Anyone who has experience of stimulant addiction knows that it’s a serious issue. Stimulant addiction can have a range of negative mental and physical health effects. It is one of the leading causes of people seeking drug treatment in America, and according to the DEA, use is on the rise in New Jersey.
Many people who are addicted to stimulants feel that there is no way out. They feel trapped in a cycle of living to use stimulants and using stimulants to live. Although it may seem impossible, with the right support, breaking this vicious cycle is easier than many people think. It begins with detox and continues with actively engaging in a program of recovery. There are millions of Americans who are currently in recovery from stimulant addiction.
Excel Treatment Center can organize stimulant detox and provide the lasting support necessary to recover from this addiction. If you or a loved one are addicted to stimulants and want to stop, we can help you.
Stimulants are a class of drugs which include Ritalin, methamphetamine, cocaine, crack, Adderall, and caffeine. Although these drugs may cause slightly different effects, the one thing they have in common is that they speed up the body.
All of these drugs change the levels of dopamine in the body. This is a neurotransmitter that naturally increases in response to pleasurable activities such as eating, socializing, or having sex.
However, stimulant drugs cause the levels of dopamine to build up far beyond natural levels, causing a euphoric feeling in users. People find it very enjoyable and feel more confident, intelligent, and talkative. However, these feelings are not sustainable.
Stimulants only act for a short period of time. When they wear off, the levels of dopamine in the body are depleted. Users feel a ‘crash’ and emotions can feel lower than before they used the drug. Some will seek to keep the euphoric ‘high’ feeling going and will take stimulants repeatedly. This is the beginning of a psychological addiction, which can become a physical one if not treated.
As people use stimulants more and more frequently, they can start to rely on them. People get used to the increased levels of confidence stimulants give, they like the feeling of euphoria, and they mistakenly think that stimulants improve their lives.
With time, the brain adapts to the constant presence of drugs and it becomes reliant on stimulants to regulate itself. It becomes used to the constant build-up of dopamine, and effectively develops a tolerance to it. This leads to users feeling low when they do not have the drug in their bloodstream.
This sets off a vicious cycle of users taking the drug to relieve negative feelings, and their addiction worsens. It can be alarming to read that stimulants cause a physical change in the brain, though this does not have to be permanent. It may be reassuring to know that the brains ability to adapt is what makes recovery possible.
The first step on the path to recovery is detox. This involves withdrawing from the drug, to allow it to leave the body.
Anyone who has been addicted to stimulants will tell you that this is not easy to manage alone. Users will experience a range of physical and mental symptoms during withdrawal, which can be overwhelming without the right support.
At Excel Treatment Center, we pride ourselves on providing our clients with comprehensive detox packages tailored to meet their individual needs. We understand that everyone has a unique backstory, and we accommodate this.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Stimulants are very hard on the body. Users can sometimes go days without sleeping or eating. They can also cause muscle spasm, irregular heartbeat, and in some instances, seizures.
Physical side effects during withdrawal are common and some of these include:
- Pain in the body
- Extreme lethargy
- Slowed heart rate
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Lack of appetite
There are no substitute drugs that can be used for a stimulant detox. Instead, users will be asked to try to reduce usage down before they go to detox. Even if they don’t manage this, it is still possible to withdraw safely if given the right support.
Occasionally, people may require psychiatric medication, anti-anxiety medication, or sleep aids. Also, if someone is malnourished, then nutritional support can be given too.
Mental Withdrawal Symptoms
During a stimulant detox, the mental side effects are more pronounced than the physical. These are often overlooked as users focus on the more visible effects however, mental symptoms can be just as disruptive and challenging to cope with.
Some of them include:
- Intense drug cravings
- Inability to feel joy
Although these can seem all-consuming to stimulant users, they do not last forever. The detox team are skilled in treating the immediate acute stimulant withdrawal symptoms. They are committed to making your first steps into recovery as comfortable as possible – there really is no need to go it alone.
Detox from stimulants can be broken down into two stages – acute and post-acute. The main acute stage lasts around two to three weeks. This is when the symptoms are at their most severe. However, for some months following this initial stage, users may experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS).
During the first one to three days of stimulant withdrawal, users may start to feel the physical effects of the detox. They are also likely to experience insomnia and a disrupted appetite. The acute physical symptoms should start to subside by day 10.
From this point, it is likely that users will only experience mental symptoms, which should reduce by day 18. After this point, any symptoms should be viewed as PAWS. During this stage, users will likely experience fleeting urges to use and occasional depression or anxiety.
Stimulant Withdrawal and Mental Health
There is no doubt that stimulants can affect our mental health. Research has shown that excessive stimulant use causes psychosis, although scientists are unclear as to why this is. Stimulant psychosis is characterized by delusions, visual hallucinations, and other symptoms.
Other research has shown that people with depression, anxiety, and ADHD are more likely to use stimulants. If these conditions are left undiagnosed during treatment, it significantly lowers the chances of a sustained recovery.
Excel Treatment Center are highly-skilled in diagnosing and treating both drug addiction and mental health conditions. We take a holistic approach, and we recognize that each client is individual. We pride ourselves on treating the whole person, rather than just one symptom.
Because of the time it takes for the brain to restore its normal dopamine function, it is advisable to engage in one of our recovery programs following a successful detox. When it comes to long-term recovery, detox is only one piece of the puzzle.
Addiction is a deeply entrenched and complex condition and simply being abstinent from stimulants is not enough to ensure recovery. It requires constant maintenance, and the first few months following detox are particularly vulnerable ones. Through taking part in one of our bespoke recovery programs, our clients will learn healthy coping strategies they can use when faced with triggering situations.
We will also help our clients to understand the root cause of their addiction. We understand this can vary from client to client, and never take a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. Instead, we carry out a thorough assessment that we constantly review to ensure you are always getting the most appropriate treatment.
We know that people change during their time in treatment and their goals may shift and alter throughout their time with us, and that’s fine. We work collaboratively with our clients to make sure that every aspect of their well-being is looked after while they are under our care.
Although we do not provide detoxification services, we are partnered with facilities that do and we would be happy to refer patients on prior to engaging them in our outpatient services. Excel Treatment Center can assist you with placement in a professional, licensed, insurance friendly detox center that will provide you or your loved one with much needed medical assistance on the road to addiction recovery. Reach out to us today at (973)-989-7500.