morphine is still used in a large number of cases for a massive amount of pain in a patient. While it can be addictive, the production of the chemical gives medical professionals some control over the dangers.

Morphine still has a heavy effect on the body, creating an effect that can make a lack of the substance worse than the pain it tried to prevent.

Being Mindful of Your Mind

The powers of psychoactive drugs are hard to deny. The real danger comes from the subtle temptations of the drugs themselves.

Any of these drugs can have an initial positive reaction. Positive mind altering can lead to dependency and addiction.

Understanding what makes the substances attractive is a key line to breaking the dependency cycle. Replacing the effect of the dangerous drug with a safe alternative is key to being free.

If you or a loved one are looking for freedom from any of the above drugs, contact us today for more information on rehab possibilities.  

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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