What are Psychotropic Drugs?

by Anthony Carter on March 28, 2011


marijunaPsychotropic drugs are known to most of us; although we might not recognize them by this name. In fact a lot of us tried this type of drug in the past. The most famous of all  are illegal substances like LSD and marijuana, but caffeine is also considered to belong to this group. The psychotropic drugs that get the most attention are of the illegal variety but there are many that are prescribed for different mental and physical conditions.

So What are Psychotropic Drugs?

These are drugs that basically affect the nervous system and by doing so they can cause changes to our perception and behavior. Sometimes this affect will be quite mild; people don’t tend to experience the world too differently after a cup of coffee. Stronger psychotropic drugs can completely change our perception; some are so good at this that we might not ever fully recover.

It is usual to describe these types of drugs as belonging to different classes; although some will belong to more than one class. The four classes are sedatives, stimulants, hallucinogenic substances, and depressants. Alcohol is considered to be a depressant and it is another psychotropic drug that most of us will be familiar with.

The strangest thing about them is that with a lot of them we have no clear idea about how they work. All we know is that when people take them that certain things will tend to happen; although the results can vary greatly between person to person.

The Benefits of Psychotropic Drugs

There are many medicinal properties associated with psychotropic drugs; even those that are now classified as illegal. LSD was originally devised as a method for treating people with certain mental health issues, and for many years it was used for this purpose. These days there are an increasing number of people who need to take antidepressants and some antipsychotic medications.

Some psychotropic drugs such as marijuana are the subject of much debate because of their association with negative as well as positive effects. There is no doubt that this can be a very effective medicine for dealing with chronic pain and other conditions; in fact there are many who claim that there is no substitute for how effective can be. The evidence for the benefits of marijuana is supported by plenty of scientific research. Marijuana has developed a bad reputation though because of its association with hippy culture and people who just want to get high. In many countries the knee jerk reaction has been to just ban the drug; even though this is unfair on those people who depend it to deal with ill health.

There is little doubt that abuse of illegal psychotropic drugs can lead to negative consequences. Some users of LSD and marijuana have suffered major mental health consequences as a result of misusing these chemicals. The one that has caused the most harm though is actually legal – alcohol is believed to cause far more problems than all the illegal drugs combined.

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