Drugs go by a variety of different names including their generic name, brand name, and street names. Uppers and downers are groups of drugs that are more formally referred to as stimulants and depressants. Each group encompasses a wide number of different substances used to treat various conditions. Producing different effects, uppers and downers also have different side effects, but both can be addictive. Let’s take a closer look at uppers, downer, and why exactly they have these names.

What Are Uppers?

Uppers is a slang term used to refer to stimulants, a group of drugs that increase energy and alertness. Although the initial high that uppers produce is stimulating, when the drug wears off the user may experience feelings of exhaustion and depression. The desire to keep the “high” going is a part of what makes these substances addictive. Uppers are helpful for improving focus and concentration, but in certain doses can cause a rise in heart rate and breathing. Possible side effects include drowsiness, nausea, and heart arrhythmias.

Examples of Uppers

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Concerta
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine

Nicknames for Uppers

One of the key ways to know what you or a loved one is taking is by knowing the nicknames of various uppers. Amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin may go by nicknames such as speed, jelly beans, or addys. Meth often goes by crank, ice, or bump. Cocaine may go by coke, dust, snow, blow, or white.

What Are Downers?

On the opposite side of uppers are downers. “Downers” is the slang term used to refer to depressants, a group of drugs that produce a sedative effect. They make the individual feel relaxed and possibly drowsy. Sedatives can be helpful in managing anxiety, epilepsy, and insomnia, but are dangerous when abuse. The effects of depressants include lack of consciousness, slowed breathing, and reduced heart rate. When too great of a dose is taken, possible outcomes include overdose and death.

Examples of Downers

  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Halcion, and Librium)
  • Barbiturates (Amytal, Numbutal, and Seconal)

Nicknames for Downers

Similar to uppers, knowing the slang nicknames for downers is extremely beneficial. Benzodiazepines like Xanax may go by nicknames such as blues, candy, or z bars. Barbiturates may also go by blues or bluebirds.

Cross Drug Use

Although it may be one of the most common combinations, mixing cocaine and alcohol is just one of the many examples of mixing uppers and downers. You or someone you know may have used this combination before. If not, you may be wondering why anyone would use these paradoxical substances at the same time. Often, it starts with the use of a downer that reduces any anxiety and produces a sense of relaxation. However, when energy levels drop they take a stimulant in order to continue participating in the party or another event happening. This creates a cycle that could lead to significant drug use and drastically increases the risk of overdose or death. It is critical to know which drugs are uppers and downers to avoid this combination. 

Upper & Downer Addiction Treatment

Timing is a major factor in preventing long-lasting consequences from abuseing these types of drugs. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to uppers, downers, or both, we can help. Contact The Freedom Center today and speak with one of our admissions specialists about getting professional treatment. 

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