Select Page

Sponsored by BetterHelp. Clinicians, sign up with BetterHelp to increase your bookings and work from teh comfort of your own home.

Neurobiological Impact of Stimulants Depressants and Hallucinogens
Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP

– Define stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens
– Discuss
– Mechanism of action
– Symptoms of intoxication
– Symptoms of withdrawal
– Short and long term effects

– See also

Tolerance and Withdrawal
– All psychoactive drugs cause alterations in the neurotransmitter balance.
– Through exposure to either persistent or abnormally high levels of a substance
– Bodily tissues develop resistance to prevent system overload. (ice cubes in the bath)
– The body responds by increasing “balancing” neurotransmitters. (turn up the water heater)
– Once the body has come to depend on the higher level of the substance, when it is withdrawn, then the “balancing neurotransmitters” exert their effect.
– Method of administration greatly effects the intensity and duration of onset for various drugs
– Oral (slowest)
– Inhalation/Snorting
– Inhalation/Smoking
– Injection
– Rectal suppository
– Skin patches (pain relief, smoking cessation)
– Drugs affect everyone differently, based on:
– Size, weight and health (cardiac, thyroid, biological neurotransmitter levels)
– Whether the person is used to taking it
– Whether other drugs are taken concurrently
– The amount taken
– The strength of the drug (varies from batch to batch with illegally produced drugs)
What are Stimulants
– Stimulants are substances that act to excite the central nervous system (HPA-Axis)
– Caffeine
– Amphetamines
– Cocaine
– Used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, ADHD, narcolepsy, and occasionally depression

What are Depressants
– Depressants exert the opposite effect of stimulants.
– They s-l-o-w everything down
– Mechanism of Action
– Depressants exert their effects through a number of different pharmacological mechanisms, the most prominent of which include facilitation of GABA, and inhibition of glutamatergic or monoaminergic (dopamine, noradrenaline and serotonin) activity

What are Hallucinogens
– Hallucinogens cause profound distortions in a person’s perceptions of reality.
– Some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) are hallucinogenic, but hallucinogens can also be man-made
– Commonly divided into two broad categories
– Classic hallucinogens (such as LSD)
– Dissociative drugs (such as PCP).
– Ketamine—also known as K, Special K, or cat Valium—is odorless and tasteless and has amnesia-inducing and dissociative properties. (Can facilitate sexual assault.)
– DXM (Dextromethorphan)—also known as robo—is a cough suppressant and expectorant
– Salvia divinorum—also known as diviner’s sage—is a psychoactive plant typically ingested by chewing fresh leaves or by drinking their extracted juices.
What are Hallucinogens
– Hallucinogens interfere with the action serotonin and/or glutamate, which regulate:
– Mood
– Sensory perception and response
– Sleep
– Hunger
– Body temperature
– Sexual behavior
– Muscle control
– Pain perception
– Learning and memory

– Stimulants range from caffeine to methamphetamine and “amp up” the system
– Opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, alcohol, inhalants are all CNS depressants
– Combinations of depressants have an exponential additive effect
– Evaluate patients for exposure to all CNS depressants intentional and incidental
– Hallucinogens include LSD, PCP, Peyote, Ketamine and Dextromethorphan
– Recent research has indicated that HPPD is not due to “traces of the drug being freed up”

Want to chat with me? Join me at For $10/month you get access to my daily tips for health and wellness and you can text chat with me privately.

Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches including counseling techniques and skills for improving mental health and reducing mental illness.

Please SUBSCRIBE and click the BELL to be notified when we release new videos and when Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes is going live each month.

Cheap CEUs are available at

AllCEUs provides multimedia counselor education and CEUs for LPCs, LMHCs, LMFTs and LCSWs as well as addiction counselor precertification training and continuing education.
Live, Interactive Webinars ($5)
Unlimited Counseling CEs for $59
Specialty Certificates starting at $89 including Addiction Counselor, RecoveryCoach, Pee rSupport Specialist, Trauma Informed Care, BHT, Etherapy