Stimulants, also called uppers, include a wide category of chemicals and are usually found in prescription medicines, over the counter (OTC) drugs, illegal drugs as well as in herbal extracts. As the name suggests, stimulants excite or stimulate the brain, increasing the activity level of the central nervous system (CNS). Its use induces a sense of happiness, alertness, excitement, and well-being.
Stimulants are mainly used for medicinal purposes. They are prescribed to treat sleep paralysis, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and allergies like hay fever. These usually comprise prescription drugs like diet aids, amphetamines, and methylphenidates and illicit drugs like cocaine, methcathinone, and methamphetamine.
However, these drugs are often abused for their mood-elevating effects. Teens binge use these to enhance self-esteem, increase periods of wakefulness, curb appetite to lose weight, and increase the levels of physical activity to boost performance at school or work.
Stimulants affect the nervous systems increasing the activity levels of the brain. These also hasten the release of feel-good receptors like dopamine and norepinephrine. Addiction to simulants can lead to extreme physical conditions. Some of the these are:
Extended use of stimulants, with or without a doctor’s prescription, can lead to addiction. When abused extensively, stimulant use may have severe long-term effects including feelings of hostility towards others, paranoia, heart trouble, cramps, vomiting, seizures, inability to regulate body temperature, and malnutrition.
Due to its nature, stimulant withdrawal can lead to severe depression, irritation, sedation, psychomotor agitation, and disturbed sleep patterns.
Though there are many kinds of non-prescribed stimulants found in the streets and in herbal extracts, some of the most commonly abused ones include:
Extracted from the Erythroxylum coca plant, cocaine has no medical implication. Initially used as a pain reliever, it soon started being abused recreationally for its powerful analgesic effects. It is either snorted, injected or smoked. Cocaine abuse leads to hallucinations, increased mental alertness, hypersensitivity, restlessness, increased palpitations, and diaphoresis.
Commonly known as ecstasy, E or X, 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) is derived from methamphetamine and is commonly used in clubs or parties organized by high school and college students. Known as a rave or party drug, it is used to increase euphoria.
A schedule II drug, amphetamine is quite popular amongst college going teens. Used to treat ADHD, the use of this class of substances results in increased alertness and attentiveness.
Originally used for treating narcolepsy or sleep paralysis, abusing this drug increases alertness and feelings of pleasure. Chronic use leads to addiction.
A comprehensive stimulant addiction treatment program would entail a detox program, followed by a personalized treatment program combining medication and counselling therapies. These therapy sessions ensure that the patient learns the necessary coping mechanisms that help manage the triggers so that a relapse can be prevented.
Treatment programs differ from individual to individual and aim at achieving symptomatic relief. Some stimulant intoxication like cocaine overdose might also require medical help. Reducing a patient’s level of stimulation by doing things like speaking in low voices, lowering the light, and indulging in minimal touch help in relaxing a person hyperventilating from stimulant intoxication.
ADEONA Healthcare, the leading rehab center for teens aged 12-17, provides comprehensive treatment programs for mental illnesses, addiction issues, behavioral problems, and dual diagnosis. If you know a teen battling an addiction to stimulants, get in touch with ADEONA Healthcare. We provide personalized stimulant addiction treatment programs in a safe, controlled, and supervised environment.
Depending on the severity of the addiction, duration of use, and gravity of the symptoms, our multidisciplinary medical team may administer therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to break negative thought patterns. They also ensure that the patient is administered the right combination of medication and therapies that addresses any underlying factors that lead to the addiction to ensure long-lasting recovery. For more information about our stimulant addiction program, call our 24/7 helpline (888) 997-3966 and speak with a member from our admissions team. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.