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Psychoactive - Definition


A psychoactive drug, or psychotrope, is a substance that impacts on the brain activity of the central nervous system. Famous "natural" psychoactive substances include alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and cannabis. However, from a medical standpoint, the term usually refers to a type of medication called psychoactive drugs. These are categorized into three large families: psycholeptics, which slow down brain activity; psychoanaleptics, which stimulate this activity; and hallucinogens, which modify it, and are typically toxic drugs. Each of these drugs are prescribed or administered for treating different symptoms, such as depressive episodes treated with antidepressants, sleep disorders with hypnotics, bipolar disorder (previously called manic depression) with thymoregulators, or mood stabilizers; and psychosis with antipsychotics or neuroleptics.