Stimulants are drugs that temporarily increase alertness, attention, energy. They raise blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Stimulants used to be diagnosed for the treatment of asthma and other respiratory problems, as well as obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments.
Prescription stimulants come in tablet or capsule form to be swallowed. Other stimulants can be injected in liquid form or crushed and snorted.
There are many different kinds of stimulants. For example, coffee is a stimulant. So is nicotine. Certain drugs, such as Ritalin and Adderall, are used to treat concentration and learning problems associated with Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Other drugs are used for weight loss and some aid in smoking cessation and nasal congestion. Call the professionals at our stimulant treatment program today for a free consultation.
Stimulants are generally abused for the euphoric, energetic effects.
- Intense feelings of happiness
- Increased energy or sociability and self-esteem
- Improved attention
- Increased sexual desire and performance
- Opened breathing passages/easier breathing
- Suppressed appetite
While these effects may seem desirable, they are invariably accompanied by a range of risks to the user’s health.
The potential for stimulant misuse and addiction became apparent in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century. Since then, the number of conditions treated with stimulants has decreased. Nowadays, stimulants are mostly prescribed for the treatment of a handful of conditions, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and occasionally treatment-resistant depression.
Illicit stimulants, such as methamphetamine and cocaine, are abused for the high they produce. MDMA is a stimulant as well as a designer “club” drug. In its pure form, it is sometimes used in research.
The street names of various stimulants are many:
- The smart drug
- Vitamin R
- Kibbles and bits
- Truck drivers
- Black beauties
- LA turnaround
Side Effects of Stimulants
The short-term side effects of stimulants include exhaustion, apathy, and depression. This is the “down” or “crash” that follows the up.
It is this exhaustion that quickly leads the stimulant user to want to use the drug again. Soon he or she is taking stimulants in order to feel “normal” or to have any energy whatsoever.
The long-term effects of stimulant use can extend well beyond the short-term high. Many users disregard the future in favor of a blissful short-term high, but the potential harm associated with ongoing use should not be ignored.
Long-term physical effects of stimulant abuse include:
- Extreme weight loss.
- Reduced sexual functioning
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Muscle deterioration
- Chronic exhaustion
- Cardiovascular damage
- Breathing problems
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Persistent anxiety
One long-term effect of stimulants is that they can be addictive. Even in the short-term, stimulant abuse can have disastrous consequences for the user, resulting in hyperthermia, cardiovascular abnormalities, and death. But when a person abuses stimulants over a long period of time, however, they compound the risks of experiencing other devastating physical and mental health issues.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction
Tolerance is a contributing factor to the development of addiction. Tolerance occurs when a person becomes so physiologically accustomed to the high levels of stimulant drug that they need more of it to feel the desired effects.
Physical dependence can develop when a person uses stimulants often or in high doses. Stimulant-dependent people may experience withdrawal syndrome when their use of the drug stops or slows.
Not all instances of physical drug dependence indicate the presence of an addiction. Still, they tend to hand-in-hand. As a behavioral concept, an addiction is characterized by the continued seeking out and using of a substance despite negative consequences.
As a person increases his or her dosage of a stimulant, the worst effects can turn toxic. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, toxic levels of stimulant intake can result in heart attack, stroke, seizure, or even fatal overheating.
Here are some signs that a person may be struggling with an addiction to stimulants:
- They spend a majority of time seeking out and using the drug
- They continue to seek the drug despite adverse effects on their life and health.
- They have tried to give up or cut down on their use but have been unsuccessful.
- They have to take larger and larger amounts to feel the same effects.
- Without the stimulant, they feel bad and experience stimulant withdrawal symptoms.
If you believe you or someone you love may have a problem, there are options for getting help through a stimulant treatment program.
Call to get help now
Stimulant Withdrawal Treatment
Withdrawal from stimulant abuse is not a life-threatening process, but it can be uncomfortable. There are physical and psychological aspects of stimulant withdrawal that can be difficult to cope with alone. A professional stimulant treatment program can help to manage these symptoms.
Withdrawal can begin immediately following the cessation of use, or shortly afterward. Some symptoms of stimulant withdrawal can last up to four months, so it is important to know what to expect.
Common symptoms of withdrawal from stimulants include:
- Mental and physical exhaustion
- Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
- Anxiety and agitation
- Excessive sleep
- Intense hunger
- Drug cravings
One of the biggest risks of stimulant withdrawal is depression with suicidal thoughts. The severity of these symptoms can vary by substance. For example, users of cocaine, which is metabolized by the body quickly, may find their depression subsiding within a couple of hours. Methamphetamine users, meanwhile, may experience a longer bout with depression.
Sometimes, depression can last beyond the acute withdrawal phase, in which case a doctor might prescribe antidepressant medication to help the recovering user cope. Anti-anxiety medications and antipsychotics are other prescription options to help with anxiety or delusions experienced during withdrawal.
A professional stimulant treatment program is the preferred option for many people recovering from stimulant abuse. The treatment team of a program will know what to expect and how to help the recovering user manage their withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
Professional Treatment Can Include:
- Inpatient programs, where the recovering individual stays for an extended period of time in a sober facility, attends regular therapy and counseling, and practices coping strategies.
- Outpatient programs, which allow the individual to live at home and continue with their day-to-day life while attending therapy and counseling sessions at the facility on a regular basis.
- Therapy specifically tailored to help recovering stimulant users. One example that has shown success in the treatment of stimulant addiction is the Matrix Model, wherein therapy is combined with substance and addiction education, regular drug tests to ensure abstinence, and self-help participation.
12 Keys Stimulant Treatment Program Can Help You
Within the stimulant treatment program at 12 Keys Rehab, we know how difficult quitting drugs can be. Every day, we teach and demonstrate to our small clientele how to live a successful and sober lifestyle. 866-480-4328
From helping you manage uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to teaching you how to beat the cravings associated with quitting, the staff at 12 Keys Rehab is here for you, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us now for more information—your call is free and confidential, and there is no obligation to enroll. Let us help you find your way to recovery.