Today you can get drugs for just about anything. If you want to be happy, there’s one to make you happy; if you want one to feel less tired, they have that too. There are essentially seven different drug types, each with its own set of characteristics, effects, and dangers. Categories include stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, dissociatives, opioids, inhalants, and cannabis.
With so many drugs out there, are they classified and separated in some way? The answer is YES. There are seven different drug types, and each has its own set of effects and risks:
Mixing drugs from these different categories can have devastating effects on the body. Today we are talking about the dangers of mixing stimulants (uppers) and depressants (downers).
Stimulants (or “uppers”) impact the body’s central nervous system (CNS), causing the user to feel as if they are “speeding up.” These drugs increase the user’s level of alertness, pumping up heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood glucose levels.
Stimulants often come in pill form but are also consumed via snorting or even as food and drink. For example, caffeine is found in many beverages, and cocaine is a powder that is snorted.
Examples of stimulants include:
- Synthetic Marijuana
Like stimulants, depressants also impact the body’s CNS, but with the opposite effect, making users feel as if things are “slowing down.” Thus, they are often called “downers” on the street.
Doctors prescribe some depressants for anxiety, insomnia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other medical issues that prevent the sufferer from fully relaxing. These drugs often offer a sedative experience to users, making them a tempting choice for teens who wish to escape everyday stresses.
Examples of depressants include:
Alcohol is also considered a depressant and believe it or not, Tobacco.
It is known that people often take downers to reduce undesirable effects from stimulant drugs, and an individual might take an upper to come out of a sedate state. Some people think this is a logical way to reduce the negative effects of these drugs, but it actually increases the damage and risks.
The use of multiple drugs at one time is frequently seen, the 2011 Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report lists several relevant findings including the following:
- Alcohol is present in 38% of all medical emergencies involving stimulants.
- Fifty-six percent of all medical emergencies involved multiple drugs.
- Fifty-three percent involved multiple types of prescription medications.
- Sixty-six percent of all non-emergency detox requests involved multiple drugs.
Many people will take a depressant to come down from a stimulant high and possibly to fall asleep while others seeking a particular euphoric high might intentionally combine uppers and downers such as shooting a speedball (cocaine and heroin). Dangerous drug mixes can also happen unintentionally with people who take medication for pain, depression, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or anxiety especially if they drink while on these drugs. A legal yet dangerous combination of uppers and downers is alcohol and energy drinks.
There are Other Health Risks Beside Overdose
In addition to potentially fatal overdoses, upper-downer combinations involve several other health risks including the following:
- The mix minimizes the symptoms of each individual substance creating the illusion that users are more in control than they actually are.
- The stimulant effects often motivate the user to continue partying for longer periods and to underestimate their intoxication level.
- Uppers might mask warning signs that a CNS depression is occurring while downers might mask a dangerously rapid heartbeat.
- The physical fatigue from taking conflicting drugs strains multiple systems in the body.
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