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Main Categories of Drugs and Its Mechanism of Action Essay

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Updated: Sep 8th, 2022

A drug is any substance, manufactured or natural, that, when taken, alters the normal functioning of the body. A drug is categorized based on its effect on the user and mechanism of action (Tye, 2020). The four main categories include stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, and opium-related painkillers (opioids and opiates). This paper will compare and contrast the main mechanism of action, the effect (s) on the user, and the withdrawal symptoms of these categories of drugs.

Mechanism of Action

Depressants mainly affect the brain as they increase the gamma-aminobutyric acid, which inhibits brain activity. The inactivity of the brain causes calmness, drowsiness, and relaxation (Tye, 2020). On the other hand, stimulants inhibit adenosine receptors by increasing their agonistic activity and catecholamine levels. Conversely, hallucinogens interrupt the neurotransmitter serotonin and nerve cells’ interaction, thereby altering perception, sensory awareness, and mood. Lastly, opioids and opiates affect neuronal cell membranes’ receptors, thereby producing such pharmacological actions as analgesia (Tye, 2020). However, their significant effect on the CNS is inhibiting neurotransmitter release.

Effects on the User

Depressants affect the users’ coordination and concentration, reduce arousal and stimulation, and reduce the ability to respond to situations. On the other hand, stimulants cause arousal, locomotion, alertness, wakefulness, endurance, and a decreased desire for food and sleep. Conversely, hallucinogens cause hallucinations; users feel sensations, hear sounds, or see images that do not exist but seem real to them (Tye, 2020). Opioids and opiates cause users slow breathing rates, weakened immune systems, clogged blood vessels, and addiction.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms associated with depressants include insomnia, restlessness, dizziness, anxiety, and difficulty concentrating. Those of stimulants include weakness, drowsiness, depression, and a lack of interest and hunger. On the other hand, the symptoms of withdrawal of hallucinogens include loss of pleasure, anxiety, depression, irritability, drug craving, and a lack of motivation (Tye, 2020). Lastly, opioids and opiates’ withdrawal symptoms include muscle aches, anxiety, restlessness, inability to sleep, lacrimation, and a runny nose.

In conclusion, drugs affect the normal functioning of the body. The four main categories of drugs include depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens and opioids, and opiates. The mechanism of action of these drugs differs from one type to another. The effect of these drugs on users varies depending on their mechanism of action. Both depressants and stimulants affect coordination and concentration, while hallucinogens cause hallucinations. The withdrawal symptoms of the drugs cause an adverse effect on the way the body functions.

Reference

Tye, A. (2020). Types of drugs. The Recovery Village. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Main Categories of Drugs and Its Mechanism of Action'. 8 September.

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