Stimulants Addiction Information
People use drugs for a variety of reasons, but in general they want to change the way they feel. Some drugs help calm you down or “quiet the noise,” while others bring up your energy. The second group are stimulants, more commonly known as uppers.
Almost no addiction is intentional. With uppers, it often begins with wanting a little more energy for a special occasion or a difficult task or projects. The user loves the way they feel and end up using more and more.
Many of are addicted to the most common stimulant, caffeine. Perhaps you’re the type of person who can’t get your morning started without a cup of coffee. Maybe you can’t get through the afternoon without a soda. Nicotine is another stimulant that many struggle with, and it can also cause long-term health problems. The types of stimulants we’re talking about here, however, can have much more drastic effects on your body and on your life.
It takes for very little for occasional use of a stimulant, especially the illegal varieties, to escalate into addiction. In most cases, addiction treatment is the only way to kick the habit … both in a medically safe way and to learn how to quit for good.Stimulant Addiction Topics
- Types of Stimulants
- Stimulant Addiction
- Withdrawal from Stimulants
How Stimulants Work
Stimulants affect certain chemicals in the brain. In general, they increase dopamine and concentration. Prescription stimulants, like those prescribed for ADHD, are intended to increase focus and provide a sense of calm. Like many other drugs, they can cause a sense of euphoria, which makes them very addictive.
Illegal stimulants cause a high that includes an extreme sense of alertness and awakeness.Certain drugs, like cocaine or speed (amphetamines), are also used for weight loss because they are appetite suppressants.
Abuse of almost any type of stimulant can cause heart damage. Many of these substances cause paranoia and hyperactivity. Also, because illegal stimulants are often sold in mixed or altered form, one bad dose can result in an allergic reaction, overdose or death.
Types of StimulantsAmphetamine
Amphetamine include meth (see below), speed (amphetamine sulphate) and dexamphetamine ( adderall also contains dexamphetamine - see below), which is used to treat ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. They generally come in pill, crystal or powder form.Ephedrine
Ephedrine is a legal stimulant often prescribed for breathing and bronchial issues. It is often used in weight loss supplements intended to increase fat burning and metabolism rates. Most of these supplements have been banned in the U.S.
Ephedrine can also be used to make meth. Since the legal pill form of the drug is prescribed by doctors, this may be a situation where meth users begin doctor shopping (visiting different doctors trying to obtain prescriptions.)MDMA (Ecstacy)
Ecstacy is powerful drug that alters the mind, and may include increased physical sensation, a more outgoing personality, reduced anxiety, and hallucinations. It is usually taken in pill form, but some users snort it in powder form or swallow it in liquid form. When mixed with other illegal substances, it is sold as Molly.MDPV
Mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant. It was legal in the U.S. until 2011. It is similar to ecstasy, in that it increases physical pleasure and creates euphoria. It is generally found in pill or powder form.Methamphetamine
Methamphetamine, more commonly known as just meth, has becoming increasingly popular over the last decade. It is usually taken in pill or powder form. Crystal meth, however, is glass fragments or “rocks” that are melted down and smoked.Cocaine
Cocaine is derived from the South American coca plant. It comes in a white powder form and is usually snorted. It can also be mixed with water for injection or smoked.
Crack cocaine, which is another form of this drug, is smoked and provides a shorter, more intense high.
Long-term cocaine use can damage organs, especially the heart, and increase risk of seizures and strokes.Adderall
Though Adderall is prescribed for diagnosed ADHD, many people become addicted to it because they try it to achieve more focus for school or work projects. It is both prescribed legally and sold illegally on the streets. Though usually taken in pill form, some people snort it in powder form.Bath Salts
“Bath salts” are officially known as synthetic cathinones. They are usually found in crystal-like powder form and users swallow, snort, smoke, or inject them. Bath salts are very new compared to other stimulants, and are often considered a more affordable version. So far, the side effects have been extreme, including paranoia, hallucinations, extreme agitation, and violent behavior.
Addiction to stimulants can sometimes be difficult to detect but some of the warning signs are:
- Increased body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Dry mouth
- Faster breathing
- Dilated pupils
- Increased energy and alertness
- Less Tiredness
- Decreased appetite
Even in the short term, stimulants can have devastating side effects:
- Cardiovascular system failure
- Hostility or paranoia
- Irregular or increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Heightened sense of well-being
- Loss of appetite
- Increased respiration
- Altered sexual behavior
- Tremor/twitching of small muscles
- Release of social inhibitions
Long-term use of stimulants have devastating health effects, including:
- Physiological and behavioral disorders
- Pounding heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
- Mood or mental changes
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Repetitive motor activity
- Convulsions, coma, and death
- Mental illness
- Skin disorders
- Vitamin deficiency
- Flush or pale skin
- Loss of coordination and physical collapse
Withdrawal from Stimulants
When one has been heavily using stimulants they may be awake for long periods of time and will ultimately “crash.” They will become depressed and may sleep for hours or even days.
When they wake, the user will experience additional withdrawal symptoms, the most dangerous being severe depression to the point of suicidal thoughts and acts. This is why it’s critical to seek treatment for addiction instead of the addict trying to quit stimulants on their own.
Treatment Each situation is different. By seeking addiction treatment for your loved one, a qualified center like ours can help find where the addiction began, address the causes and underlying issues and find a new lifestyle for future success.
Many stimulant addicts begin using their drug of choice as a way to cope with the pressures of life. Sometimes that is through a drug that helps with focus, and sometimes it with a drug that helps the addict escape. Here at Peaks Recovery, our program includes a life skills component; our clients hold jobs so they can learn to deal with life’s stresses in sobriety. This greatly enhances their long-term chances of avoiding relapse, and so does our aftercare program.
Contact us today to learn about your new beginning at our beautiful Colorado campus.