Stimulants Addiction: Key Information About Types, Facts, and Treatment

Addiction Resource > Addictive Substances: The Anatomy of Drug Addiction > Stimulants Addiction: Key Information About Types, Facts, and Treatment

Stimulants addiction concept image

Stimulant definition: substances which increase alertness and attention, while raising blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Stimulant drugs are also known as uppers because they give the effect of speeding things up inside the body and making a person more energetic and alert. Many people ask, “are stimulants addictive?” The answer is yes, they can be extremely addictive. Some, however, are more addictive and dangerous than others. Here is a closer look at stimulants.

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What are the Types of Stimulants?

Bottle of pills spilling overThere are many different types of stimulants. There are illegal stimulant drugs, there are over-the-counter stimulants, and there are prescription stimulants. All of these come with their own risks. Here is a breakdown of each class of stimulants.

Illegal Stimulants

These include narcotics such as cocaine powder, crack cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. These substances are outlawed in America and anyone who is caught possessing or distributing them can face criminal prosecution. If convicted, the punishments can be very severe. Part of the reason why sanctions are so critical for the possession or distribution of these substances is that they are both highly addictive and highly dangerous.

Over-the-Counter Uppers

Over-the-counter uppers, or OTC uppers, are stimulants that do not require a doctor’s prescription. People who would like to purchase OTC uppers can simply walk into a pharmacy or drug store, pick out the particular stimulant they would like to buy, and buy it. Part of the reason why OTC stimulants do not require a doctor’s prescription is that they are considered to be less risky from a biological standpoint and because they are also considered to be less addictive. Many people buy stimulant diet pills OTC to help them lose weight. OTC diet pills have been approved for safety and effectiveness, unlike diet supplements.

Prescription Stimulants

Prescription stimulants are stimulants which are riskier than OTC uppers, but which are not illegal, like cocaine and crystal methamphetamine. These drugs have to be prescribed by a doctor before a person can buy and use them. In order for a doctor to prescribe them, he or she must look at the particular case of the patient and decide whether or not the risk of addiction or side effects is worth it to the person in question.

Examples of stimulants that require a doctor’s prescription are Adderall, Dexedrine, Concerta, Ritalin, some antidepressants, and anabolic steroids. Adderall, Dexedrine, Concerta, and Ritalin are a list of stimulants that are used to improve focus and concentration for people who have ADD, ADHD, or similar issues that make it difficult to focus. Antidepressants are drugs that are prescribed to people who have depression. They help to make changes in the brain which are supposed to reduce depression. Anabolic steroids are drugs which are similar to the hormone testosterone. Doctors often prescribe them to people who have symptoms of low testosterone or anemia. However, when they are used without a prescription, then they are illegal. Some bodybuilders and athletes use them without a prescription to build muscle. Using anabolic steroids in such a way is not only against the law but is also often against regulations for sporting competitions.

The Signs and Symptoms of Stimulants Use

People who abuse stimulants often demonstrate some distinct signs and symptoms. Here is a list of all of the signs and symptoms of stimulants abuse:

  • Woman taking a white pill Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Elevated Respiration Rate
  • Elevated Body Temperature
  • Pupillary Dilation
  • Heightened Alertness
  • Increased Motor Activity
  • Reduced Food Intake
  • Reduced Sleep Time
  • Increased Social Activities
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Neurological Impairments
  • Cognitive Deficits

This list of the symptoms of using stimulant drugs should be a warning sign to anyone who is using them, or who plans on using them. If you or someone you know is demonstrating these stimulants addiction symptoms, then it may be a sign that your health could be in danger right now, or that it may be in a few weeks or months.

As evident from the above list, there are many stimulants use signs and symptoms. The higher the doses that a person is taking and the longer that he or she has been taking them, the more intense that the symptoms tend to be. Stimulants are often extremely dangerous when taken in high doses because they may induce heart failure and death.

So, even just a single dose that is too high is capable of killing a person. The risk of a single dose killing someone is especially high with illegal stimulants such as cocaine, which are not regulated, and whose potency cannot be guaranteed at the time of ingestion. For this reason, many people die of cocaine overdoses at parties and other social events. – Someone offers them a hit and they take it, not knowing exactly what dose they are taking.

Long-term and Short-term Side Effects

Whether a person uses stimulant drugs on a long-term or a short-term basis, it often results in a severe effect on his or her health. Stimulant effects are very serious in many cases. Here is a list of both the short and the long-term stimulant drugs effects. The dangers of stimulant drugs include:

Short-term effects

  • Elevated Blood Pressure
  • Elevated Heart Rate
  • Elevated Respiration Rate
  • Elevated Body Temperature
  • Pupillary Dilation
  • Heightened Alertness
  • Increased Motor Activity
  • Reduced Food Intake
  • Reduced Sleep Time
  • Increased Social Activities
  • Psychosis
  • Dangerously Rapid and Erratic Heartbeat
  • Cerebral Hemorrhaging
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions
  • Respiratory Failure
  • Heart Failure
  • Brain Damage
  • Coma
  • Death

Long-Term Effects

  • Organ Toxicity
  • Compromised Health
  • Dental Problems
  • Hygiene Issues
  • Dermatitis
  • Paranoia
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Neurological Impairments
  • Cognitive Deficits

If a stimulant drug is illegal or prescription, then it is much more likely to have dangerous side effects and symptoms. If a drug overdose occurs, then it frequently results in death. This is why the side effects of stimulant drugs must be taken so seriously.

However, even if a person is only taking OTC stimulant drugs, this also can have serious side effects if they are abused or used for long periods of time. Many people take OTC stimulant diet pills to help them lose weight without realizing that they are developing a dependency on them, or that the pills are creating long-term side effects. Due to the risk of drug addiction, anyone who is taking these kinds of pills needs to be careful that they do not abuse them, or use them in ways that could become dangerous and result in addiction. Any symptoms of addiction are a significant warning sign and an indicator that treatment may be needed.

Although the most extreme side effect of abusing stimulant drugs is death, many others can be extremely serious. For example, stimulant drug abuse can also cause organ toxicity, comas, brain damage, psychosis, and heart failure, all of which may have a strong negative impact on a person’s quality of life and health. These are things which most people would rather avoid. However, the more a person abuses stimulant drugs and the more powerful the stimulants they abuse are, the more likely the person is to experience serious adverse side effects and symptoms and to develop an addiction.

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If you decide that you would like to enroll in a stimulants addiction treatment program or if you would like more information about the treatment options, please feel free to call us at (888)-459-5511.

Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline and Detox

Entering stimulants abuse and addiction treatment is often an extremely wise decision. The reason is that going to stimulants addiction treatment can help people to overcome their dependencies on these dangerous substances. However, people who go through stimulants addiction treatment usually have to go through a period of withdrawal and detox. Stimulants detox is when a person stops taking stimulants and the body clears all of the remaining stimulants out of the system. Depending on how severe the drug addiction is and how long the person has been abusing stimulants, the intensity and timeline for drug withdrawal and detox can vary significantly. Here is a schedule of the stimulants withdrawal symptoms and stimulants detox periods for those who are addicted to these substances and who are entering treatment.

Week 1

Unlike other drugs, stimulants clear from the body within just a few days. As a result, the first week is usually the hardest for people who are detoxing from stimulant drugs. Within the first 24 hours after the drugs stop being ingested and the person begins treatment, drug withdrawal symptoms start to set in. These symptoms can include severe agitation, anxiety, depression, muscle aches, increased appetite, prolonged sleeping, paranoia, hallucinations, psychosis, and intense cravings for stimulants. It is during the first week that the patients undergoing stimulants addiction treatment endure the most intense physical symptoms from withdrawal and detox. It is essential that these patients have adequate medical care during this time in case any complications arise.

Week 2

By week 2 of treatment, the most intense physical symptoms of withdrawal usually abate. This severe agitation may linger a bit longer for people with more intense addictions than for those who had less severe cases. However, even for those with extremely severe addictions, these symptoms should start to clear during the second week. There can be a period of psychological depression during the second week, however, as the drugs are no longer overstimulating the brain. Withdrawal frequently continues during this period, but, the drugs will most likely have entirely left the person’s body. This is a difficult time for treatment because it may be the first time that the patient has fully felt his or her emotions for a prolonged period. Ideally, there will be a professional counselor onsite who can help the patient to deal with any psychological issues that were contributing to his or her addiction at this point.

Week 3

By week 3, the withdrawal and drug cravings should subside even more. Some people have no lingering withdrawal or cravings by this point. However, other people may require a few months before the drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms are entirely done. But even though the drugs may have fully left the person’s body and even though his or her withdrawal symptoms and cravings may be way down, the person is still at a definite risk of relapse during this point. As a result, it is helpful to make sure that people who are going through stimulants detox have access to medical care and professional support for at least a full three weeks if possible. Again, professional psychological counseling can be beneficial when it comes to addressing the underlying issues that were contributing to addiction.

Beyond Week 3

Patients who make it past week 3 without relapsing will feel their bodies and their minds slowly return to normal. The withdrawal symptoms and cravings will fade away as their bodies become healthier and healthier. This can be a profound transformation. After a few months, there should be little to no cravings, and the body should be returned to health, minus any permanent side effects that the drugs caused.

So, if you have been using stimulants for pain management or for other purposes and if you have been asking yourself “How long does stimulants withdrawal last?” the answer is anywhere from a few days to a month or two. It depends on the severity of your case. However, treatment will typically last from a few weeks to a few months.

It is also important to know that during the process of stimulants detox, a minority of patients might exhibit severe agitation and psychiatric symptoms. Many treatment centers administer things such as B vitamins and vitamin C to help the body clear the drugs. However, these are often not enough to prevent severe psychiatric symptoms. So, sometimes stimulants detox medications such as oral diazepam are used to calm the patient down and prevent him or her from being a danger to himself, herself, or others.

Stimulants Addiction Treatment and Rehabs

Man comforting another man in a rehab groupPeople who are planning on going to stimulants addiction rehab need to understand the process of seeking treatment and effectively getting through the healing journey. Anyone who is considering entering stimulants treatment should follow these steps:

Evaluate Your Situation

People who are thinking about getting treatment for stimulants addiction need to look at their situation and determine whether or not treatment is advised. People who have just taken an over-the-counter diet pill one time and did not experience any negative side effects or continued cravings, most likely do not need treatment. But people who take stimulants regularly, whether they are over-the-counter, prescription, or illegal, may definitely require treatment. If the dependency has developed, or if any adverse signs or side effects are present then treatment could be an excellent idea. After all, addiction can get worse if it is not treated.

Research Treatment Facilities

There are thousands of addiction treatment facilities in the United States. No matter where you live in the country, there is likely to be one that is relatively close to you, or at least in your state. This is because drug addiction is a very widespread problem which affects millions of people around the world. There are a number of qualities and features that you should seek when you are conducting your research on treatment facilities.

The first thing is a professional staff. Both detox and drug withdrawal symptoms are often very intense, so you need to make sure that the place where you plan on conducting your addiction treatment has a highly professional staff that can take good care of you. Occasionally complications arise during drug detox. So, if you need urgent medical care, then you need to know that the staff at the facility is able to handle your issue.

Besides a professional staff, you should also check to make sure that the facility itself is immaculate and, if possible, attractive. You will be spending a reasonable amount of time there because treatment usually takes several weeks. So, you want to make sure that the place you will be staying is nice. Some addiction treatment centers even have yoga studios, pools, gyms, etc. More excellent facilities may be able to help improve your overall treatment experience.

You should also try to find treatment centers that have a strong track record of success. After all, the goal is to experience genuine recovery. So, treatment centers which have a lot of positive reviews from former patients should be prioritized over treatment centers that do not have a lot of good reviews. You also need to make sure that your insurance policy covers the particular program. Otherwise, you could end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket if you decide to go through with the program.

Make a Treatment Plan

Full stimulants addiction treatment takes several weeks at the very least. This is because it will take you this long to get through withdrawal symptoms and detox and to start making the next steps back to full health. So, you should plan accordingly if you need to take time off of work, to adjust your family schedule, etc. Undergoing stimulants treatment can be slightly inconvenient in many cases because it takes weeks. However, it is impossible to put a price on good health. In some situations, going to stimulants addiction treatment is the single best decision they ever make.

So if you need to rearrange your schedule or take some time off of work, then you should do it if you feel that stimulants treatment is essential. Many insurance policies will cover the cost of this treatment. So it can be an extremely beneficial investment in the long run.

Inpatient Stimulants Rehab

Inpatient stimulants rehab is one of the two main options for getting treatment for stimulants addiction. Inpatient stimulants rehab involves going to a treatment facility and staying at the facility during the entire course of treatment. Treatment typically lasts from a week or two to a month or two, depending on the program. The primary benefit of this type of treatment is that patients have access to assistance from medical professionals around the clock. This means that if there is a medical issue, there is staff on hand to help deal with it immediately. Also, this type of treatment prevents patients from having to be by themselves for long periods during the intense detox process. Inpatient stimulants rehab is highly recommended if you have the time and if your insurance policy covers it.

Outpatient Stimulants Rehab

Outpatient stimulants rehab is similar to inpatient stimulants rehab, however, with inpatient stimulants rehab patients do not sleep at the facility. They are typically there for a certain amount of hours a day instead. Although outpatient stimulants rehab is not as intense as inpatient rehab is, it can still be extremely beneficial and can help people get through the stimulants withdrawal and detox process. Outpatient stimulants rehab is a good option for people who cannot take time off of work, cannot afford inpatient rehab, or who simply do not want to sleep in a treatment facility. With outpatient stimulants rehab, the patient will still have access to medical treatment during large portions of the day. So, if there is a medical issue, they can still have it addressed. However, if the issue occurs at home, then a trip to the ER may be required if it is an emergency. Stimulants are dangerous, and stimulant addiction treatment can be intense. It is much better to get inpatient or outpatient care for stimulant drug treatment than it is to attempt to do it by yourself at home.

Looking Forward

Although stimulants drug abuse is a severe problem, it can be treated effectively in many circumstances. Many addicts who understand how stimulants work, the negative side effects they can have, and how they can get treatment do choose to go into treatment. A large number of these people make full recoveries. So, there is definitely hope for people who are addicted to upper pills. The journey back to health starts with an honest self-evaluation and the decision to enroll in a treatment program. The treatment process can be a challenge, but it can also be incredibly worthwhile. Addiction can be healed.

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Hope Without Commitment

Find the best treatment options.Call our free and confidential helpline

Treatment Is Fully Covered by Insurance In Most Cases

If you have been taking stimulants and if you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself, then you could have a stimulant addiction, or be at risk for one. If you would like to speak to a professional representative from our organization about getting treatment for a stimulant addiction, then please feel free to call (888)-459-5511.

Stimulants Addiction: Key Information About Types, Facts, and Treatment

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