Prescription drugs – what is the difference between opioids, stimulants and depressants?

Prescription drugs like opioids, depressants and stimulants make life bearable for many people. If they are used in the right way, they can have a positive effect. However, these drugs can become an issue if they are not taken as prescribed or if they are taken illicitly.

Each of these types of drug has a different effect on the body and is prescribed for different reasons. So what do these drugs actually do and why is abuse of them so dangerous?

Opioids to kill pain

The main reason that opioids like morphine and oxycodone are prescribed is to combat severe pain. They are very useful in helping to aid the recovery of patients who have undergone an operation, or are suffering from an ongoing disease such as cancer. However, people can build up a tolerance to opioids and can be tempted to exceed the prescribed dose.

Stimulants to speed up responses in the body

One of the most well-known stimulants is Ritalin. This type of drug is used to treat conditions such as ADHD as it helps to improve concentration. Stimulants can also improve alertness levels so they can be useful in treating conditions such as narcolepsy. Unfortunately, stimulants are often abused by people looking for a high, or wanting to stay awake for a specific reason, such as cramming for exams.

Depressants to slow brain activity down

Depressants such as Xanax and Valium are often used to treat conditions such as anxiety because they slow brain activity down and help sufferers to relax. They can also be abused by people who want to feel calm in a particular situation and they can be highly addictive.

The problems of opioid, stimulant and depressant abuse

The major problem with all of these prescription drugs is that they can be addictive; for people who exceed the prescribed dose and people who take them without prescription. If you know someone who you believe is abusing these drugs, or you think that you may have a problem, you need to get help; click here for more information.

If anyone abusing prescription drugs does not get the help that they need, they can end up suffering serious long term consequences.

  • Opioid abuse can lead to problems such as liver damage, kidney damage, seizures, brain damage and loss of full memory functionality.
  • Stimulant abuse can lead to issues such as irregular heartbeat, seizures and heart attack.
  • Depressant abuse can lead to problems such as depression, chronic fatigue, breathing difficulties and sexual dysfunction.

Opioids, depressants and stimulants all have an important role to play in medical treatments. However, the prescribed dose should never be exceeded and no-one should ever take these drugs unless they are prescribed for them. Abuse of these drugs can cause numerous health issues and you should always seek help if you believe you have a problem, or someone you know is affected.