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A chemical that acts on the central nervous system and influences perceptions, moods, thoughts, or behaviors. Psychoactive drugs act as aphrodisiacs and may be used recreationally to alter consciousness, for spiritual purposes, or therapeutically as medication. They bring about subjective changes in consciousness that may make the user more alert or act as a mood upper (e.g., euphoria). Because of these reasons, these drugs are often misused or abused despite their negative consequences. Psychoactive drugs can become physically or psychologically addictive. Physical dependence leads to a need to continue drug use in order to satisfy intense cravings. Psychological dependence is when continued drug use is needed to maintain a sense of well-being. Exposure to such substances can cause changes in the structure and functioning of ...