Author: Gary Jackson

Types of Drug Addictions

For a discussion of the nonmedical use of drugs, see drug use. Most commonly recognized as marijuana, cannabis acts like a hallucinogen but also produces depressant-like effects. It is a Schedule I drug (i.e., it has a high potential for addiction) but has increasing medicinal uses in the United States. Still, marijuana is often abused by those who do not medically require it. In colloquial use, the word drugs is employed exclusively in connection to  illegal substances which are also called narcotics, or psychedelics. These psychoactive substances alter the functions of our central nervous system (CNS) and cause both wanted and unwanted effects.

different types of drugs and their effects

They are extremely habit-forming, and it may only take a couple of weeks to become physically addicted to these types of drugs. In some rare instances, studies have demonstrated that it is possible to become addicted after just one dose of an opioid. A dissociative drug developed as an intravenous anesthetic that has been discontinued due to serious adverse effects. Dissociative drugs are hallucinogens that cause the user to feel detached from reality. Different drugs have varying risks, but some are common among psychoactive drugs. Some of these risks include heart issues, addiction, worsening symptoms of mental illness, and death.


On the other hand, substances such as cannabis (marijuana) or amphetamines (speed), depending on the country, have a more ambiguous legal status, being on the borderline between legal and illegal drugs. provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

As the name suggests, inhalants are always inhaled as gases or fumes. The “highs” slightly differ between inhalants, but most people who abuse inhalants are willing to huff whatever substance they can get. It’s difficult to pinpoint when recreational drug use triggers an outright addiction, but the physical and psychological risks of drug use are many. It’s important to understand the underlying causes of addiction — from prescription drug abuse to an attempt to self-medicate mental illness. Because they may not undergo professional manufacturing processes in a laboratory, a person cannot be sure what ingredients an illegal drug may contain.

Risks of Stimulant Abuse

A benzodiazepine chemically similar to prescription sedatives such as Valium® and Xanax® that may be misused for its psychotropic effects. Rohypnol has been used to commit sexual assaults because of its strong sedation effects. In these cases, offenders may dissolve the drug in a person’s drink without their knowledge. Smoking drugs such as nicotine or cannabis can also cause damage to a person’s lungs and increase the risk of several types of cancer.

different types of drugs and their effects

For more information, see the Misuse of Prescription Drugs Research Report. However, these drugs can still have adverse consequences with excessive or improper use. For example, it is dangerous for a person to drive while under the influence of alcohol or misuse prescription medications.

Professional patient advice

A number of therapeutic proteins, including certain antibodies, have been developed through genetic engineering. No matter the type, all drugs have the potential to be dangerous. It is important to talk to your loved ones about drugs and how these substances can negatively impact their lives.

If you have loved ones with a substance use disorder, don’t ignore it. But remember, treatment is a long process that will require a long-term commitment. Inhalants include solvents and aerosols, and are found in common household items like spray paints, markers, glues, cleansers, and nitrate prescriptions. Inhalants can be breathed through the nose or mouth in a variety of ways from sniffing fumes to huffing a soaked rag stuffed in the mouth. Inhalants are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and reach the brain quickly, resulting in an intoxicated state similar to consuming alcohol. Cocaine is sourced from the coca leaves found in South America.


Cannabis, also called weed, is a type of psychoactive drug that can have the effects of a depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogen. They can come in the form of prescription medications to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy, with the brand names Adderall or Dexedrine. MDMA, also called molly or ecstasy, can have both stimulant and hallucinogen effects.

  • If you have loved ones with a substance use disorder, don’t ignore it.
  • The Recovery Village offers comprehensive, compassionate addiction treatment programs led by licensed medical professionals.
  • Methamphetamine or “meth” is an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.
  • Drug effects and their intensity vary greatly depending on the type of substance  we are dealing with.
  • Taking high doses may lead to possible cardiovascular failure or seizures.
  • Just like the harder drugs mentioned above, the soft ones also vary in the degree of addiction they cause.
  • They work by disrupting brain activity, affecting mood, sensory perception and muscle control.