Addiction is a serious disease that, if untreated, can be fatal. Those who use and abuse drugs and/or alcohol often do not think of how deadly this disease can be until they are already addicted. Sadly, addiction can quickly creep up on an individual, sometimes within a matter of weeks depending on the substance. And, once addiction has developed, it can be extremely complicated to overcome without professional help.
Some drugs can be more addictive than others, partly because of the intense effects that they produce. When substances like stimulants are being abused, individuals can become psychologically and physically addicted to the many effects that occur when these substances are present in the body. As a result, a cycle of abuse begins and the longer that it continues for, the more likely an individual will need treatment to stop using.
What are Stimulants?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), stimulants “make people more alert, increase their attention, and raise their blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing”. While at first glance, some of these effects might not seem desirable, many people find significant satisfaction in the boost of energy they receive when abusing stimulants, as well as the increase in focus and attention that they experience. Basically, the positive effects are attractive enough that individuals are willing to also experience the negative effects, too.
From a short-term perspective, stimulants trigger the onset of a handful of different symptoms that are immediate. These symptoms include the following:
- Euphoric feelings
- Increased self-esteem
- Stronger focus and attention
- Increased sexuality and sociability
- Decrease in appetite
In many cases, these effects do not negatively impact an individual’s life. For example, these effects are very common when taking a prescription stimulant such as Adderall or Ritalin. These two medications are used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which is a condition that causes a severe lack inability to focus. So in this case, these effects are welcomed when the prescription is being taken as directed, as they can help improve the life of someone with this mental health condition.
However, anytime that stimulants (including Adderall and Ritalin) are being abused, not only do these effects occur but so do others. And, effects can become more intense and potentially life-threatening. When stimulants are being abused to an extent where addiction and dependency have formed, they can cause the onset of the following symptoms:
- Poor sexual function
- Cerebral hemorrhage
- Cardiovascular damage
- Respiratory problems
- Deterioration of the muscles
If an individual makes the decision to try to stop abusing stimulants, he or she will likely experience a period of withdrawal, with has the potential to last months. If done independently, an individual can become so overcome with distress caused by the negative effects of withdrawal (such as nausea, depression, strong cravings, and seizures) that he or she goes right back to using to stop these effects from occurring. For most individuals that are addicted to stimulants, ceasing use can only be done while under professional medical supervision within a certified treatment center.
Most Popular Stimulants
For decades, stimulants have remained a class of substances that people commonly abuse. Today, it is no different. In fact, more and more synthetic, illicit substances are containing stimulant properties.
Despite there being countless substances that include stimulants in their make-up, there are a few types of stimulants that are the most commonly abused throughout the country. These include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and ecstasy.
Cocaine is one of the most popular illicit substances in the world. This stimulant, which comes in powder form and is either snorted or dissolved in water and then injected intravenously, is a central nervous system stimulant. This means that when cocaine enters the body, an individual gets a jolt of energy, begins experiencing a euphoric high, and develops feelings of grandiosity. If this stimulant is continuously abused, an individual can suffer the following effects:
- Heart problems
- Increased body temperature
Along with cocaine, another popular stimulant of abuse includes methamphetamine. Also known simply as “meth”, this substance is one of the most psychologically damaging drugs on the market. Abusing meth can cause an individual to experience psychosis, anxiety, and depression, along with the following effects:
- Tooth decay
- Motor problems
- Aggressive/violent behavior
Amphetamines, such as Ritalin or Adderall (as previously mentioned), are one of the top prescribed prescription drugs in the country. Not only used to treat ADD/ADHD, these drugs are also used to treat narcolepsy. However, millions of people abuse them for purposes unintended. These medications are common amongst students who utilize them to study better or fight the depressive effects of alcohol. They are also a common go-to for those who are exhausted and are looking for a quick “pick-me-up”. Side effects of amphetamine abuse include:
- Extreme weight loss
- Mood swings
- Gastrointestinal problems
A nickname for MDMA, ecstasy is a widely popular club drug that produces several stimulant effects. Different from other stimulants, though, ecstasy has a stronger hallucinatory quality to it. Even just one use of ecstasy can be deadly, as it can produce effects including high blood pressure, seizures, and loss of consciousness. Some additional effects related to the abuse of ecstasy include the following:
- Involuntary jaw clenching
- Sweats and/or chills
- Muscle stiffness
The abuse of any one of these stimulants can be extremely dangerous and deadly. Thankfully, treatment is available for those who are ready to end their stimulant abuse for good.
Without a doubt, stimulant addiction is one of the most commonly treated addictions in the country. When an individual is prepared to stop abusing stimulants once and for all, a professional treatment center can help make that happen.
Stimulant addiction treatment often includes a healthy combination of detox services and therapeutic modalities geared towards helping the individual overcome the challenges that he or she faces in relation to his or her stimulant addiction. Paired with a strong aftercare plan that is designed to support the individual in his or her early recovery, those who receive treatment for stimulant addiction are at increased odds for experiencing long-term recovery.
If you or someone you love is grappling with an addiction to legal or illicit stimulant substances, contact us right away. We can help you or a loved one obtain the physical and psychological clarity needed to effectively defeat stimulant addiction. Do not let any more time pass by. If you or a loved one is ready to make a commitment to establishing and maintaining recovery, reach out to us today. We can help.