Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

Club Drug Addiction and How to Treat It

Key Takeaways

Are Club Drugs Addictive?

“Club drugs” refers to various illegal drugs teens and young adults abuse at social gatherings. Many club drugs are synthetic or mixtures of different medications, so some users sometimes refer to them as “designer drugs.”

Many of these drugs affect the central nervous system (CNS) and reward system. This can lead to various side effects, including substance abuse, addiction, and dependence.


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What Are Club Drug Addiction Symptoms?

When you develop an addiction or dependence on club drugs, you’ll need to take more to fulfill cravings, prevent withdrawal, and cope with pressure and stress.

Addiction affects many aspects of mental and physical health. It may result in severe problems in areas of life, such as:

  • Social: Disruptions of friendships and relationships, social isolation, and risky social behaviors.
  • Behavioral: Using other addictive substances and neglecting responsibilities and activities.
  • Financial: Losing financial resources due to the expense of obtaining illegal drugs and loss of employment.
  • Legal: Problems with the law due to impaired driving or illegal activities to support drug use.

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What Are The Side Effects of Abusing Club Drugs?

The side effects of club drugs vary substantially. They can lead to various health complications, including serious illness.

Type of DrugSide Effects
StimulantsRapid heart rate and irregular heartbeat, fainting, hallucinations, agitation and aggression, dizziness, loss of consciousness, seizures, elevated body temperature
Psychedelics, Hallucinogens, and DissociativesPsychosis (hallucinations, paranoia), loss of balance, difficulty speaking, agitation and aggression
Sedatives and DepressantsBreathing suppression, dizziness, sedation, loss of consciousness, amnesia, low blood pressure, headache, agitation and aggression, dry mouth, loss of bladder control, blurred vision
InhalantsBubbles in the lungs, sudden death from suffocation or the “startle reaction” of adrenaline bursts, dangerously low blood potassium levels, nerve damage

What Are The Risks of Club Drugs Use?

People who take party drugs are at risk of consuming products that have been misrepresented as other drugs or altered to contain other substances. This could contain impurities such as mold or heavy metals, making them much riskier.

Besides the legitimacy and safety of these substances, club drugs contain various drugs and compounds, and each class has risks and side effects. These include:

  • Injuries from falls or risky behaviors
  • Dehydration
  • Overdose due to lack of inhibition, dehydration, and continued use throughout the night
  • Legal problems and arrest if police raid a rave or due to risky behaviors, including impaired driving
  • Sexual assault due to disinhibition, amnesia (from date rape drugs), and the intense social setting
  • Sexually transmitted infections from shared needles or risky sexual behaviors

What Are The Treatment Options for Club Drugs Addiction?

Professional treatment centers offer a range of specialized programs that meet the unique needs of those struggling with addiction. These may include:

It’s crucial to address the underlying causes and effects of addiction to prevent relapse. People can find the healing they need to regain their health and overall functionality through proper treatment.

Why Do People Refuse Addiction Treatment?

Many people suffering from substance addiction don’t seek help or won’t accept help. It may be due to:

  • Illogical, persistent overconfidence in their ability to control or stop their drug use on their own despite multiple failed attempts
  • A need to remain in control
  • A feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, as they may feel their situation is beyond help
  • Embarrassment and fear of being judged
  • Fear of social stigma and other legal consequences

People experiencing drug abuse can still recover long-term and return to good health and function. It’s a matter of letting go of fear and control to accept help.

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What Are The Types of Club Drugs?

Club drugs are popular and come from various drug classes. Virtually any drug, including cannabis and opioids, is used in “club” settings. 

People also commonly combine these substances to experience more heightened effects. Additionally, many of these drugs are referred to as “date rape” drugs because of their sedative effects.

The most common club drugs include:


Stimulants are drugs that increase alertness and energy. They induce an elevated mood, increased sociability, heightened sensory perception, reduced inhibitions, improved concentration, and relaxation. Some examples are:

  • Amphetamines: These are potent psychostimulants that sometimes treat ADHD and narcolepsy; people often manufacture an illicit version of this drug called crystal methamphetamine (meth)
  • Ephedrine: It’s a stimulant medication that increases blood pressure and treats asthma; it’s also a restricted precursor for the illicit production of amphetamines
  • Ritalin and Dexedrine: These are highly addictive prescription stimulants that treat ADHD
  • Cocaine: A potent psychostimulant traditionally used as a local anesthetic and vasoconstrictor

Psychedelics, Hallucinogens, and Dissociatives

Psychedelics, hallucinogens, and dissociatives distort your sense of reality and perception. Common examples include:

  • Ecstasy (MDMA): Ecstasy is the prototypical club drug, it’s a synthetic drug that acts as a stimulant and a hallucinogen
  • 2C-B (2,5-dimethoxy-4-bromophenethylamine): A synthetic psychedelic drug initially served as an alternative to ecstasy when it became illegal
  • LSD (D-lysergic acid diethylamide): It’s one of the most potent psychedelic agents without medical use
  • Ketamine: A powerful dissociative agent that is a surgical anesthetic; users abuse it for its psychedelic effects
  • PCP (phencyclidine): Initially a surgical anesthetic, it’s no longer a medical tool due to its severe side effects
  • Psilocybin: A naturally occurring hallucinogen from more than 200 species of mushrooms (magic mushrooms)
  • DM (Dextromethorphan): A cough suppressant in many over-the-counter cough remedies
  • DMT (N, N-Dimethyltryptamine): A naturally occurring drug from many plants and animals; it produces a brief but intense hallucinogen experience

Sedatives and Depressants

Depressants are prescription medicines that reduce central nervous system (CNS) activity. They often treat anxiety and sleep disorders, but some abuse them to get high. Common examples include:

  • Alcohol: This is a legal CNS depressant with sedating and intoxicating effects
  • GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate) or liquid ecstasy: This is a naturally occurring CNS depressant that sometimes treats narcolepsy
  • Benzodiazepines (especially Rohypnol): These are “sedative-hypnotics” famous for their anti-anxiety and sedative properties; users abuse “benzos” for their soothing effects
  • Chloral hydrate: This sedative-hypnotic drug has been a sedative and anesthetic since the 19th century
  • Quaaludes (methaqualone): This sedative-hypnotic drug was a sleep aid until users complained of its significant addictive and withdrawal side effects


Inhalants are volatile substances that users inhale for their intoxicating effect. Common examples include:

  • Nitrous oxide: Also known as “laughing gas,” this inhalant sometimes serves as an anesthetic in dentistry
  • Poppers (alkyl nitrites): These produce brief but intense euphoric effects
  • Hydrocarbons: Inhalants from household products, such as spray paint and glues, or from gasoline, kerosene, and solvents

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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