Drug Side Effects is usually regarded as an undesirable secondary effect which occurs in addition to the desired therapeutic effect of a drug or medication. Drug Side Effects may vary for each individual depending on the person's disease state, age, weight, gender, ethnicity and general health.
Drug Side Effects can occur when commencing, decreasing/increasing dosages, or ending a drug or medication regimen. Drug Side Effects may also lead to non-compliance with prescribed treatment. When side effects of a drug or medication are severe, the dosage may be adjusted or a second medication may be prescribed. Lifestyle or dietary changes may also help to minimize side effects.
Hallucinogens cause people to experience - you guessed it - hallucinations, imagined experiences that seem real. The word "hallucinate" comes from Latin words meaning, "To wander in the mind." No wonder some people refer to hallucinating as tripping. The "trips" caused by hallucinogens can last for hours. Parts of these trips can feel really good, and other parts can feel really terrible. Hallucinogens powerfully affect the brain, distorting the way our five senses work and changing our impressions of time and space. People who use these drugs a lot may have a hard time concentrating, communicating, or telling the difference between reality and illusion.
Many hallucinogens are chemicals that don't occur in nature. Some examples are: LSD also called acid. MDA, amphetamine, MDMA, an amphetamine, called ecstasy. PCP (phencyclidine), often called angel dust, embalming fluid, super grass, killer weed, and rocket fuel, hair spray, gasoline, spray paint, butane gas, and others (huffer, huffing, sniffing).
Maybe you haven't heard of inhalants, but you probably come across them pretty often. Hair sprays, gasoline, spray paint -- they are all inhalants, and so are lots of other everyday products. Many inhalants have a strong smell. That's why they're called inhalants: Some people inhale the vapors on purpose. Why would anyone do this? Because the chemicals in these vapors can change the way the brain works, and those changes can make people feel very happy for a short time.
But inhalants can also do harm. Inhalant vapors often contain more than one chemical. Some leave the body quickly, but others are absorbed by fatty tissues in the brain and nervous system. They can stay there for a long time. One of these fatty tissues is myelin -- a protective cover that surrounds many of the body's nerve cells (neurons). Nerve cells in your brain and spinal cord are sort of like "Command Central" for your body. They send and receive messages that control just about everything you think and do. If you picture nerve cells as your body's electrical wiring, then think of myelin as the rubber insulation that protects an electrical cord. One problem with inhalant use over the long term is that the chemicals can break down myelin. And if myelin breaks down, nerve cells may not be able to transmit messages.
Usually smoked as a cigarette or joint, or in a pipe or bong, marijuana has appeared in "blunts" in recent years. These are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and re-filled with marijuana, sometimes in combination with another drug, such as crack. Some users also mix marijuana into foods or use it to brew tea. The main active chemical in marijuana is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol). Short-term effects of marijuana use include problems with memory and learning; distorted perception; difficulty in thinking and problem-solving; loss of coordination; and increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. Marijuana effects the brain, lungs, pregnancy, learning and social behavior. When dipped in mixtures of embalming fluid or PCP it is also known as: "fry," "wet," "sherm".
For centuries, people have chewed and smoked tobacco, which comes from the plant nicotiana tabacum. The reason tobacco is used by so many people is because it contains a powerful drug known as nicotine. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine is absorbed by the lungs and quickly moved into the bloodstream, where it is circulated throughout the brain. All of this happens very rapidly. In fact, nicotine reaches the brain within 8 seconds after someone inhales tobacco smoke. Nicotine can also enter the bloodstream through the mucous membranes that line the mouth (if tobacco is chewed) or nose (if snuff is used), and even through the skin.
Nicotine affects the entire body. Nicotine acts directly on the heart to change heart rate and blood pressure. It also acts on the nerves that control respiration to change breathing patterns. In high concentrations, nicotine is deadly; in fact one drop of purified nicotine on the tongue will kill a person. It's so lethal that it has been used as a pesticide for centuries. So why do people smoke, because nicotine acts in the brain where it can stimulate feelings of pleasure.
Opiates are heroin (smack), morphine, codeine or the synthetic oxycotin and methadone.
If you've ever seen "The Wizard of Oz," then you've seen the poppy plant -- the source of a type of drug called opiates. When Dorothy lies down in a field of poppies, she falls into a deep sleep. No wonder the Latin name of this plant -- Papaver somniferum -- means "the poppy that makes you sleepy." Opiates are made from opium, a white liquid in the poppy plant. They're also referred to as narcotics. Maybe you've heard of drugs called heroin, morphine or codeine. These are examples of opiates.
Opiates can produce a quick, intense feeling of pleasure followed by a sense of well-being and a calm drowsiness. But they can also become an addiction. If someone uses opiates again and again, his or her brain is likely to become dependent on them.
Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, such as acne and breast development in men, to others that are life threatening, such as heart attacks and liver cancer. Anabolic steroids are artificial versions of a hormone that's in all of us -- testosterone. (That's right, testosterone is in girls as well as guys.) Testosterone not only brings out male sexual traits, it also causes muscles to grow.
Some people take anabolic steroid pills or injections to try to build muscle faster. ("Anabolic" means growing or building.) But these steroids also have other effects. They can cause changes in the brain and body that increase risks for illness and they may affect moods.
Stimulants are caffeine, cocaine, crack, amphetamines, methamphetamine (crank) and more. Have you eaten any chocolate or drunk any soda lately? If you have, there's a good chance you gave your body a dose of a stimulant -- caffeine, which is also in coffee. Eating or drinking a large amount of caffeine can make you feel jittery, nervous, or energetic. That is because caffeine -- like any stimulant -- changes the way your brain works. But caffeine is just a mild example of a stimulant. Many other stimulant drugs are much stronger -- and some are illegal and very dangerous. Others require a doctor's prescription.