About Stimulant Addiction
Stimulants, also known as “uppers”, are a substance that raises the levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body. They increase alertness, attention, and energy, as well as elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. The potential for abuse and addiction of stimulants lead to their decrease in medical use.
Types of Stimulants and How They are Used
Stimulants are now used to treat a few health conditions including ADHD, chronic lethargy, morbid obesity, narcolepsy, and occasionally depression. Prescription stimulants include Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, and Concerta. There are a number of stimulants within the category, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, crack cocaine, and methylenedioxymethamphetamine.
How Stimulants Work
The effects that stimulants have on the body differ depending on the drug, but they all work by making changes in the central or peripheral nervous system. Cocaine works by increasing the levels of dopamine. This neurotransmitter stimulates the brain and creates the high associated with this type of drug. Methylenedioxymethamphetamine increases the availability of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain, creating a pleasurable experience.
Some people use stimulants to counteract drowsiness caused by sleeping pills or alcohol. The cycle of up/down is extremely hard on the body and dangerous. Physical withdrawal may occur when the use of stimulants is stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal may include: fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.
The effects of stimulants include:
- Decreased appetite
Why People Become Addicted to Stimulants
Cocaine and methamphetamine are highly addictive and do not require people to take these substances many times before they become dependent. There are some individuals that become addicted to crack after just one use. The levels of well-being and confidence associated with these drugs encourage continued use. Crack cocaine can be a particularly destructive drug due to the euphoria from the drug, even if it lasts only a few minutes. This leads to the addict either needing to take more or suffer the lows of coming off the drug.
Addiction to stimulants may lead to a list of serious consequences. Aside from issues with work, family, and legal troubles, use of stronger stimulants can cause the following:
- Heart failure
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Damage to body organs
Individuals who are addicted to strong stimulants may exhibit a number of symptoms, including; loss of interest, mood swings, manic behavior, poor hygiene, restlessness and agitation.
Symptoms of withdrawal from stimulants include:
- Lack of energy
- Suicidal thoughts
- Physical symptoms including headaches and body aches
If you are concerned that yourself or a loved one are struggling with dependence to stimulants, contact the addiction specialists at A New Start, Inc. at 844.TALK.ANS. Our dedicated team can find the help you need to begin the path to recovery.