Addictive drugs generally fall into two categories: depressants vs stimulants. While some people may use them together, most of the time, individuals prefer one or the other. And how they act when using can signal to you what type of drugs your loved one is using.
What Are the Signs of Use?
Stimulants, or “uppers,” make you feel alert, focused, and energetic. You might also feel more social and talk a lot. This may not sound so bad, but it’s perilous. The heart and brain are in overdrive, and you have significantly lowered inhibitions. So you may do something dangerous or deadly.
People using uppers may also experience more severe symptoms like paranoia, mood swings, inability to sleep for extended periods, and bouts of depression. When we look at the other side of depressants vs stimulants, you’ll see that depressants, or “downers,” have the opposite effect.
Depressants may cause drowsiness, lack of coordination, slurring of speech, confusion as well as slowed heartbeat and breathing. Those taking depressants may fall into a deep sleep from which loved ones cannot wake them. We can’t emphasize enough how frightening that is for loved ones.
Which Drugs Are Uppers/Downers?
As a family member of someone who might be abusing drugs, you may not even know that you have uppers or downers in your medicine cabinet right now.
Stimulants include drugs that doctors prescribe to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Some you may have heard of include:
- Caffeine (Yes, this is a stimulant and can be abused)
- Cocaine or crack cocaine
Depressants include drugs that a doctor prescribes to treat anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, and psychosis-like:
Alcohol is also a depressant. That’s why taking alcohol with some medications is so dangerous.
Depressants vs Stimulants: What Are the Risks?
The distinction between stimulants vs depressants continues with the risks. In the short-term, both cause dependency. That means that your body and mind begin to feel that they need them. In a dependent person, this craving is so intense that it overcomes reason, family relationships, love, and everything else that may stand in between you and your substance of choice.
As addiction settles in, you’re no longer calling the shots. As a result, you may engage in risky behavior like:
- Unsafe sex
- Sharing needles
- Meeting people in dark alleys
- Illegal behavior
The risk extends to your health and life. People who abuse stimulants often develop chest pain and heart problems as well as unsafe elevations in body temperature and dehydration that could turn deadly.
On the other side of stimulants vs depressants, people who use depressants often develop sexual dysfunction, inability to fall asleep normally, anxiety, and panic as well as the risk of not waking up.
Furthermore, some people engage in the hazardous practice of using stimulants and depressants together. This takes your body through a roller coaster of extremes that the human body isn’t built to endure.
Stimulants vs depressants are no joke. Even ones that a doctor prescribed to you or a loved one can be misused. In fact, 15 to 25% of people who have a legal prescription end up abusing the drug.
For example, over 80% of people who enter rehab for heroin abuse started out by using prescription drugs. But as a loved one, you should know that people do recover from all kinds of addiction.
How Sagebrush Treatment Centers Helps Those Abusing Stimulants or Depressants
Sagebrush Treatment Centers works to create a safe, warm, and welcoming environment for those suffering from addiction. In fact, when you walk in the door, you’ll smell the scent of chocolate chip cookies baking. We recognize that people use drugs for different reasons, and treat everyone who walks in our door as an individual.
We offer evidence-based, holistic, and personalized programs like:
- Outpatient addiction treatment center
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
- Transitional living program
- Dual diagnosis treatment
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we’re right here in Northern Virginia and ready to support your recovery. Contact Sagebrush Treatment Centers at 866.488.1156 to learn more about the addiction treatment programs we offer.