Psychoactive Drugs and their Effects
Medications that effect people psychologically are called psychoactive drugs. They are often helpful in treating depression, anxiety, insomnia, and other psychological complications. Psychoactive drugs don’t affect the underlying causes of these disorders, but they can provide symptomatic relief to allow people to live more normal lives. Anxiety can be defined as persistent nervousness, tension, or panic caused by stress or other psychological causes. Anti-anxiety drugs (also know as minor tranquilizers) are used to promote relaxation or reduce the physical symptoms of anxiety. Everyone feels depressed at times, but when it is prolonged and starts interfering with daily life, support, professional help, and psychoactive medications may be appropriate. Insomnia has many causes, including anxiety and depression. When the cause is known and can be treated, sleep patterns generally return to normal. When the insomnia is persistent, sleeping drugs may be appropriate. Drugs are classified according to their effects and actions on the mind and body. Example: Depressants, Hallucinogens, opiates and stimulants. Depressants (sometimes called downers) are a class of drugs that slow normal brain function. It acts on the central nervous system because of this effect on GABA activity that produces a drowsy or calming effect. GABA works to decrease brain activity. Depressants also carry high addictive potential. The withdrawal effects from long-term depressant use can be life- threatening and produce some of the worst consequences of any other drug classifications. Examples: alcohol, Valium, Xanax, Librium, and barbiturates. Hallucinogens (commonly referred to as Psychedelics) are drugs which cause altered perception and feeling. Hallucinogens have powerful mind –altering effects and can change how the brain perceives times, everyday reality, and the surrounding environment. They affect regions of the brain that are...
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