Drugs: what are they and what are their effects?

smoke from smoke pipe for taking drugs




To an average person, Drugs are chemicals that change a person’s body and brain functions. But why then do we use drugs? Many drugs that have been put out for sale or have been prescribed for us are medically recommended by physicians and health practitioners to treat certain health conditions and improve the functioning of our body system.  When we suffer an ailment or disease, these chemicals are what restore the body back to its proper system of functioning or even sometimes, improves the way the body performs from one percentage to a higher one.

As we talk about drug abuse and drug awareness among students in schools, it is very important that first, we understand which kind of drugs are we talking about and how they affect our body systems.

There are several types of drugs and the rest of this article will highlight the types of drugs as well as its effects, uses and any other relevant information.

Types of drugs

There are drugs which doctors prescribe and there are street drugs. Most street drugs are either depressants, stimulants, and hallucinogens. Drugs are mostly categorized based on the effects it has on users and there are basically seven types of drugs.

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They include stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, dissociatives, opioids, inhalants and cannabis and each has its own set of characteristics, effects, and dangers.

1. Stimulants

They affect the body’s central nervous system and enhance performance. These drugs increase the user’s level of alertness and even blood pressure. It is prescribed for the treatment of Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD), asthma and many other health issues. Stimulants are consumed as pills or via snorting. Examples of stimulants include Synthetic Marijuana, Cocaine, Ecstasy, and Caffeine among others. The abuse of stimulants courses undesirable consequences such as anxiety and paranoia among others.

2. Depressants

They also affect the body’s Central Nervous System, but with an opposing effect. Rather than increasing, it decreases performance and is often referred to as “downers” on the street. Doctors prescribe some depressants for anxiety, insomnia and medical issues that prevent the user from being relaxed as they are sedative in nature. Examples of stimulants include Barbiturates, Xanax, and Valium among others. Depressants abuse causes a lot of health issues such as high blood sugar, diabetes, and low blood pressure among others.

3. Hallucinogens

They work by disrupting communication in the brain. Users of this drug lose their sense of perception and begin to have some real experiences of things that are not present. hallucinogens can be smoked, ingested as pills and also added into beverages. Some of the hallucinogens are Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), Psilocybin, and Salvia among others. Some of the effects of hallucinogen abuse are fear, distorted cognition, paranoia, psychosis, anxiety, and nausea among others.

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4. Dissociatives

They disrupt the perception of reality by interfering with the brain’s receptors and cause users to dissociate themselves from reality.  Dissociatives can be taken as liquids, powders, solids or gases. Examples are Ketamine, Dextromethorphan (DXM), and Phencyclidine (PCP) among others. Dissociatives are very dangerous and their effects include depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, social withdrawal, hallucinations, numbness, and memory loss among others.

5. Opioids

They are powerful painkillers and are often prescribed by doctors to patients who are suffering from intense pain. Opioids are taken by means of eating, drinking, smoking, injecting or ingesting as pills. Examples of opioids include Heroin, Morphine, Opium, Codeine among others. The effects of Opioids abuse include constipation, liver damage, brain impairment, euphoria, drowsiness, cardiac arrest especially if one takes an overdose.

6. Inhalants

They are mostly items which can be inhaled. They could be household items or everyday items and as the name implies. Inhalants are always inhaled as gases or fumes. The most common inhalants are paints and paint thinners, glue and gasoline, fumes of markers, Nitrous oxide, and Aerosol sprays among others. The effects include loss of smell, brain damage, nosebleeds, and weakness among others.

7. Cannabis

They are most commonly recognized as marijuana. They have both effects of hallucinogen and depressants. It is has a high potential for addiction. It is often abused by those who aren’t taking the drug for medical purposes.  It can be smoked, vaporized, and even eaten. Examples of cannabis include: Marijuana leaves, Hashish, and Hash oil among others. The resulting effects are depression, chronic anxiety, and sedation among others.

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All drugs have the potential to be dangerous regardless of the type so it is advisable to always seek medical attention in cases of drug abuse, drug misuse, drug overdose and other drug-related issues.  It’s difficult to point out what triggers an addiction, but the physical and psychological effects of drug use are many and should be treated with caution.




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