The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) posted an article in November 2020 stating stimulant-related overdoses are on the rise. While drugs like opioids mainly get the spotlight, stimulant drugs can cause death and irreparable cognitive damage.
With this, stimulant addiction is on the rise, meaning more Americans struggle with it. While some types of stimulant drugs are innocent, others can derail lives. However, a stimulant detox program can get people’s lives back on track without a hitch.
What Are Stimulant Drugs?
When someone mentions drugs, people often think of seedy men in trenchcoats. They don’t typically think of the drinks they chugged to get them through college exams or what they drink every morning. Despite the misconception, stimulant drugs are any form of substance that speeds up the body’s systems. This doesn’t mean that the substance is illegal. For example, a child could easily buy some forms of stimulant drugs at a pharmacy store.
Further, stimulant drugs speed up the body’s systems in part due to their interaction with the nervous system. The nervous system makes up many parts of the body. The nerves in the brain and spine are a part of it. Stimulant drugs affect the neurons within this system.
A long neural fiber called an axon connects neurons together. In order to send messages to each other, they send electrical messages along the axons in the form of neurotransmitters. Hence, the body transforms these messages into chemicals that make a person feel a certain way.
Certain neurotransmitters that make the body and brain feel good are associated with stimulant drugs:
- Dopamine: Stimulant drugs attach to the neural structures in the brain that regulate this chemical and send it into overdrive. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that tells the body to feel happy and calm. It’s also associated with memory and learning.
- Serotonin: This is another neurotransmitter that makes the brain tell the body to feel happy and relaxed. Low levels of it are associated with anxiety and depression.
- Norepinephrine: Stimulant drugs speed up the body’s system by speeding up the chemical production of this neurotransmitter. Norepinephrine in tandem with adrenaline makes someone feel awake and energized.
- Glutamate: Glutamate is involved with most exchanges of brain messages. It’s associated with memory, learning, and energy. Stimulant drugs speed up the production of it.
What Are Types of Stimulant Drugs?
Firstly, as mentioned before, types of stimulant drugs include any substance that speeds up the body’s systems. They generally interact with the limbic reward system. Pleasure and this neural system are synonymous. Certain activities like exercise, sex, and yummy food tap into the limbic reward system.
Items like energy drinks, cigarettes, and even dark chocolate are packed with types of stimulant drugs. Energy drinks and coffee are loaded with caffeine. Nicotine found in cigarettes acts as both a stimulant and a depressant at times. Both caffeine and nicotine speed up the body systems to make an individual feel awake, alert, at ease, and happy.
On the other hand, not all types of stimulant drugs are socially acceptable to have at breakfast time. Many types of stimulant drugs are manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry to help individuals with certain cognitive disabilities. These substances are often diverted to an illegal market. Additionally, some stimulant drugs are manufactured illegally.
These are commonly abused types of stimulant drugs:
- Bath salts
- Crack (Crack Cocaine)
- Methylphenidate ( includes Ritalin and Concerta)
- Amphetamines (Adderall and MDMA are examples)
- Methamphetamine (crystal meth is a popular, illicit kind)
Unlike coffee and energy drinks, these types of stimulant drugs can speed up the body’s systems to the point where it’s not only unhealthy but deadly. When people buy substances like these illegally they can be cut with other drugs to make it cheaper to make. This makes it much easier to develop an addiction, but also to overdose on it.
That said, some people need stimulant drugs to function. Those with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can use a drug like Adderall to stay focused. This works because they have a depleted amount of chemicals in the brain that allows people to stay focused and happy. Typical people don’t need it.
Stimulant Drugs and Stimulant Addiction in the USA
To continue, the NIDA highlights the stimulant drug epidemic in the United States. In 2018 they released a comprehensive analysis of how American adults abuse prescription stimulants. They found that two percent of American adults have misused prescription stimulants in their life every year.
While this number may seem low, it means that around five million Americans use prescription stimulants illegally every year. Out of this group surveyed, around 400,000 individuals reported having an addiction to prescription stimulant drugs. The main reason they did this was to improve cognitive function, concentration, and memory.
Yet, NIDA notes that studies consistently find that stimulant drugs might not help people with improved cognitive function if they don’t have a disorder like ADHD. Instead, those who misuse prescription stimulants don’t realize their body is responding to “feel-good” chemicals. They might convince themselves it helps with their concentration, but don’t realize they misuse it because it makes them euphoric.
Illicit Stimulant Drugs in America
Continuing, research from the Kaiser Health News (KHN) shows that prescription stimulant drug addiction isn’t the only issue for Americans. Foreboding statistics allude to the stimulant crisis the USA faces. They state that death involving methamphetamines increased more than four times from 2011 to 2015.
Additionally, 70% of law enforcement in the West and Midwest say the issue they encounter the most in relation to drugs is meth. Also, meth-related hospitalizations went up by an astounding 245% in less than a decade from 2008 to 2015. Though, this number is nothing in comparison to the meth problem in California. For instance, meth-related hospitalization went up 600% from 2011 to 2016.
The stimulant drug crisis doesn’t get as much coverage, according to KHN.This might be because the death rate isn’t as high in comparison to a drug like opioids. Yet, with the amount of user and hospitalization cases, it’s sure that this is a serious problem for Americans.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction To Stimulant Drugs
A stimulant addiction is very serious in terms of how difficult it is to prevent relapse. Also, it’s relatively easy to overdose on it. Despite these glaring issues, the body and brain crave these chemicals that make them feel so good. Without them, individuals with a stimulant addiction feel like a shell of a person.
This includes prescription and illegal stimulant users. Both kinds of people might find themselves addicted devoid of intention. Though, it’s worth mentioning that when a doctor prescribes stimulants it prevents addiction in most cases. This is because they won’t lace it with anything else and can regulate the dose.
Either way, these signs and symptoms could mean a person is struggling with a stimulant addiction:
- Enlarged pupils
- Erratic behavior
- Visible teeth grinding
- Asking for money all the time
- Sweating profusely for no reason
- Babbling and speaking very quickly
- They become aggressive and irritable
- Chewing and biting their cheeks and tongue
- Going out excessively to clubs, parties, and raves
- Strange sleep patterns (ie: sleeping at weird hours and not sleeping at all)
Each sign and symptom on its own may not mean anything. However, it could indicate a stimulant addiction. This is especially the case if I person displays multiple signs and symptoms. To be fair, they might not realize they are addicted to stimulants. That’s why it’s crucial to be aware of these warning signals to ensure the safety of a loved one.
An individual with a stimulant addiction is out of control. They live to indulge in their addiction. There is a reason a substance use disorder is a health condition. Only a medical professional has the power to truly help a person struggling with an addiction to stimulants. A medical detox can prevent relapse and provide sobriety.
Why A Stimulant Drugs Detox is Essential To Recovery
Moreover, people with a stimulant addiction may try to stop taking them. Ultimately, nobody chooses to develop a life-altering drug dependency. Though, many who try, find themselves right back on stimulants because of the horrible withdrawal symptoms. Stimulant withdrawal symptoms include headaches, vomiting, hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, restlessness, mood/anxiety disorders, and seizures.
It’s no surprise that those addicted to stimulants put off quitting. They might be unaware that a medical detox can help ease the pain of stimulant withdrawal symptoms. A detox is when a person with a substance use disorder rids their body of the drug and its toxins. A medical stimulant detoxification (aka detox) is conducted within a medically supervised setting. Addiction detox centers are the best place to undergo one.
The benefits of detoxing at a detox facility include:
- Around the clock care and supervision
- Support from both peers and medical staff
- External triggers won’t affect a recovering addict
- Staff can taper them off stimulants in a safe environment
- A detox facility provides constant support after detoxification
- A medical team monitors vitals to ensure the member isn’t in danger
- Medical staff can prescribe medication to deal with withdrawal symptoms
A person struggling with a stimulant addiction who decides to enroll at a detox facility takes the first step to recovery. Skipping this step could lead to relapse and death. It’s worth the time and money when it’s the difference between life and death.
Coastal Detox Knows an Addiction to Stimulant Drugs Is Uncontrollable Without Help
Recovering from stimulant drugs is no easy feat. Coastal Detox provides a comfortable stimulant addiction detox in Florida to show recovering addicts that sobriety is possible. We’re familiar with all types of stimulant drugs. Hence, we know how to deal with each one in the most effective way possible. If you or a loved one has an addiction to stimulants contact us now to reach lasting sobriety.