Illicit drug abuse has become a serious issue among all classes of society. The addictive nature of drugs is causing a great misery in the lives of drug abusing people. According to National Institutes of Health, in the United States every year, around 40 million people are getting affected by drug abuse related illnesses or injuries.
Prolonged use of drugs not only affects the health of the individual but also disturbs his career, family and social relations. In this context, being aware of different classes of drugs and their effects on both body and mind, will caution you to stay away from drugs and also enable you to protect your loved ones from getting addicted to such unhealthy habits.
Classes of drugs of and their harmful effects:
Stimulants are a class of drugs that work on the nervous system and make the person feel energetic, mentally alert and cause a feeling of well-being. They give high and thus tempt people to use them repeatedly. These drugs are highly addictive. They damage the brain’s decision making abilities. Higher doses of stimulants can lead to death.
Examples of stimulants are cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, etc. Acute health effects of these drugs include loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, anxiety, euphoria, weight loss, insomnia, depression, etc. They increase blood pressure, heart beat, and also elevate the risks of heart stroke, seizures and panic attacks.
Hallucinogens are a class of drugs that cause altered perception of feelings and produce imaginary experiences that seem real. LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, MDMA, psilocybin, peyote and phencyclidine (PCP) are some examples of hallucinogen drugs.
Increased use of hallucinogens leads to impaired co-ordination, nausea, trembling, depression, damaged memory and concentration, mood swings, anxiety, distorted sense of sight, touch and sound.
• Dissociative drugs
This class of drugs distorts perception of vision and sound. They cause a feeling of detachment from the body and mind. PCP, dextromethorphan or ketamine are a few examples of dissociative drugs.
A person using these drugs has a trance like feeling. Use of dissociative drugs causes various health problems such as increased blood pressure and heart rate, rapid breathing, nausea, blurred vision, anxiety, depression, dizziness and kidney damage. If taken at very higher doses, it may lead to seizures, coma, hyperthermia and death.
• Club drugs
Club drugs are a class of drugs that primarily affect the central nervous system and alter the normal functioning of brain. Some examples of club drugs are GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate), rohypnol, ecstasy (MDMA), ketamine, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and methamphetamine.
These drugs are commonly abused by teens and young adults at night clubs, raves, concerts and bars. Effects of club drugs vary from person to person depending upon the amount of usage. However, long term usage may lead to serious health issues like liver damage, respiratory distress, dizziness, seizures, amnesia, muscular cramping, and depression, loss of coordination, tremors and even death.
Cannabinoids are a class of drugs that interact with the cannabinoid receptors in the brain which are responsible for our memory, behavior and performance. Due to this interaction, activities of brain like loss of pain and perception get affected. Examples of cannabinoid drugs are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) or marijuana, nabilone and dronabinol.
Consumption of these drugs leaves a negative impact on both psychological and physiological functioning of a person. Health effects of cannabinoid drugs are respiratory difficulties, decline in mental health, difficulty in speech, rapid pulse rate, anxiety, paranoia and fast and irregular heartbeat. Adverse effects of cannabinoid drugs are hypertension, nausea, chest pain, hallucinations, abdominal pain, seizures and tremors.
Early detection can prevent addiction:
After learning about the damaging effects of drug abuse on a person’s health, you might have realized the importance of staying away from such unhealthy habits. It is also important to protect your family members. If you notice sudden behavioral changes in your teen or friend, which gives you a warning sign that he/she is using drugs, you should immediately take a proactive step and help them come out of it. Early identification and prevention helps you save them from drug dependence and addiction.