When people think of drugs, they don’t think of their favorite breakfast beverage. Though, drinks, food, and “natural pills” can contain an ingredient that is considered a stimulant drug. Not every stimulant drug leads to stimulant withdrawal.

There are types of stimulant drugs that are used for health reasons. On the other hand, these prescriptions might lead someone to need stimulant addiction treatment. Legal or illegal, stimulant drugs can help or hinder those who use them.

What Are Stimulants? 

Stimulants are substances that speed up body systems, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Their site says they are made both legally and illegally. Some have medical properties. Others are made for illicit use. Many stimulants are natural. 

Above all, stimulants have the same overall effect. They affect the nervous system. To clarify, they increase levels of the body’s chemicals for a desirable outcome.

Stimulant drugs generally affect the body in these ways:

  • Make someone feel more awake and alert
  • Can improve concentration 
  • Euphoria 
  • Can make someone overly-confident
  • May cause people to be chatty 
  • Might make a person overly-friendly and trusting 
  • Clenched teeth or teeth grinding 
  • Sweating more than usual 
  • Nasal drip
  • Anxiety 
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate 
  • No appetite 

Everyone reacts to drugs differently. Doctors can predict the outcome. Drug dealers can’t. There is no guarantee of what can happen. In short, this makes them dangerous. 

The Science Behind Stimulants 

To begin, the brain interacts with stimulants the most. Yet, this drug affects more parts of the body. Firstly, it needs to make its way into the body. 

There are multiple ways to ingest stimulants:

  • Swallowing  
  • Snorting 
  • Inhaling 
  • Injection 

When swallowed, stimulants make their way into the intestinal tract and stomach. After, it’s broken down by the digestive tract. Some elements enter the bloodstream. The ones in the bloodstream give people physical and mental sensations. Other parts are digested. 

Snorted stimulants stick to the nasal passages. Then, they absorb directly into the bloodstream. Typically, legal stimulants aren’t snorted. 

On the other hand, inhaled stimulants enter the lungs as a gas. The lungs are a large area for the gas to enter the bloodstream. Similarly, it’s rare to take legal stimulants this way. 

Finally, they can also be injected directly into the bloodstream. Once stimulants are in the bloodstream, they engage with multiple organs and organ systems. Chemical signals tell the brain to make a person feel a certain way. They speed up the neural activity. 

What is Stimulant Withdrawal?

A stimulant withdrawal is a physical and mental reaction to a lack of chemicals stimulants induce. The chemical signals stimulants that fire off are neurotransmitters. Dopamine and serotonin are types of these. They make people feel happy and calm. 

Stimulants override the production of these chemicals. So, their body becomes dependent on drugs for that emotion. Once they stop taking them, their body freaks out. Its chemicals are depleted. The body screams for more but gets none. 

Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Withdrawal 

  • Bodily aches and pains 
  • Irritability and anger 
  • Seizures 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Disrupted sleep 
  • Random chills 
  • Memory issues

Withdrawal from stimulants, prescribed or illegal, is uncomfortable. At times, they are deadly. Signs and symptoms might last for 2 weeks. If they go beyond that, they are classified as post-acute-withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).  

What is Considered a Stimulant Drug?

A person who uses stimulants might need it for health reasons. Another might drink a cup of stimulants every morning to wake up. Unfortunately, many may use it at a party or bar for fun. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that about 5 million Americans abuse prescription stimulants every year. Around half a million had casual use turn into a substance abuse disorder. 

To continue, pharmaceutical companies make stimulants. Farmers also make them. Some criminals make them in illicit labs. In other words, there is a large range of stimulant drugs. 

Types Of Stimulants 

Food and Drinks

It might come as a shock that stimulant drugs can be bought at restaurants. Caffeine is considered a stimulant drug. Guarana, an ingredient in many energy drinks, is considered a stimulant drug as well. That boost of energy comes from the science behind stimulants. 

Types of Stimulants

Here are a few (delicious) examples: 

  • Coffee 
  • Green tea 
  • Black tea 
  • Energy drinks (Monster, Redbull, and Rockstar are popular ones) 
  • Desserts and candy made with matcha 
  • Dark chocolate 
  • Soda 

These tasty treats don’t usually cause ill effects. However, they contain a stimulant. This puts people at risk for stimulant withdrawal. 

For example, those who indulge in a daily cup of Starbucks may experience light stimulant withdrawal. Coffee makes them feel energetic. Going cold-turkey to caffeine can mean grogginess and irritability. 

Additionally, some may have adverse reactions. Someone with an anxiety disorder can have a panic attack because of too much caffeine. Even black tea can make certain individuals feel anxious.  

Over the Counter (OTC) 

Additionally, people use over-the-counter (OTC) stimulants. OTC stimulants are usually packed with caffeine and guarana. Those who want more energy or deeper concentration might turn to these. They might feel that because it isn’t medicine per se, it’s better for them. 

Forms of OTC stimulants are:

  • Energy-boosting pills 
  • OTC study drugs 
  • Diet pills

Since they aren’t illegal or prescribed, they avoid scrutiny. Research lacks a focus on OTC stimulant abuse. Yet, some research suggests that people can have a withdrawal from them. 

Prescription

A study by NIDA found that around 16 million Americans were prescribed stimulants in 2015. That’s about 6.6% of USA’s population. So, stimulants can change people’s lives for the better. 

People that have diagnosable attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can get stimulant prescriptions. 

These stimulants are typically prescribed to people with ADHD: 

  • Dextroamphetamine (Adderall XR) 
  • Methylphenidate (Concerta, Ritalin, Daytrana) 
  • Amphetamine/dextroamphetamine combos (Adderall) 
  • Amphetamine sulfate (Evekeo)
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) 
  • Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) 

In summary, there is a slew of other prescription stimulants to treat ADHD. People with ADHD can have normal lives with medications like these. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found 6.1 million American kids had ADHD. This data from 2016 shows that is about 9.4% of children were surveyed. Without stimulants, they may not be able to sit still, take a test, or even hold a normal conversation. 

Yet, some abuse prescription stimulants. Students from middle school to doctorate illegally take them. As a result, they can get an addiction or even overdose. 

Illegal

There are types of stimulants that are illegal. They are made illicitly. Then, they are distributed in secret. There are studies out there to use illegal stimulants for medical reasons. Yet, they are not legal as of now. 

Stimulants that are street drugs come in different forms: 

A rush of euphoria comes from these illegal stimulants. Stimulant abusers use them to keep them awake and dancing at clubs. 

Consequently, they don’t think about how their casual use can end them at an addiction treatment center. Constant use of stimulants like these can deplete bodily chemicals that make people happy and calm. Even worse, stimulant abusers can die from them or become suicidal/homicidal. 

Who Should Consider Stimulant Addiction Treatment? 

Stimulant abuse may start as a prescription. It could begin as a mistake. A person could think they are smoking pot and have their first dose of crack by accident. 

Either way, a first-time use can end up as an addiction. People whose lives revolve around stimulants should consider addiction treatment. Those who abuse stimulants should get help before they hit rock bottom. That is to say, it’s easier to resolve a problem before it gets worse. 

Further, stimulant addiction treatment isn’t for people who regularly take them for medical reasons. It’s for people who want to regain control of their lives. The right medical help can put most back on track. 

What to Expect At a Stimulant Addiction Treatment Center 

At addiction treatment centers, people suffering from substance use disorders have options. They are probably not going in for coffee. It’s more likely they’ll go in for a dependency on illegal stimulants or prescribed ones. 

They’ll work with a team of medical professionals and counselors. In doing so, they can craft a plan that works best for them. During onboarding, patients can expect to find out a general timeline of recovery. Additionally, they can go through a list of treatment programs that are most suitable for them. 

Also, patients will work with medical professionals to address underlying health issues. Only addressing one issue will impede stimulant addiction recovery. Aftercare will also be up for discussion. A comprehensive plan is one that will work. 

Types of Stimulant Addiction Treatment 

Effective treatment depends on personal factors. What is the severity of their stimulant addiction? How much time can they dedicate to recovery? How much money can they spend on it? A stimulant rehabilitation center may consider different types of treatment depending on the answers. 

Talk Therapy 

Talk therapy is a proven method to enforce positive behavior through discourse. A patient might speak to a therapist or counselor about obstacles to recovery. Popular forms of talk therapy include dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). 

Medical Detox

If a stimulant addiction is severe, a person suffering from it may need to go through a medical detox. This would happen before treatment. Medical experts will prescribe medication to help the withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, they might be prescribed medication to help with mental illness. 

Outpatient and Inpatient Programs 

There are specific programs dedicated to patients who can live at a treatment center. Then, some can’t. Outpatient programs are for those who can’t commit to living in a treatment center. Inpatient treatments involve a residential aspect. 

Unity Behavioral Health Can Help With Stimulant Withdrawal 

Unity Behavioral Health works with a team of experienced medical professionals to provide the best treatment for stimulant abuse. We know that addiction doesn’t look a certain way. It also doesn’t affect a certain person. It affects everyone around them, too. 

Contact us now if you or someone you care about needs help with addiction recovery. There is no shame in getting help. It’s only a shame if you never get help. 

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