A psychoactive drug is a chemical substance which, when consumed, can affect the brain and nervous system, resulting in an altered mental state. The potent effects of psychoactive drugs have led some to be used as prescription medicines, while others have become some of the most widely prohibited illicit substances in the world. So what are the effects of drugs on the brain? What are the different types of psychoactive drug, and how do these various chemicals affect behaviour, consciousness, mood, perception, and the functioning of the brain?
Hallucinogens alter perception and cause hallucinationsShow moreShow less
Hallucinogenic substances interact with receptor molecules in the brain, including acetylcholine, glutamate, and serotonin receptors, with a range of effects from perceptual changes to hallucinatory experiences.
Dissociative drugs affect the brain in much the same way as the related class of hallucinogens categorized as psychedelics. Both dissociatives and psychedelics interact with specific receptor molecules, causing short-term changes to consciousness and perception by virtue of their impact on neurochemistry.
Whereas most major psychedelics accomplish these effects through action on serotonin receptors in the brain, dissociatives may act on other receptors such as NMDA receptors, thus causing different mental and perceptual states than psychedelics. In particular, dissociatives are associated with creating feelings of depersonalization, during which the person feels detached from their environment and self. This perceptual change is known as dissociation, which gives the dissociative drug category its name.
[P1] Dissociative drugs interact with receptor molecules to alter our perceptions.