Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Stimulant vs Depressant – What’s the Difference?

A person can become addicted to a variety of drugs, including both prescription and illegal ones. Whether the substance is stimulant vs depressant, it takes expert treatment from addiction professionals to overcome a life of drug abuse. Buckhead Behavioral Health offers a world-class detox in Atlanta and other types of outpatient care for those ready to reclaim their sober lives. Our expert staff of therapists and medical care providers meet each client where they are and provide the right level of treatment for them. 

What Are Stimulants?

The first step in determining the difference between a stimulant vs depressant is defining the two types of drugs. Stimulant drugs, sometimes referred to as “uppers”, boost a person’s energy levels. They cause a person to feel more alert, stay awake longer, and feel an improvement in their mood. Stimulant drugs can be either prescription medications, such as those used to treat ADHD, or drugs that are manufactured and sold illegally.   

Stimulants affect the production of a chemical produced in the person’s brain called dopamine. When this happens, the person feels elation and pleasure. Repeated use of stimulants causes a person to crave this constant source of feeling joy and often results in developing an addiction. Common prescription stimulants include Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Concerta. Common illegal ones are cocaine, crack, and methamphetamines.

What Are Depressants?

Depressants, also known as “downers”, affect a person’s central nervous system. Taking them causes a person’s heart rate to decrease and slows down brain activity. They also make the person feel relaxed, less anxious and can make them sleepy. These effects make depressant prescription medications helpful for people with anxiety disorders. Common depressants include alcohol, opioids, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. Common prescription depressants include Valium, Xanax, Ambien, and Lunesta. 

What Are the Differences Between Stimulants vs Depressants?

The main difference between stimulants vs depressants lies in the effect they provide. For example, if someone wants to stay awake long hours in order to study for college exams or participate in nighttime social activities, they often choose stimulants. This gives them a jolt of energy and the feeling that they can accomplish anything that they desire. 

Alternatively, someone who wants to feel relaxed, less anxious, or be able to sleep may choose a depressant drug. They want to reduce their anxiety, feel a sense of calm, and fall asleep more easily. The issue here is that depressants often increase feelings of depression and create a cycle of using them to avoid the very feelings they help cause.  

In short, stimulants speed up a person’s central nervous system while depressants slow it down. Someone abusing stimulants will feel a “crash” when the effects of the drug wear off, causing them to want to take another dosage quickly. This can result in an overdose and even death. Someone abusing depressants may try to maintain a consistent level of feeling numbed out. In turn, this also can cause them to risk overdose and death. With both drugs, seeking professional treatment for substance use disorders can save lives.

Signs of Addiction to Stimulants

Common signs of having an addiction to stimulants include:

  • Insomnia 
  • Staying awake for extended time periods
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Shakiness
  • Chest pain
  • Sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when no longer using the drug
  • Anxiety
  • Feeling agitated or moody
  • Acting aggressively

Signs of Addiction to Depressants

Common signs of addiction to depressants include the following:

  • Difficulty thinking
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Weight gain
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when no longer using the drug

How Is Addiction Treated in Atlanta, GA?

Whether a person has an addiction to a stimulant vs depressant drug, getting professional treatment becomes necessary. The first stage of rehab is going to a detox program. This provides medical monitoring to help people get through the first several days of living drug-free safely. From there, some people move into a residential program where they live 24/7. 

Others find that they can get their needs met by using outpatient programming. The types of outpatient care include:

All levels of outpatient care feature access to a variety of types of therapies that help people overcome addiction. After an initial assessment of each person, a schedule is created that includes the right types of therapy to meet their specific needs. As well, prescription medications can be used to help minimize the withdrawal symptoms that many people experience when in treatment for addiction.

Get Help For Drug Addiction in Atlanta, GA

Has your life become out of control due to a substance use disorder? When this happens, you want the best, most effective care available. Buckhead Behavioral Health provides a wide range of outpatient treatment for drug addiction that changes people’s lives. Whether you have developed a dependence on a stimulant vs depressant drug, we can design a plan that helps you become sober for life. 

If you would like more information about our detox and outpatient programs, visit our admissions page today. We accept many major insurance plans and are ready to answer any questions you have.

Call Us Now