When we hear the term “psychoactive drug abuse” it conjures up thoughts of something illegal. However, the complete opposite is true.  Legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco are also classified as psychoactive drugs.  Some of the commonly used illegal psychoactive drugs include cocaine, heroin, amphetamines, and cannabis.

Psychoactive Drug Abuse Effects on the Brain

There are three classifications of psychoactive drugs:

  • Depressants (sedatives, hypnotics, alcohol, solvents)
  • Hallucinogens (cannabis, PCP, LSD)
  • Stimulants (morphine, heroin, ecstasy, opioids, nicotine, morphine, cocaine, and amphetamines)

The reason these drugs are classified as psychoactive has to do with the effects they have on the brain.  Each substance has a different behavioral effect and a different rate of developing tolerance. Likewise, the withdrawal symptoms vary from drug to drug and from person to person.

One of the similarities with these drugs is the way they affect a person’s motivation, which is a significant factor in an addiction.  When a drug-dependent person experiences cravings, specific areas in the forebrain(cerebral cortex) are activated.  The forebrain controls a person’s ability for abstract thought and planning.  It is important to note that other regions of the brain are also affected by drug use and each area presents an entirely different reaction.

Short and Long Term Effects of Psychoactive Drug Abuse

The short and long term effects of psychoactive drugs vary according to the drug involved and the dosage among other factors such as the person’s environment and his or her mental or physical health.

  • Short-term effects
    • Anxiety
    • Psychosis
    • Mood swings
    • Depression
    • Sleep problems

The above effects usually go away after the drug is cleared from the body.  However, there are some long-term side effects of psychoactive drug abuse that persist longer.

  • Long-term effects
    • Depression
    • Schizophrenia
    • Cirrhosis of the liver
    • Lung cancer
    • Emphysema
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Hepatitis B and C
    • Heart disease
    • Organ failure

Again, these effects vary depending on the drug involved and the person’s mental and physical health.

Find Help for Psychoactive Drug Abuse Today

Most people begin taking psychoactive drugs because they expect to reap some benefit from them such as pain relief or pleasure (euphoria).  Unfortunately, misuse or abuse of these substances often leads to dangerous addictions.

To look at it another way, the CDC released a report in February 2016 that shows the number of fatal drug overdoses has doubled since 1999.  This number encompasses all genders and age groups.

The best option for anyone who is considering experimenting with psychoactive drugs for recreational purposes is to avoid taking that first dose because some of these drugs can cause addiction with only one dose. Before you realize it, you won’t be able to control your urge to take more.

If you have already gotten to the point of compulsive psychoactive drug abuse, the best thing you can do right now is to call our toll-free number and find out how we can help you overcome your addiction. We can help you choose a treatment program best suited for your specific needs.  Our comprehensive program is designed to adapt to your situation to ensure that you get the highest level of care possible.  Call now to learn more.