Basic Science

Meaning of Drugs, Type of Drugs and their side effects

Nini Ezeugo - Thu, 02nd May, 2019 @ 14:14: PM

What is a Drug?

A drug is any substance that changes how the body functions when it's either inhaled or injected into the blood stream or eaten or dissolved under the tongue or taken with water/another liquid. Since they are involved in bringing about change in the body’s physiology (that is, how the body work), then such change can either be positive or negative. When one is sick, taking a drug recommend by a certified medic can prove effective and bring about positive changes in a person’s health. In fact, at one point in our life, we had once needed drugs to make our health better; but often times, your hear things on radio and TV like “DON’T DO DRUGS”.

Although drugs can make us feel better, we should not use them as we wish because they can potentially cause adverse effects if taken excessively.  In this article, we will look at the types of drugs, how they can affect us and some of their side effects. You may wish to our article on drug abuse HERE.


Types of Drugs



Stimulants are drugs that generally increase the way our nervous system work. They are sometimes referred to as uppers as they stimulate the normal physiologic processes. Stimulant drugs should be used on the recommendation of a medical doctor. They can about sleeplessness and weight loss. The stimulant caffeine is present in many beverages, for instance, coffee; however, some stimulant drugs can be very dangerous when used in excess. They become addictive and cause harm to the user, for example cocaine. Other examples of stimulants are Ecstasy, Ritalin and Marijuana.

An abuse of a stimulant drug may result into the followings:

  1. Anxiety
  2. Cardiac Failures
  3. Psychosis
  4. Seizures
  5. Paranoia



These drugs act in a negative-like manner to the stimulants. They decrease the workings of the nervous system and are thus referred to as downers since they give a feeling of relaxation. This is why alcohols and tobacco are considered to be depressants. Normally, Depressants are available as prescription drugs to relieve stress and anger, but drowsiness is often a side effect. Depressant should be used based on the recommendations from a doctor. The excessive use of this drug is not encouraged. Examples of depressants are Barbiturates, Tranquillisers, Cigarettes and Alcohol.

Below are some effects of depressant drugs:

  1. Result in weight gain
  2. May result in low blood pressure
  3. Increased chances of Diabetes
  4. Sluggishness



Opioids and morphine derivatives relieve pains (think of them as pain killers). Many people had fallen victims of this drug just because it was used without the doctor’s prescription. They could be addictive and dangerous to general health. Examples of Opoids and Morphine Derivatives includes, Opium, Codeine, Heroin, Morphine and Acetaminophen.

Side effects of opioids are:

  1. A feeling of Nausea
  2. A feeling of Confusion
  3. Euphoria
  4. A feeling of drowsiness
  5. Difficulty in eliminating bowel (Constiption)



These drugs are inhaled via the nasal or oral cavity. Some can be very effective in treating asthma since they bring about an immediate effect. They are sniffed after which the user gets an immediate result from the drug's physiologic action. Examples of inhalants are Gum, Glues, Gasoline and Nitrous Oxide (N2O or Laughing gas).

Below are some adverse effects of inhalants:

  1. Damage to the nasal nerves
  2. Hallucinations
  3. Damage to the brain
  4. Affects the manner of speech



Hallucinogens have the tendency to change the mind resulting in imaginary and unrealistic feelings. This drug must not be taken without the recommendation of a doctor.  Examples of hallucinogens includes Psilocybin and LSD.

Adverse effects of hallucinogens includes:

  1. They can affect speech and movement. 
  2. Abnormal hormonal changes
  3. They may result to psychosis
  4. Fear and perception disorder
  5. An increase in blood pressure 



These drugs are popularly referred to as cannabis. They act similarly to depressants and hallucinogens and can be very addictive. Regardless, these drugs are legalized in some countries but personally, I will discourage self use except when recommended by a doctor. Examples of cannabis are Hashish and Marijuana

Adverse effects of Cannabis includes:

  1. A feeling of euphoria and an increased heart beat
  2. Anxiety and confusion
  3. Increased sensory functions
  4. Sedation and Depression 



These drugs enlarge the muscles and improve physical performance. Some sportsmen have been ban or striped of their medal for using anabolic steroids. Examples are Anadrol, Dianabol and Stanozol

Negative effects of anabolic steroids include baldness and hostility.



Prescription drugs can be very helpful when used properly under the guidance of a qualified physician. These drugs can be used as aids in surgery, to treat medical conditions; while also controlling various symptoms. Misuse and abuse of prescription drugs however can be very dangerous. Examples are Central nervous system depressants, barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

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