The Drug Wheel offers real information on a range of drugs most commonly available; the experiences gained, the risks and potential problems with each.

As an initial overview, let’s consider two main types of drugs, Depressants (Downers) and Stimulants (Uppers)

Depressants: These are drugs that slow down your brain function. Examples include alcohol, marijuana, opiates, barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

Stimulants: These drugs elevate your mood and increase your alertness and energy. Examples include, amphetamines and Methamphetamine, cocaine, synthetics

How can these drugs impact us?

Physical, Mental & Emotional well-being

These two types of drugs have varying impacts on our physical, mental and emotional well-being; some of which can be:

Depressants or Downers (Central Nervous System – CNS) – Depressants

Depressant slow the functioning of the CNS and tend to slow the body and mind. However, depressants can also have negative short-term effects, such as:

While depressants are generally considered less addictive than other types of drugs, some of them, like barbiturates, carry a much higher risk. Over time, you can also develop a tolerance to depressants, including marijuana, meaning you need to use more of it to feel the effects that you used to feel.

Stimulants or uppers, stimulate activity of the CNS .

Stimulants are a class of substances that increase certain types of cell signalling and amplify various physiologic processes throughout the brain and body. In particular, many types of stimulant drugs are associated with heightened dopamine release, which can result in a powerful sense of well-being, increased energy, attention, and alertness.

Stimulant effects can range from short-term energy boosts to long-term brain changes and/or organ system injury. The harm may be long-lasting.

While every stimulant will be slightly different in its specific effects, all stimulants share a set of side effects that can wreak havoc on a user’s system when abused:

All of these effects are common to stimulant abuse. No matter how you cut it, stimulant abuse, even in the short term, can have disastrous consequences for the user, resulting in hyperthermia, cardiovascular abnormalities, and sudden death. When a person abuses stimulants over a long period of time, however, they compound their risks of experiencing a number of other devastating physical and mental health issues.

All drugs also carry additional impacts including:

Relational well-being

The impact of our use of substances may have significant impacts on our relationships.

We may become less responsive to family and individual needs of partners and children. We may neglect tasks and responsibilities that make their lives more complex and difficult.

Apparent instability often leads to our families feeling less secure, vulnerable to our unstable moods and behaviours.

Substance use can cause significant issues in work-places and may in fact preclude us from getting or keeping work – we might not pass the drug tests?

The financial implications of our use can also erode the financial well-being of our families, theirs’ and our futures.

Compounding these impacts, we often choose to withdraw from our safe and protective relationships and gravitate towards relationship with others who may enable or even support the behaviours that are causing the issues for us.

Our core sense of self – our Spiritual well-being

We know and feel the distress associated with all of the above issues; more we know and feel the distress of letting ourselves down.

We struggle at the very core of our being with the dis-connect between what we want to do and what we see ourselves doing.

Often focusing on the damage we have already done, we struggle to see a future that contains anything more than a continuation of this distress – we see ourselves as being bad!

We can’t see a way back – how we could ‘make up for the damage we’ve done, how we can manage the guilt and shame we carry as a result of that?

These can be devastating to a person – but, I can assure you, there is a way back; in fact, there are many!

Lets’ walk together for a while as you begin to discover some that might be helpful for you!

Take this simple screen to see if your use of drugs might be a problem?

If you answer ‘Yes’ to two or more of these questions, you may have a problem.

An outline of how we could work together to manage your use of drugs, is offered here


Withdrawing from some drugs may involve mild to potentially life-threatening symptoms.

If you have been a long-term user of high amounts of any substance, please talk with me or other professionals about how to withdraw safely!

Contact me today about what might be helpful for you!