Stimulants are a class of drugs that act upon the body’s central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. By increasing the neurotransmitters that signal reward and motivation, stimulants can temporarily increase your alertness and give you a boost of energy, which can be useful under the right circumstances.
If you enjoy coffee, tea or dark chocolate, you already have some familiarity with caffeine – the world’s most common stimulant. Nicotine is another prevalent and highly addictive stimulant found in cigarettes and chewing tobacco. Doctors prescribe stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall to help treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Illegal stimulants include meth and cocaine. When abused, stimulants can pose severe health risks.
Many people mistakenly assume all prescription drugs are safe when taken as directed. Even if you are careful about using prescription stimulants like Adderall, keep them in a secure location and never share them with others, there may still be risks involved, including the possibility of addiction.
Stimulants are Schedule II drugs, which makes them legally controlled substances. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, all Schedule II drugs “have a high potential for abuse, which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Other drugs classified under Schedule II include morphine and fentanyl.
People typically take illegal stimulants such as meth and cocaine via smoking, snorting or injecting them. Aside from these drugs being against the law, there are also extreme health risks associated with using them, including organ and tissue damage, heart attacks, seizures, strokes and accidental overdose. Dealers may cut these drugs with other substances in hopes of increasing their potency, thus making them many times more dangerous to use.
Health Effects of Stimulant Use
Stimulants affect users differently, based on factors like:
- Size, weight and overall health
- Tolerance to the substance
- Whether other drugs are also involved
- The dosage taken
- Potency of the drug
Long-term use of potent stimulants can cause a range of adverse effects, including anxiety, panic attacks, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression and paranoia. In extreme cases, coma and death can result from a stimulant overdose.
Trying to quit or taper off your stimulant use can also lead to withdrawal symptoms. You might have experienced this phenomenon on a small scale if you’ve ever skipped your morning cup of coffee and ended up with a headache. More severe stimulant withdrawal may also involve depression, mood swings, lethargy, apathy, paranoia, fatigue, body aches and drug cravings.
Do You Have a Stimulant Addiction?
People who become dependent on stimulants eventually come to feel like they can’t function normally without using them. If you reach this point, you might start to take increasingly higher doses to achieve the same desirable effects. You may also experiment with a different method of taking the drug to create a more immediate high, which can be dangerous.
Professional treatment for a stimulant addiction includes medically managed detox, followed by behavioral therapy, life skills training, relapse prevention and aftercare. At Canyon Crossing, our holistic rehab programming allows you to heal mentally, physically and spiritually. To learn more about how to achieve lifelong sobriety with women’s-only recovery and transitional living, contact us today.