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Depressants vs Stimulants

There is some important information you should know about depressants vs stimulants. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. However, they can both be highly addictive. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, contact a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program in Florida.

What are Depressants vs Stimulants?

Depressants and stimulants affect your central nervous system, cns. Depressants slow your CNS system down. Stimulants speed up your CNS system. Depressants and stimulants range from over the counter medications to prescription or illicit drugs.


Examples of Depressants include:

  • Alcohol
  • Opiates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Antihistamines
  • Sleep aids


Stimulants include:

  • Meth
  • Cocaine
  • Caffeine
  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Amphetamine

As you can see, stimulants vs depressants range from mild to very strong and addictive. They are similar in that they are both categories of drugs that can be potentially dangerous or addictive. However, they vary greatly in the effects that they can have.


Depressants are often prescribed to relieve pain, anxiety, tense muscles, or to induce sleep. They may also be given before or after surgical procedures. Depressants slow down your body’s vital functions. This can result in slower breathing, lowered blood pressure, sedation, and loss of coordination. Depressants are often calming. They give the user a sense of peace and relaxation. High doses of depressants can cause  a loss of consciousness.


Stimulants speed up your body’s processes. They are often prescribed for ADHD, narcolepsy, and weight loss. Caffeine is a widely available stimulant. Sudafed, the ingredient in many sinus medications, is a stimulant as well, and is often used in making methamphetamine. This can result in high blood pressure, fast or irregular heartbeat, and increased alertness. Stimulants often give the user a sense of euphoria or extreme well-being.

Stimulants vs Depressants Psychological Effects

What are the psychological effects of stimulants vs depressants? They both have a potent impact on the mind as well as the body. Stimulants can improve concentration and memory. However, when abused they can cause anxiety, delusions, paranoia, and loss of coordination. Depressants can cause sedation, slurred speech, and loss of inhibitions.


What happens when a user can’t choose between depressants vs stimulants? Some users combine depressants and stimulants to achieve an effect called speed balling. Speedballers often combine heroin and cocaine. However, combining any stimulant with a depressant is known as speed balling.

Generally illicit or prescription drugs are used. Meth and morphine, Cocaine and benzodiazepines, amphetamines and barbiturates, are a few examples of the nearly endless combinations that can be created by speed balling.

The effects vary based on the drugs and the amounts used. However, many times the two drugs seem to potentiate each other, giving a stronger more intense high than the sum of their parts. Speedballing can lead to overdose. It’s a myth that it’s the strain on the system from combining the two drugs that often leads to death.

In fact, it’s the ability to tolerate more of the drug. The effects of one can balance out the negative effects of the other. For example, very high doses of opiates are normally incapacitating. However, when you take cocaine, you can remain relatively alert even on a very large opiate dose because it counters the sedation and loss of coordination. When the cocaine wears off, the body may not be able to maintain function. The dose can be so high that respiratory failure occurs when the effects of the speed wear off.

Which is More Dangerous?

Stimulants vs depressants. Which is more dangerous? In terms of risk of death of overdose, depressants are more dangerous. 2.5 million people die each year from alcohol alone. When it comes to drugs, opiates were responsible for nearly 68% of all overdose deaths in 2017. However, there are other considerations in depressants vs stimulants.

Stimulants usually don’t cause physical addiction the way many depressants, including alcohol and opiates, do. Severe and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms often arise when trying to stop depressant drugs. However, they can be extremely psychologically addicting. They can also cause delusions, paranoia, and even homicidal thoughts, making them a danger to those around the individual as well.

Help is Available at Atlantic Recovery Center

The truth is that we shouldn’t look at it as depressants vs stimulants. Both drug classes have their legitimate medical uses, and a high risk of drug abuse and dependence. If you or someone you love is suffering from a drug problem, we encourage you to get treatment. Contact us at 1-866-824-5193, and let us help you rebuild your life.