Stimulant or “uppers” are drugs that work increase the alertness and cognitive function by making the body release chemicals such as dopamine and norepinephrine increasing a person’s blood pressure and heart rate.
For this reason, stimulants are commonly used by doctors to treat patients with sleep disorders, hyperactivity, and depression. Nevertheless, even if these drugs are effective to treat this disorders, they are also very addictive. For this reason, these medications are prescription only.
Regardless of this fact, stimulants are among the most abused prescription drugs in the US. According to an official of the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit for every kilogram of heroin seized, anti-drug enforcers have seized 15 kilograms of stimulants in the past five years.
Prescription Stimulant Brands
Aside from the uses mentioned before, the Food and Drug Administration has also approved the use of stimulants for the treatment of exogenous obesity, as therapy for sleep apnea and narcolepsy. Depending on the potency and duration needed patients can be prescribed amphetamines or methylphenidates.
Some of the most well-known prescription stimulants prescribed to patients are:
Adderall is a psycho stimulant medication result of combining of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine. Usually, Adderall is used to help calm patients with ADHD, particularly children. Unfortunately aside from ADHD, Adderall is also used as a “study drug” used by students who cram for exams or seeks to become “smarter.” However, studies show that Adderall only keeps the user awake and not smarter.
Some persons with co-occurring alcohol and substance use disorders even mix alcohol with Adderall to dull the effects of been drunk. As a result, the person stops will stop been aware of how much alcohol they’ve consumed, which can lead to alcohol poisoning.
Dexedrine is also used to treat ADHD and works by changing the brain’s production of certain substances to help the patient stay focused and pay attention to an activity. It also helps in controlling behavior problems and to improve listening skills. However, doctors are discouraging users to take Dexedrine to treat tiredness or just to keep awake. Its action on the body is similar to cocaine but it is found to last longer making it more prone to abuse.
Ritalin also helps ADHD patients, like Adderall and Dexedrine. Aside from promoting concentration and mental sharpness, Ritalin is also believed to aid in weight loss. But users who do not need the medical benefits of Ritalin are also prone to use it to get a Ritalin high. To get enhanced effects, some users who suffer from drug and alcohol use disorder mix Ritalin and alcohol.
Like Ritalin, Concerta is another brand of methylphenidate. As a treatment for ADHD, it increases attention span and decreases the hyperactive behavior of the patient. Concerta has the same components as amphetamines and cocaine, making it prone to abuse. Some people who want to lose weight would often take Concerta as it can suppress appetite.
Desoxyn is another medication which aids in weight loss management for those who have obesity. It contains 5 mg of methamphetamine hydrochloride and is taken orally. Desoxyn is also taken as part of a treatment program that includes psychological, social, and educational measures for children with behavioral disorders.
In some countries in the world where it is often abused, Ephedrine is referred to as the cocaine for the “poor man.” The medication is usually used to treat breathing problems since it is a decongestant and a stimulant. Like other, stimulants, Ephedrine can be used in weight loss and boosting performance. However, while tolerance on this drug can be slow-acting, regular use may still lead to severe dependency.
7. Illicit Stimulants
Because of its highly addictive components, thousands of people are prone to abuse stimulants. The most common illicit stimulant is cocaine which can get into the body by smoking, injecting, or snorting. It immediately provides a feeling of mental alertness and energy. In 2013, cocaine use disorder has affected an estimate of 17 million people aged 15 to 64 years old, according to the World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
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Stimulant Effects and Abuse
The continued use of stimulants, whether prescribed or illicit, have adverse effects on the physical and mental health of the person. Here are some of its effects on the brain and the body:
Effects on the Brain
Using prescription stimulants increases the brain’s chemicals – dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals are responsible for the brain’s pleasure and motivation centers; and the blood pressure and heart rate, respectively. Even when a person uses it for a short period, stimulants can cause anger, paranoia, and psychosis.
Effects on the Body
People who are taking prescription and illicit stimulants experience euphoria, or often called “rush”, as breathing, blood sugar, and blood flow increase. However, this could later lead to irregular heartbeat and heart failure, which could end up in seizure or death. Prolonged medication intake also affects the kidney and damages it similar to the effect of taking steroids with alcohol.
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Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse
As mentioned before taking prescription stimulants or illicit stimulants can have various side effects on the brain, and the body as the brain gets overstimulated. Some of the symptoms of stimulant abuse are: Over-confidence,Euphoria, Loss of appetite,Insomnia.
A person taking prescription stimulants can also experience increased blood pressure and increased heart rate.
Addiction to Stimulants
Regardless if it is prescription stimulants or illicit stimulants those addicted to this substances turn them into the main priority of their life. As a result, an addicted person will ignore all the negative consequences, whether personal or health-related, as long as they can continue getting more stimulants. Nevertheless, the longer a person use stimulants, the higher the dosage the person will need to take to achieve the effects of euphoria, which can lead to overdose.
Stimulant Abuse Statistics
Two years ago, there was already an estimate of 2.6 million who started using stimulant drugs to get high, surpassing the record of 2.3 million people who started using opioids to get high in the same year. This prevalence which increases the number of deaths due to stimulants is unsurprising.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the death due to overdosing of psychostimulant jumped 30 percent in 2017 with 7,663 people died last year compared to 5,992 stimulant overdose deaths recorded in 2016.
Getting Help for Your Stimulant Addiction
If you think you have a stimulant addiction, it is not too late to seek treatment. There are a lot of treatment options that will help you recover from stimulant addiction. Whether you are taking Lexapro and alcohol or Celexa and alcohol, or you are just experimenting on drug use, you must get help now to avoid severe addiction.
Treatment for stimulant addiction usually starts with a detox program that will help the patient cleanse the body of toxic substance. Medically-assisted detox will also help you manage stimulant withdrawal symptoms which include lethargy, depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Once you have decided to seek treatment, choose the drug treatment facility that can provide you with a comprehensive rehab plan. You may choose from the inpatient and outpatient treatment programs that best suit your needs.
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