Stimulant abuse and addiction are just as problematic now as they always were; in fact, with the constant prescribing of medications such as Adderall and Ritalin to those diagnosed with ADHD and other disorders, stimulants are being abused in disturbingly high numbers today. Although stimulants may cause many desirable effects, they can also cause extreme and dangerous side effects when abused.
Types of Stimulants
Stimulants can include illicit drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine as well as licit prescription medications like Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, and Concerta. These prescription medications can also be abused and are just as dangerous as illicit drugs when they are used in a way that they are not meant to be used, either:
- At a higher dose than prescribed
- More frequently than prescribed or
- By someone they were not prescribed to
No matter what the type of drug, if it’s a stimulant, it can be dangerous when used incorrectly and such abuse can lead to a number of consequences.
Some of the common effects of stimulants, according to NIDA Teen include:
- Euphoric high
- Increased focus and attention
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heartbeat
- High body temperatures
- Decreased sleep and insomnia
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss and malnourishment
Methamphetamine, cocaine, and even prescription stimulants can cause homicidal and suicidal behavior in those who abuse them long enough and in high enough doses, a result of stimulant-induced psychosis that also includes hallucinations and extreme paranoia.
Stimulants may start out making a person feel good, euphoric, and even centered. However, over time, these drugs can cause extreme effects in those who abuse them that range from problematic to deadly. Even with behavioral treatments, these issues may stay with a person for years. As stated by the NIDA, “Psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit abusing methamphetamine” or another type of stimulant drug.
Over time, an individual who continues to abuse any stimulant will likely become addicted to the substance. These drugs are extremely addictive in nature, and using them any way other than they are meant to be used can eventually cause this type of problem. When someone is addicted to a stimulant, they will not be able to stop and might experience intense cravings even years after they stop abusing the drug. They will need to undergo formal treatment and therapy in order to have a chance at recovery.
Fighting Stimulant Abuse
It is important for all individuals to fight the issue of stimulant abuse, whether it is in you or someone you love. Stimulants can cause a person to lose their job, their money, their friends and family, all because these individuals become unable to stop taking them, and the drugs start to cause problems in their day-to-day lives.
You can fight stimulant abuse by helping someone seek treatment or by admitting it is time you do so yourself. Treatment is usually necessary to help someone stop abusing stimulants, as the drugs themselves cause changes to the way the brain works. These effects take a long time, effort, and help in order to be reversed.