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Drugs can be categorized in a number of ways. In the world of medicine and pharmacology, a drug can be
classified by its chemical activity or by the condition that it treats.

In regards to addiction treatment and rehabilitation, the drug classifications used most often are the
following five

 Narcotics
 Depressants
 Stimulants
 Hallucinogens
 Anabolic steroids
All of these drugs, with the exception of anabolic steroids, are considered to be psychoactive – meaning
they affect one or more of the mental faculties including mood, feelings, thoughts, perception, memory,
cognition, and behavior. Additionally, use of these drugs can be associated with a host of physical, mental
health, and personal complications, including alcoholic liver cirrhosis, cannabis-induced psychosis, social
problems like stigma, occupational difficulties, financial problems, and even legal problems.

Chemical Classifications of Drugs

Each of the regulated drugs that act on the central nervous system or alter your feelings and perceptions
can be classified according to their physical and psychological effects. The different drug types include the

● Narcotic

When severe pain occurs, narcotic analgesics can be effective for relieving discomfort. These drugs work
by blocking how the central nervous system perceives pain. Common effects of narcotic analgesics
include euphoria, drowsiness, and contentedness. Under the influence of narcotics, people also tend to
experience slowed respiration and pupil constriction. Narcotic analgesics include morphine, codeine,
and heroin. These drugs can result in increased tolerance and physical dependence

 Depressants.

Drugs that suppress or slow the activity of the brain and nerves, acting directly on the central
nervous system to create a calming or sedating effect. This category includes barbiturates
(phenobarbital, thiopental, butalbital), benzodiazepines
(alprazolam, diazepam, clonazepam, lorazepam, midazolam), alcohol, and gamma
hydroxybutyrate (GHB). Depressants are taken to relieve anxiety, promote sleep and manage
seizure activity.

 Stimulants.

Drugs that accelerate the activity of the central nervous system. Stimulants can make you feel
energetic, focused, and alert. This class of drugs can also make you feel edgy, angry, or
paranoid. Stimulants include drugs such as cocaine, crack cocaine, amphetamine,
and methamphetamine. According to the recent World Drug Report published by the United
Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, amphetamine-derived stimulants like ecstasy and
methamphetamine are the most commonly abused drugs around the world after marijuana.

 Hallucinogens.

Also known as psychedelics, these drugs act on the central nervous system to alter your
perception of reality, time, and space. Hallucinogens may cause you to hear or see things that
don’t exist or imagine situations that aren’t real. Hallucinogenic drugs include psilocybin (found in
magic mushrooms), lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), peyote, and dimethyltryptamine (DMT).

 Opioids.

These are the drugs that act through the opioid receptors. Opioids are one of the most commonly
prescribed medicines worldwide and are commonly used to treat pain and cough. These include
drugs such as heroin, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, oxycodone, buprenorphine,
and methadone.

 Inhalants.

These are a broad class of drugs with the shared trait of being primarily consumed through
inhalation. Most of the substances in this class can exist in vapor form at room temperature. As
many of these substances can be found as household items, inhalants are frequently abused by
children and adolescents. These include substances such as paint, glue, paint thinners, gasoline,
marker or pen ink, and others. Though ultimately all of these substances cross through the lungs
into the bloodstream, their precise method of abuse may vary but can include sniffing, spraying,
huffing, bagging, and inhaling, among other delivery routes.

 Cannabis.

Cannabis is a plant-derived drug that is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide. It acts
through the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. Cannabis is abused in various forms including
bhang, ganja, charas, and hashish oil.

 New psychoactive substances (NPS).

These are drugs designed to evade the existing drug laws. Drugs such as synthetic cannabinoids,
synthetic cathinones, ketamine, piperazines, and some plant-based drugs such as khatand kratom
are examples of NPS.

Most drug addictions start with experimental use of a drug in social situations. For some people, the drug
use becomes more frequent. The risk of addiction and how fast you become dependent varies by drug.
Some drugs have a higher risk and cause dependency more quickly than others.

As time passes, you may need larger doses of the drug to get high. Soon you may need the drug just to
feel good. As your drug use increases, you may find that it's increasingly difficult to go without the drug.
Attempts to stop drug use may cause intense cravings and make you feel physically ill (withdrawal

Drug addiction symptoms or behaviors include, among others:

 Feeling that you have to use the drug regularly — this can be daily or even several times a day
 Having intense urges for the drug
 Over time, needing more of the drug to get the same effect
 Making certain that you maintain a supply of the drug
 Spending money on the drug, even though you can't afford it
 Not meeting obligations and work responsibilities, or cutting back on social or recreational activities
because of drug use
 Doing things to get the drug that you normally wouldn't do, such as stealing
 Driving or doing other risky activities when you're under the influence of the drug
 Focusing more and more time and energy on getting and using the drug
 Failing in your attempts to stop using the drug
 Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you attempt to stop taking the drug
Recognizing the Signs of Abuse and Addiction

Drug abuse affects people from all walks of life and all socioeconomic statuses. Whatever the reason a
person starts taking drugs, tolerance and dependency can develop quickly, before the user even realizes
the pattern of addiction taking hold. When tolerance becomes full-blown addiction, it can be extremely
difficult to stop the pattern of abuse.

Breaking free from the hold of addiction often requires outside help. Drug abuse wreaks havoc on the
body and mind and can eventually kill. When you realize that you or someone you love has a problem, it's
essential to get help right away. If you or someone you know needs treatment for drug abuse, we can

Abuse of most substances will produce noticeable signs and symptoms. These may include physical or
behavioral symptoms, most likely both.

Physical Symptoms

Some of the most noticeable symptoms of drug abuse are those that affect the body’s inner workings. For
example, your body’s tolerance to a drug occurs when a drug is abused for long enough that increased
quantities or strengths are required to achieve the previous effects. This desire for a more intense high,
achieved through these means, is extremely dangerous and can easily lead to overdose.

The diminishing effects set in after the first

time, and the user constantly tries to replicate
the first high he or she gets from the drug by
taking increasing amounts. This is extremely
dangerous and can quickly lead to overdose.

Changes in appearance can be additional

clues to possible drug use and may include:

 Bloodshot or glazed eyes.

 Dilated or constricted pupils.
 Abrupt weight changes.
 Bruises, infections, or other physical signs
at the drug’s entrance site on the body.
Disruption to normal brain functioning, changes in personality, and heart and organ dysfunction can be
signs of long-term drug abuse. Signs will vary based on the substance. Click on any drug above to learn
Behavioral Symptoms

Drug abuse negatively affects a person's behavior and habits as he or she becomes more dependent on
the drug. The drug itself can alter the brain's ability to focus and form coherent thoughts, depending on
the substance.

Changes in behavior, such as the following,

can indicate a problem with drug abuse:

 Increased aggression or irritability.

 Changes in attitude/personality.
 Lethargy.
 Depression.
 Sudden changes in a social network.
 Dramatic changes in habits and/or
 Financial problems.
 Involvement in criminal activity.


Bloodshot or glazed eyes. Drug-induced anxiety  Irritability Job loss You will lose hope
Dilated or constricted Drug-induced psychosis  Paranoia, panic or anxiety Relationship changes If you do not feed your
pupils. between both friends drug addiction, you get in
and family members pain.

Abrupt weight changes. Drug-induced mood  Intense sadness You may lose your Moral failure (a failure to
disorder friends. do what is right)

Bruises, infections, or Ecstasy and depression  Hopelessness, Apathy Using drugs can cost you According to the spiritual
other physical signs at  Disinterest, Anger your friends and force model, a disconnection
the drug’s entrance site  Hostility, Aggression, you to give up the from God or a Higher
on the body. Nervousness, Mania. activities you enjoy. Power causes addiction.

Cannabis and Despair Suspension or expulsion

schizophrenia from organized activities,
such as sport teams.


Stop taking drugs and

Always think about what you will be doing to yourself if you take illegal drugs or misuse it.
You should stop taking drugs before it leads you to death.
Never allow drugs decide your fate and unfailingly
Offer your resources to others.
They destroy your memory and your self respect and everything that goes along with your self esteem.
Open yourself up!
Drugs can end your life.
Ruin your life and future.
Using drugs can mess up your brain and everything.
Grief and worry
Say NO to D R U G S !

The best way to prevent an addiction to an illegal drug is not to take the drug at all.

Use care when taking an addictive prescription drug. Doctors prescribe these medications at safe doses
and monitor their use so that you're not given too great a dose or for too long a time. If you feel you need
to take more than the prescribed dose of a medication, talk to your doctor.


Take these steps to help prevent drug abuse in your children and teenagers:

 Communicate. Talk to your children about the risks of drug use and abuse.
 Listen. Be a good listener when your children talk about peer pressure, and be supportive of their
efforts to resist it.
 Set a good example. Don't abuse alcohol or addictive drugs. Children of parents who abuse drugs are
at greater risk of drug addiction.
 Strengthen the bond. Work on your relationship with your children. A strong, stable bond between
you and your child will reduce your child's risk of using or abusing drugs.


Once you've been addicted to a drug, you're at high risk of falling back into a pattern of addiction. If you
do start using the drug, it's likely you'll lose control over its use again — even if you've had treatment and
you haven't used the drug for some time.

 Stick with your treatment plan. Monitor your cravings. It may seem like you've recovered and you
don't need to keep taking steps to stay drug-free. But your chances of staying drug-free will be much
higher if you continue seeing your counselor, going to support group meetings and taking prescribed
 Avoid high-risk situations. Don't go back to the neighborhood where you used to get your drugs. And
stay away from your old drug crowd.
 Get help immediately if you use the drug again. If you start using the drug again, talk to your doctor,
your mental health provider or someone else who can help you right away.