Author: John Carter

Types of Drugs: Opioids, Depressants, Stimulants, Hallucinogens and More

different types of drugs and their effects

They affect the brain’s monoamine neurotransmitter systems, which include norepinephrine and dopamine. Many drugs can alter a person’s thinking and judgment, and can lead to health risks, including addiction, drugged driving, infectious disease, and adverse effects on pregnancy. Information on commonly used drugs with the potential for misuse or addiction can be found here. Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that alter a person’s perception of reality. They work by disrupting brain activity, affecting mood, sensory perception and muscle control. Among the most addictive types of drugs, opioids are powerful painkillers that produce a sense of euphoria.

  1. Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that alter a person’s perception of reality.
  2. Because this interaction occurs inside the cell, agonists for this receptor must be able to cross the cell membrane.
  3. Man-made substances used to treat conditions caused by low levels of steroid hormones in the body and misused to enhance athletic and sexual performance and physical appearance.
  4. Like nicotine and alcohol, an individual can build up a tolerance to caffeine, which means they need to consume more to feel its effects.

Detailed and accurate information is provided on over 24,000 prescription and over-the-counter medicines for both consumers and healthcare professionals. By Rebeca SchillerRebeca Schiller is a health and wellness writer with over a decade of experience covering topics including digestive health, pain management, and holistic nutrition. Smoking increases the risk of many cancers including lung, mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and bladder.

We offer a number of free resources to help facilitate discussion, including our comprehensive Drug Index A-Z. Doctors primarily prescribe stimulants for ADHD and narcolepsy. The drugs can also help aid weight loss, as they can decrease appetite. Stimulant abuse can occur in school or college when students wish to enhance performance in school or sports. Inhalants are volatile substances that produce chemical vapors.7 These vapors can cause a feeling of euphoria or mind-altering effects. Opioids are powerful painkillers that can give you a sense of euphoria.

Dissociative drugs work by interfering with the brain’s receptors for glutamate. This chemical plays a significant role in cognition, emotionality, and pain perception. In medical terms, dependence refers explicitly to a physical condition in which the body has adapted to the presence of a drug. Narcotic drugs, also known as opioids, are drugs that induce a pleasant state of relaxation and drowsiness but can also cause partial euphoria, slowed pulse and breathing, and nausea.

Natural Product Information (Professional)

As the name implies, the drug affects a person’s sensory perceptions, causing hallucinations. Students or athletes can abuse these substances to improve their performance. When abused, stimulants can lead to a variety of unwanted consequences.

Over time, an individual can develop a tolerance to or dependency on alcohol. However, some may have negative effects after taking the drug, such as feeling panic, fear, and distrust. LSD can also cause elevated blood pressure, sleeplessness, and dizziness.

different types of drugs and their effects

Seeking help for addiction may feel daunting or even scary, but several organizations can provide support. However, moderate use can cause irritability, depression, sleep problems, and anxiety. This ‘slowing down’ effect can affect your cognitive and motor functions. It can even slow down your responses to whatever’s happening around you.

Risks of taking psychoactive drugs

A psychoactive substance is any substance that interacts with the central nervous system. When a person uses them, it causes changes in how the brain responds to stimuli. BetterHelp can connect you to an addiction and mental health counselor. This dual addiction manifests itself in the form of compulsion to use the drug, difficulty stopping the use, as well as a series of behaviors that compel the person to obtain the drug by all means necessary.

different types of drugs and their effects

Experts tend to denominate as soft drugs the substances whose frequent use does not significantly interfere with or affect daily life, such as caffeine, tobacco and even marijuana. Stimulant drugs increase the activity of our central nervous system in various ways. The most popular legal drugs are alcohol  (which has more damaging effects than cannabis in the case of abuse)  and tobacco  (specifically the nicotine contained). Other substances fall under the category of legal drugs, such as caffeinated drinks and those containing theine. Cocaine, heroin, hallucinogenic mushrooms, and extasy are among the most consumed illegal drugs.

Risks of Inhalant Abuse provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 12 Feb 2024) and others. Drug, any chemical substance that affects the functioning of living things and the organisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that infect them. Pharmacology, the science of drugs, deals with all aspects of drugs in medicine, including their mechanism of action, physical and chemical properties, metabolism, therapeutics, and toxicity. This article focuses on the principles of drug action and includes an overview of the different types of drugs that are used in the treatment and prevention of human diseases.

Additionally, some drugs, such as cocaine, have an association with potentially serious side effects, including heart attack and sudden death. Because they may not undergo professional manufacturing processes in a laboratory, a person cannot be sure what ingredients an illegal drug may contain. Legal drugs, such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and prescription medications, tend to be safe with responsible use. A doctor can prescribe opioids to someone for moderate to severe pain. Common brand names of prescription opioids include OxyContin and Percocet. Like nicotine and alcohol, an individual can build up a tolerance to caffeine, which means they need to consume more to feel its effects.

Doctors typically prescribe opioids to people experiencing severe pain. The increased brain activity can make you feel like you’re speeding up. The seven different types of drugs are categorized based on their effects. Each type of drug has its own set of characteristics and dangers.

FDA Professional Drug Information

Pronounced “cot,” a shrub (Catha edulis) found in East Africa and southern Arabia; contains the psychoactive chemicals cathinone and cathine. People from African and Arabian regions (up to an estimated 20 million worldwide) have used khat for centuries as part of cultural tradition and for its stimulant-like effects. Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a depressant approved for use in the treatment of narcolepsy, a disorder that causes daytime “sleep attacks”. Learn more about the health risks of excessive alcohol consumption.

Finally, drug classification also varies depending on their pharmacokinetics process  (specific way of absorption, distribution, metabolization, and excretion) which is not always similar for each substance. For example, certain drugs can be differentiated based on the body part or type of tissue used to administer them. In this sense, the word drug is closely related to the meaning of narcotic or psychedelic seeing how each of these substances affect the CNS to a certain degree. Psychedelic drugs don’t cause dependence like some other kinds of drugs. However, you can still become addicted if you abuse these substances. Also known as psychedelic drugs, hallucinogenic drugs cause you to disconnect from your sense of reality.