Stimulant Addiction: Cocaine, Meth, Adderall, etc.
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What are stimulants?
Stimulants are a class of psychoactive drug that increases activity in the brain. Sometimes referred to as “uppers”, these drugs are frequently abused due to their performance-enhancing and euphoric effects.
There are both legal and illegal stimulants, and both categories are commonly abused.
Legal stimulants include prescription stimulants such as Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin and Dexedrine are used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder and Narcolepsy. Most common illegal stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, and amphetamines.
What is Adderall?
Adderall contains a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine are central nervous system stimulants that affect chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.
Adderall is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.
What is Cocaine?
Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. On the streets, cocaine looks like a fine, white, crystal powder. Dealers may mix it with other drugs such as the stimulant amphetamine, or synthetic opioids, including fentanyl. Popular nicknames for cocaine include blow, coke, crack, rock and snow.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. Other common names for methamphetamine include blue, crystal, ice, meth, and speed. Meth is manufactured in “clandestine” laboratories using easy to acquire over the counter products and medications.
Stimulants are generally abused for their euphoric, energetic effects. In the short term, stimulant effects can be very pleasurable and may include:
- Intense feelings of happiness.
- Increased energy/sociability and self-esteem.
- Improved attention.
- Increased sexual desire and performance.
- Opened breathing passages/easier breathing.
- Suppressed appetite.
Signs of stimulant abuse
Taking more stimulants than intended
Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control use of stimulants
Spending excessive amounts of time surrounding stimulant use
Urges and cravings for stimulants
Failing in the obligations of home, school or work
Continued use despite relationship or social problems.
Using stimulants in a physically hazardous way
Continuing to use stimulants despite a worsening a physical or psychological problem
Increased tolerance to stimulants
Withdrawal from stimulants
Long-term physical effects of stimulant abuse include:
Extreme weight loss
Reduced sexual functioning
Signs of Withdrawal
As a rule of thumb, the longer a person has been on meth, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be. The same applies to age, with older people typically experiencing worse symptoms than younger people. Signs and symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal include:
Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency management interventions, are currently the most effective treatment for stimulant use disorders.