Skip to main content

Psychoactive drugs. We hear about them and know roughly what is going on. Nut what is the full story? What comprises this list of substances, how do they affect us, and what do you do if you become addicted to them? Let’s get into it.

What Exactly Are Psychoactive Drugs?

Imagine your brain as a bustling city. Now, enter psychoactive drugs: they’re like tourists who can either throw a killer party (hello, caffeine!) or trash the place. These substances barge in, rearrange some furniture in your brain, and suddenly, your perception, mood, and behavior are all over the place—unpredictable and unstable.

A Quick Tour of Psychoactive Drugs

Psychoactive drugs are chemicals that change how your brain works, affecting your thoughts, feelings, and the way you see things. They work by interacting with our brain’s nerve cells, altering the levels of natural chemicals called neurotransmitters—these are responsible for how we think, feel, and act. Here are some examples of psychoactive drugs.

  • Stimulants: These are your espresso shots. They’re like a hype man in your brain boosting your alertness and energy. Think caffeine, cocaine, and the amphetamines that are a temptation for college kids pulling all nighters.
  • Depressants: The chill-out crew. These ones convince your nervous system to slow down and relax, maybe a bit too much. Alcohol and benzodiazepines are in this camp.
  • Opioids: The painkillers and dream-weavers. They might feel like that comforting hug when you’re hurting at first, but they can turn into an unwelcome addiction quickly. And then they become tragic and insidious.
  • Hallucinogens: These are your brain’s abstract artists, turning reality into a Salvador Dali painting. LSD, magic mushrooms, etc.

As mentioned before these drugs mess with your brain’s neurotransmitters. Stimulants turn up the dopamine, making you feel like the king of the world. Depressants, on the other hand, are like dimming the lights and slowing the sounds and atmosphere. Both have their unique characteristics and dangers.

1. Close-up of a man's hands clasped together in a gesture of contemplation or distress, symbolizing the personal struggle with psychoactive drug use.

What Happens to Someone on Psychoactive Drugs?


Stimulants as the overly enthusiastic actants on your nervous system. They get your heart racing, blood pumping, and your pressure building. They increase neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine, creating a euphoria. And the results could be high blood pressure, a racing heart, panic attack, and potentially heart failure or seizures.


Depressants are the opposite. They’re like a heavy blanket on your brain’s excitement center. By boosting neurotransmitters like GABA, they turn down the volume on your brain’s chatter. They also muddle your coordination and slow your breathing. It’s a tranquil lullaby that can quickly become a siren song, luring you into a dangerously deep sleep, respiratory failure and even a coma.


Opioids are the illusionists of pain relief. They bind to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas, numbing pain and boosting dopamine levels to create a sense of well-being. But here’s the twist—they’re highly addictive. Long-term use leads to tolerance, dependence, and, in some cases respiratory depression and death.


By disrupting neurotransmitter systems, especially serotonin, they repaint reality with a psychedelic brush. It’s a combination of potential psychosis, distorted cognition, and a disconnection from the tangible world.

Psychoactive Drug Treatment

Treating addiction requires a complex understanding of a person’s biology, psychology and sociology. But there’s hope. There are therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy, which is basically retraining your brain, and medications that help ease the journey. Support groups? They’re like group therapy with more coffee and less judgment.

A Nudge for Those in Need

If you or someone you know is addicted to psychoactive drugs, it’s time to reach out. It’s a tough step, but hey, the first step usually is.

The road might be bumpy, but there’s a whole community ready to walk it with you.

Remember, hope begins in the dark. If you’re looking for a light at the end of that long, twisty tunnel call Covenant Hills Treatment in Orange County, CA. We offer a place where faith and healing come together, helping you rediscover hope and get back on track.

Don’t let the dance with addiction lead you into a corner. Call Covenant Hills at 800-662-2873. It’s confidential, it’s compassionate, and it could be the call that changes everything. Remember, every journey starts with a single step, and this step could lead you to a place of healing and new beginnings.