Stimulants are a broad class of drugs that includes caffeine, cocaine and meth. The general effects of these drugs are alike in that they speed up brain activity. When a person uses one of these drugs, it can boost their alertness and mental functions.
There are many ways people abuse stimulants. The type of abuse depends on the type of drug. Some can be taken orally, like prescription stimulants, while others are snorted or injected. The most common types are methylphenidates and amphetamines, which are the active ingredients in ADHD drugs. Some of the most common brands of these drugs include Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin and Concerta.
People abuse stimulants when they take them more often than a doctor advised, or in ways other than as prescribed. Certain symptoms of stimulant abuse may be noticed before others. The most common symptoms of stimulant misuse are:
- Having more self-confidence
- Increased sociability
- Difficulty sleeping
- Reduced appetite
Stimulant misuse can be dangerous or deadly. Two big risks of misuse are addiction and dependence. Prescription and illicit drugs can cause addiction. Addictive drugs affect neurotransmitters that cause a reward response. Such an effect is what gives rise to the start of an addiction. After dependence occurs, when someone tries to stop using a drug, they will experience drug withdrawal. Other side effects of stimulant misuse are:
- High blood pressure
- Fast heart rate
- Fast breathing
- Less blood flow and circulatory issues
- High blood sugar
- Irregular heartbeat
- High body temperature
- Heart failure
- Mood or behavior changes
- Poor diet
- Abdominal pain or problems
Stimulant addiction is a big problem in the United States. Cocaine is one of the most used drugs in the country and the abuse of ADHD medicine has grown over the past 20 years. Stimulant addiction can start as someone develops a tolerance for the drugs.
Having a drug tolerance means that a person needs higher doses to get the desired effect. As someone builds a drug tolerance, they use more and more of the drug. Eventually, they take so much that they risk having a drug overdose. Stimulant addiction signs and symptoms can be:
- Continuing to use the drugs, even after negative effects are seen
- Being unable to reduce or stop drug use
- Stealing or lying to get more drugs
- Problems with work or social life
When a person is addicted to stimulants, their brain is changed as a result of the drug use. It is hard for that person to feel like they can get through the day without stimulants. Addiction is often linked to psychological symptoms. Other substance addictions can also occur together.
There are many long-term effects of stimulant use. When kids are given stimulants for their ADHD, the drugs can harm their brains. But when someone misuses stimulants, the risks are even worse. The more a person misuses them, the more likely the person is to get severe symptoms such as strokes or seizures.
Mental effects can occur, too. Such issues can affect a person’s memory and their ability to focus and solve problems. There are also psychological effects caused by stimulant misuse. Some of those effects are:
- Anger or aggression
- Violent behavior
If you or a loved one struggle with drug use, contact The Recovery Village. Take the first step toward a healthier future; call now.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.