Depressants vs. Stimulants: Which Is More Dangerous?

Drugs can be grouped into two different groups: depressants and stimulants. Depressants, which are often referred to as downers, slow down your nervous system activity. Prescription depressants may be given to people with anxiety or sleep issues. Alcohol is also a depressant, but it carries its own side effects and is used so widely that it’s generally not included in the “depressants” category.

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Stimulants, or uppers, stimulate your brain and other parts of the body. They essentially have the opposite effect as depressants. Both types of drugs are powerfully addictive, and users can build up a tolerance to them quickly.

People often wonder which type of drug is more dangerous. Let’s take a look at the impact these two categories of drugs can have on your body.

The Effect of Depressants on the Body

Depressants can come in liquid or tablet form. They may include tranquilizers, barbiturates, sedatives or sleeping pills. The short-term side effects of depressants include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Depressed brain function
  • Having a hard time urinating
  • Being tired, dizzy or disoriented

The side effects become more serious the longer a person takes depressants and the more they come to rely on them. They may lose memory, become irritable and paranoid, or even experience thoughts of suicide. Though depressants usually make people less aggressive, some people become agitated and belligerent. Chronic fatigue can also be a side effect, as can weight gain and even diabetes.

The Effect of Stimulants on the Body

Prescription depressants can come in liquid or tablet form. They are also available on the street, such as cocaine and amphetamines. The short-term side effects of stimulants include:

  • Paranoia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Depression
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Belligerence
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Irregular heartbeat

The danger of stimulants rears in the down cycles. After a person takes a stimulant, they feel energetic and invincible. When that feeling wears off, they can fall into an apathetic state. They crave the high they get after using the stimulant, and this can lead to the cycles of downs and ups becoming shorter as the person takes the drug more frequently. Soon, the user is addicted.

The Verdict

Both types of drugs have been linked to deaths, from overdoses and crippling side effects. The tipping point comes with the greater potential for problems with depressants.

It’s easy to overdose on barbiturates. Doctors say there’s a fine line between getting high and taking too much, resulting in serious health complications or death. Withdrawal can cause seizures and other side effects. If it’s not overseen by a doctor in a detox facility, withdrawal may even be fatal.

Get Treatment for Stimulant or Depressant Abuse

Clearly stimulants and depressants can both be dangerous and addictive. If you worry you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to one of these substances, contact 12 Keys Rehab today to discuss the options for recovery.

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