The term ‘stimulants’ refers to a class of drugs that increase the activity level in both the brain and body. The use of stimulant drugs allows users stay awake for extended periods by increasing alertness and overall energy. The short-term effects of stimulants may initially be appealing to those who want an extra energy boost to go out and socialize or focus while studying. However, in the long-term, stimulants can cause severe damage to your physical and mental health. In particular, stimulants can cause serious damage to your cardiovascular (heart) and respiratory (lungs) systems.
Stimulants have a high potential for abuse. There are many types of stimulants; some are legal and prescribed, and some are illegal. While the short-term effects can be useful and pleasurable, they soon wear off. Users are left with a crash or comedown, which can be deeply uncomfortable and undesirable. Regardless of the type of stimulant used, even over a short time frame, addiction is possible. When this happens, professional treatment is necessary.
Stimulant Addiction Treatment
At Excel Treatment Center, we offer comprehensive treatment and addiction recovery programs for those struggling with stimulant addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling, we have a wide range of recovery specialists on board to assist you or your loved one in returning to health. Treatment takes place in an outpatient setting, meaning those receiving treatment can continue to manage personal commitments during the program.
At Excel, clients are supported with detox and withdrawal management, rehabilitation therapies, and aftercare support. The length and type of treatment will be based on an initial mental health screening and assessment. This is done to determine the severity of the addiction, the presence of other conditions or disorders, and the best way to approach treatment. Treatment with Excel is comprehensive, non-judgmental, and compassionate, and programs are individually tailored to best suit each client.
There are many different types of stimulants. Legal prescription stimulants include:
Illegal stimulants include:
Stimulant addiction can begin in several ways. One way in which a person can become addicted to stimulants is by misuse of a prescription. Legal stimulants such as Adderal and Ritalin are prescribed to aid those struggling with certain medical conditions, namely attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or attention deficit disorder (ADD). When a person uses these drugs outside of their doctor’s recommendation – taking the medication in higher doses or more frequently than recommended – then the risk of addiction is high.
These drugs are also abused when a person uses them without a prescription. Non-prescription use of prescription drugs is a growing problem in the U.S., according to Weyandt et al. claims in an article published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. ‘[Stimulant use] has become a serious problem in the United States and abroad, especially on college campuses’.
Young people are increasingly using these drugs as a party aid or to help them study more efficiently. While this approach to studying may seem like a good idea initially, but the long-term consequences far outweigh the benefits.
Illegal stimulants, such as cocaine, MDMA, and other amphetamine derivatives, are commonly used as club-drugs. It is important to note that these drugs pose a serious risk of abuse and addiction. There is a common misconception that these drugs are relatively safe because they are viewed as being ‘softer’ than other drugs, such as heroin. However, this does not make the use of illegal stimulants safe, and the potential for abuse is still there. Even casual use of these drugs can result in serious, sometimes fatal consequences.
What Is Stimulant Addiction?
Stimulant addiction is much more common than people assume. These drugs are readily available and relatively cheap, and their affordability and ease of access mean that addiction rates are high.
According to SAMHSA, stimulants act on the brain by encouraging the production of excess dopamine – a chemical in the brain responsible for motivation and reward. Dopamine is one of the primary brain chemicals released when we engage in biologically rewarding or pleasurable activities, like eating, running, or sex.
When we use stimulants, more dopamine is produced in the brain than there would usually be without drugs. Over time, the brain becomes accustomed to this increased level of dopamine. As a result, dopamine release without the use of stimulants can be underwhelming. The user is then driven to seek out more of the drug to feel normal, and this dependence can soon lead to addiction.
Because of stimulant dependence and addiction, users are subject to a diminished quality of life.
Addiction impacts all areas of life, and those suffering from addiction are likely to face issues regarding:
- Professional or academic performance
- Financial and legal well-being
- Strained relationships
- Physical health
- Psychological health
People who are in contact the person suffering will likely notice the impact of stimulant abuse first, rather than the person themselves. It is often not until symptoms become obvious and irreversible damage has potentially been done that a person will realize the extent of their addiction and decide to seek help.
At Excel Treatment Center, we know that it is hard for those affected by addiction to seek the help they need. We also understand that it is difficult for families and loved ones to know what to do when someone they love has been affected by addiction.
Once you notice the signs of addiction in either yourself or a loved one, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and guidance. Our team of highly-skilled recovery specialists are ready to help you or your loved one to tackle the issue of addiction. We offer compassionate support and guidance to affected individuals and their families and are only a phone call away.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Addiction?
There are a variety of stimulant drugs with the potential for abuse. The short and long-term symptoms of addiction are somewhat similar among each of these types.
If you or someone you love is misusing stimulants, you may notice some or all of the following:
- Mood swings, primarily into depression and paranoia
- Increased irritability
- Increased anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Increased tolerance for alcohol
- Disturbed sleep
With heavy or prolonged use, the signs and symptoms of abuse become more pronounced. Long-term use of stimulants can lead to:
- Panic disorder
- Severe depression
Treatment for Stimulant Addiction
Treatment at Excel begins with an initial screening and assessment. This helps us to determine the nature and severity of your addiction. This also helps us identify the presence of any co-occurring disorders. With this information, we can customize the most appropriate treatment program for your recovery needs. When we identify how addiction has impacted your life, we can recommend the best treatment methods for your unique circumstances. Ultimately, this allows us to help you return to a happy, fulfilling life, free from substances.
Medically Assisted Detoxification and Withdrawal Management
Detoxification is usually required at the start of treatment. Those entering treatment must rid their body of the toxic chemicals that have built up due to prolonged use of stimulants. The detox and withdrawal stages can last for up to one week or longer.
Withdrawal from stimulants can be challenging.
As the body begins to adjust to life without the substance of choice, clients will experience a range of difficult symptoms, outlined in the journal Addiction as:
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams
- Sleep issues (sleeping too much or too little)
- Increased appetite
- Intense cravings
- Weight loss
- Increased irritability
- Poor memory and concentration
Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Once the detoxification phase is complete, clients can begin therapy. Therapy for substance use disorders typically involves individual and group therapy sessions. Individual therapy is beneficial in helping you to explore your thoughts and feelings as you progress through treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a useful modality used in many recovery programs to help clients better understand the relationship between their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Ultimately, therapy helps clients develop practical coping skills and tools for self-management so that stimulants don’t need to be used to process difficult feelings and emotions.
Why Choose Excel Treatment Center?
Recovery is more likely to be successful when trained professionals support it. At Excel, our recovery experts are skilled in multiple areas of addiction recovery. We can ensure that you or your loved one receives the best help available.
If we believe that another treatment center would better suit your unique needs and circumstances, we will contact them and arrange for a prompt appointment. At Excel, we are dedicated to restoring our clients to health as compassionately and effectively as possible. If you or a loved one are struggling, take the first and most important step and contact us today.