Stimulant Addiction and Abuse
Stimulants, or uppers, are typically prescribed for disorders such as ADHD and narcolepsy. However, due to the increase of abuse among teens and athletes, these drugs are usually only prescribed when other measures have failed to work.
Stimulants, also commonly referred to as “uppers,” can provide euphoric and calming sensations along with an elevated mood as a result of an increase of dopamine levels within the brain. The effects depend on the type of stimulant taken, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours. They can be taken orally, snorted, or injected.
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Types of Stimulants
Many stimulants are legal and can be purchased in stores, such as caffeine and nicotine. Prescribed stimulants are also given in small doses with the expectation of use for a short period of time. However, even if the dose is small and prescribed, any stimulants taken can lead to an addiction.
The more intense stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine are illegal due to their very addictive elements and detrimental effects. Taking these hard drugs can quickly lead to a built-up tolerance and a powerful dependence.
Some of the most widely abused stimulants include:
Adderall is a commonly prescribed drug used to treat those with narcolepsy and ADHD. However, it is very commonly abused among teens and young adults due to its effects of increased confidence and concentration. Many students abuse the drug for studying or taking tests, ultimately depending on the drug for the next exam.
Anabolic Steroids are synthetic drugs similar to testosterone. Usually athletes or anyone looking to build muscle fast abuse this drug. It can be prescribed, however, possession or use of it without a prescription is illegal and can have a fine up to $1,000.
Cocaine comes in a white powder, usually snorted, injected, or placed in the gums to create heightened feelings of excitement, euphoria, and rapidly increased energy. Cocaine brings the user a very intense high, depleting within an hour, leading to a very dangerous addiction.
Concerta is a prescription medication typically used to treat lack of focus and hyperactivity. It is in the same class as Ritalin, but its makeup is similar to cocaine. Taking the drug produces intense cravings similar to those cocaine users experience, thus making it a highly addictive drug.
Crack Cocaine, commonly known as crack, is created by mixing cocaine and baking soda to develop small crystalized rocks. It is highly addictive due to its large availability and extreme high. At the first use, it can cause enough strain on the heart to cause a heart attack or stroke.
Dexedrine is similar to Adderall for prescription purposes such as treating narcolepsy and ADHD. On the other hand, it is chemically similar to Meth, leading to severe dependence on the brain and rigorous withdrawals.
Ecstasy, also known as MDMA, is considered the “rave drug” due to its popular use within raves, music festivals, and parties among teens and young adults. The drug enhances the user’s pleasure center and levels of dopamine, leading to a depreciated amount of dopamine later on and an increasing desire to take more.
Methamphetamine, known as meth or crystal meth, is an extremely addictive drug in the form of a white powder or small blue-white crystals. One high can last for hours of euphoria and high energy from an overabundance supply of dopamine. However, methamphetamine use has incredibly severe negative mental and physical health consequences.
Ritalin is a prescription drug that comes in small tablets. Although it is often used by professionals as well as athletes, it is classified as a Schedule II drug. Its highly addictive contents mixed with its ability to heighten alertness and productivity make it a very popular drug to abuse among teenagers and young adults.
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Effects of Stimulants
Stimulants increase your heart rate and brain function which ultimately increase focus and energy. Many are documented as a Schedule II drugs because they are highly addictive and have the potential for severe physical as well as psychological dependence.
The short-term effects of stimulants can include:
- Accelerated alertness
- Enhanced energy
- Increased arousal
- Rapid heart rate
- Unusual behavior
The extended use of stimulants can cause severe effects on the body such as:
- Tooth decay
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Organ damage
- Sudden death
Abuse of Stimulants
Among the most highly addictive of all substances, stimulant abuse quickly leads to tolerance, which in turn leads to physical dependence and addiction. Users who try to quit often experience a very painful withdrawal process that manifests in many painful and terrifying symptoms that make it nearly impossible for many addicts to quit without professional supervision and assistance.
Any use of illegal stimulants is considered abuse. These drugs provide unnatural amounts of dopamine in the brain, making it hard for the brain to produce normal amounts after prolonged use of the drug. Each highly addictive drug leaves the user’s body craving for more, thus developing a tolerance with each use and increasing the dangerous risk of addiction.
Stimulant Abuse Statistics
In 2014, about 406,000 young adults aged 18 to 25 in 2014 abused stimulants.
Hospital emergency room visits related to the use of methamphetamine rose from about 68,000 in 2007 to about 103,000 in 2011.
About 169,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 were current nonmedical users of stimulants in 2014, including about 45,000 current methamphetamine users.
There were 39,000 adolescents aged 12 to 17 who were current users of cocaine in 2014, including 8,000 who used crack.
Seeking Help for A Stimulant Addiction?
Stimulant addiction can be life threatening after prolonged use. If help isn’t sought out in time, it could cause irreversible brain damage and emotional as well as physical pain. We are here to help you get back to living the full life you deserve. If you or a loved one has an addiction to stimulants, find help today, and get started on your sobriety journey.
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