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Depressant vs. Stimulant Addiction

Depressants and stimulants are basically opposites. Stimulants wind you up and depressants calm you down. People who feel lethargic or fatigued tend to want stimulants to pick them up. People who feel stressed or anxious tend to want depressants to calm them down. These are broad generalizations but more or less true.

Common stimulants are caffeine, cocaine, meth, Adderall, and Ritalin. A stimulant is anything that increases your energy and focus. They often make you feel confident or euphoric as well. They also wear you down in the long run. Stimulants make it hard to sleep. The less you sleep, the more tired you feel, and the more you need stimulants. It’s a hard cycle to break.

Prolonged abuse of stimulants can lead to heart problems like structural damage or irregular heartbeat. It can also lead to anxiety, fatigue, and paranoia.

People recovering from stimulant addiction tend to feel depressed. They have no energy or focus and generally feel stuck in the mud. They might spend all day in bed. They feel like they’ll never be happy again. Stimulants are a productivity drug that people often start using to perform better at work or school, or just get through the day. Feeling stuck or exhausted is especially difficult because they are used to doing a lot and used to feeling like they have to do a lot. The reluctance to give up that feeling of being supercharged can be a challenge when it comes to getting treatment.

Common depressants are marijuana, alcohol, opioids, benzos, and barbiturates. A depressant is anything that calms you down and chills you out. People typically go for depressants when they feel they need to unwind or when they worry they won’t be able to sleep.

Depressants are more commonly abused than stimulants, possibly because anxiety disorders are one of the top mental health issues in the US. Most people in treatment are in treatment for alcohol addiction and marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug. Although overdoses of meth are more dangerous, overdoses of opioids are more more common.

Detoxing from depressants is also more difficult than detoxing from stimulants. Withdrawal from alcohol, barbiturates, and benzos can be fatal and withdrawal from opioids can feel like a really bad flu. While it is advisable to detox in a clinic for any serious addiction, it is particularly important for these drugs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to stimulants or depressants, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help manage the painful symptoms of withdrawal and get you started in treatment. Call us today at 844-828-1050 or email us at to learn more.