Drug Use

What are stimulants?

What are stimulants?

Stimulant drugs are a class of psychoactive drug that provides temporary improvements in physical or mental functioning, thus elevating mood and increasing feelings of wellbeing, energy and alertness. Stimulants are often called uppers. Examples of stimulant drugs include cocaine, methamphetamines, amphetamines, nicotine and ecstasy.

Stimulants are widely used as both recreational and prescription drugs. A healthcare provider may prescribe a stimulant drug to treat narcolepsy, promote weight loss, or treat ADHD and clinical depression. Over time, stimulant drug abuse disrupts the functioning of the brain’s dopamine system and eventually dampens the user's ability to feel any pleasure at all.

Stimulants abuse and addiction.

Stimulants are abused in several ways, depending on type. Stimulant drugs can be swallowed in pill form, snorted as powder, injected with a needle or syringe or heated into crystal form and smoked. Injected or smoked stimulants reach the brain faster and therefore produce the most intense highs. Snorting or swallowing stimulants produces a high that is less intense but longer lasting.

Often, chronic stimulant abusers will try to compensate for diminishing highs by taking more and more stimulants in order experience the same initial pleasure. This can result in increased dependence and addiction. Stimulants can be fatal, especially when taken in large doses or when mixed with other substances.

How stimulants affect users.

  • enhanced alertness
  • wakefulness and endurance
  • increased productivity, motivation and arousal
  • increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
  • nausea
  • muscle spasms

Overdosing on stimulants can lead to heart problems, strokes, convulsions and, if not treated immediately, death.

Long-term effects of stimulant drug abuse include:

  • addiction
  • severe dental problems
  • delusions
  • visual and auditory hallucinations
  • anorexia
  • problems thinking
  • aggression
  • paranoia

For help overcoming stimulant addiction, please explore Caron’s programs or contact us.

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