Psychotropic drugs are widely used in the treatment of different medical disorders. They are also used for recreational purposes – usually illegally. This type of medication temporarily alters brain functioning through its affect on the central nervous system. Psychotropic substances are also sometimes referred to as psychoactive.
Types of Psychotropic Drugs
Psychoactive drugs include a wide range of substances including:
- Mood stabilizers
- Antipsychotic medications
It is possible to break all psychoactive drugs into four main varieties; antipsychotics, hallucinogens, stimulants, and depressants. It is possible for individual drugs to fall into more than one category. A good example of this would be marijuana that could be classified as a hallucinogen, depressant, or a stimulant. The categories are only really for convenience sake.
Medical Uses of Psychotropic Drugs
There is little doubt that psychotropic drugs are very useful in the treatment of different physical and mental conditions. They have improved the quality of life for many individuals who would otherwise struggle in life. Here are just a few of the possible medical uses for psychoactive drugs
- Treatment for depression
- Anxiety disorders
- Pain control
- Treatment for mania
- Managing withdrawal symptoms
- Managing psychosis
- Relaxation prior to surgery
- To help people cope with grief
The above is just the tip of the ice-berg when it comes to the medical uses of this type of drug.
Recreational Uses of Psychotropic Drugs
Almost every human will try use psychotropic drugs occasionally. Our favourite beverages will usually contain caffeine and drinking alcohol is very much part of our culture. There are also the illegal psychoactive substances such as heroin, cocaine, LSD, and marijuana that people will turn to for recreational purposes. It can be very tempting to try these different drugs because they alter the way the mind works. These substances can produce feelings of euphoria and well being. Those individuals who find life difficult to manage can find release in these medications.
All psychotropic drugs have the potential to cause addiction. When people develop a chemical dependence on a substance it can completely take over their life. They will lose friends, family, and possessions. They become so dependent on these substances that they develop physical withdrawal symptoms should they ever try to stop. This not only makes the life of the addict a living hell but also everyone around them; especially family and friends.
Some Final Thoughts of Psychotropic Drugs
Psychoactive substances have been around since the dawn of time. People have used these drugs to benefit their lives and to cause themselves harm. It is likely that this sometimes uneasy relationship with the drug will continue to exist well into the future. It is hard to imagine how we would manage without the medical benefits of these substances. Hopefully in the future we will learn to be better deal with the dangers associated with these drugs.