What are Stimulants?
Stimulants are a broad group of medications or drugs that include both illegal, illicit drugs or prescription drugs. Illegal, illicit stimulant drugs include cocaine or methamphetamine. Prescription stimulant drugs include certain medications that are used to treat ADHD, obesity, narcolepsy, binge eating disorder or other health disorders.
Prescription stimulants include Ritalin, Adderall, Concerta, among other drugs. They typically are prescribed to individuals who are ages six and over, and also to adults. Due to the strong effects that stimulants cause, there is a high likelihood for drug abuse to occur when people use them.
What Do Stimulants Do?
You may ask, how do stimulants affect the brain? After a person uses stimulants their brain increases certain types of cell signaling and amplifies various physiological processes throughout the brain and body.
Often, stimulants affect the level of dopamine in the brain, which causes sensations such as increased alertness and attention, increased energy, and sense of well-being. Once the effects of stimulants go away, the level of dopamine drops and a person will experience a comedown or “crash.” This comedown feeling is a large reason why a person will begin to abuse the drug and it leads to addiction.
The Effects of Stimulant Drugs
Many people wonder, what does a stimulant do and what are the short and long-term effects of the drug. Due to how strong stimulants are, the long-term effects can be quite severe, and it is likely for a person to begin to abuse them. This causes intense drug cravings, leading to addiction despite the negative consequences that occur.
Mixing Stimulants and Depressants
Mixing stimulants and depressants can cause an increase in side effects to happen, aggravating or worsening symptoms of co-occurring mental health or substance use disorders, a dependence to either substance and an increased risk for fatal overdose.
How Long do Stimulants Stay in Your System?
How long a stimulant will stay in your system will depend on some factors such as the dosage you are taking, your metabolism, age, strength and overall health. A general rule of thumb for how long it will stay in your system is:
- The half-life of amphetamines which are what is found in most ADHD medications is usually less than 11 hours
- Cocaine has a very short half-life of usually less than an hour
- Methamphetamine has a longer half-life of around 12 hours, and the effects of being high on meth can last for anywhere from four to eight hours
Withdrawal from Stimulants
Like most drugs, stimulants can cause withdrawal symptoms to occur upon discontinuing use of the drug. Below are the most common withdrawal symptoms that a person may experience.
The following withdrawal symptoms the the body are related to the use of stimulants:
- Suicidal thoughts or behavior
- Panic attacks
- Irritability and mood swings
- Extreme fatigue
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired memory
- Drug cravings
- Severe depression
- Vivid nightmares or sleep disturbances
Stimulants and Your Health
Using stimulants, even for a short-term use can lead to physical health effects to occur. Many users experience increased heart rate, elevated body temperature and blood pressure, panic, interrupted sleep patterns, irritability, hallucinations and a loss of appetite.
Taking stimulants in high dosages can lead to seizures,convulsions, possibly be life-threatening. Long-term health effects of using stimulants can range from irregular heart rate, increased blood pressure, and nutritional deficiencies such as chronic insomnia, seizures, impotence, heart failure, asthma, and more.
Addiction to Stimulants
Because of their intense properties and effects, stimulants are highly abused and can lead to addiction. Long-term drug abuse can be detrimental to your health and cause side effects such as high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeat, seizures and skin discolorations.
Cocaine is a stimulant that is commonly misused, along with being one of the leading drugs that is misused in the United States. Cocaine is very addictive and produces physical health effects including withdrawal. Cocaine creates feelings of euphoria and an increase in energy in a person who uses it.
Another highly addictive stimulant is methamphetamine because it is a very powerful and deadly stimulant. Stimulant abuse often stems from an increase in tolerance and developed dependence of a drug, causing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Treating Your Drug Addiction
The first step in getting treatment for a drug addiction, including stimulants is to reach out to an addiction treatment center and determine if they are a right fit for you. All treatment centers offer a different approach to how they treat addiction, but most generally will start with detox and continue with behavioral health strategies such as counseling or holistic care options.
It can be difficult to admit that you are struggling with stimulant abuse, but it is important to be aware of your truth and get help right away at a treatment center such as AToN Center. The sooner you are able to admit that you have a problem, the sooner you can build a foundation for you to achieve recovery.
Addiction Treatment at AToN Center
AToN Center is a drug and alcohol addiction treatment center in California that offers many amenities with the latest, cutting edge treatment methods. Our addiction specialists can treat all types of drugs, including stimulants and help a person become sober, free from drugs.
Our treatment center is located in the stunning hills of San Diego, with onsite gyms, spinning bikes, tennis courts, sand volley courts, saltwater pool, fresh water pool and spa, cabana, fountains, barbecue, fire pit, multi-jet outdoor shower, and a sauna with a 360-degree view.
At AToN Center we will not just treat your body, but also your brain as well. We understand how a drug like stimulants can affect your entire body, including your brain, and that overcoming an addiction can be extremely difficult. We want to assist you through the entire process of your recovery.
For more information on our programs, please reach out to one of our staff members right away. We are happy to help you with you or your loved one and assist you in achieving life-long recovery.