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Stimulants are psychoactive drugs that stimulate increased activity in the brain and the alertness in the nervous system. The use of stimulants needs no legal certification; rather, some of these are prescribed in regulated amounts to individuals with certain illnesses. While these may be prescribed, they are prone to addiction and overuse due to their linkage with mood-elevation and instant energy. This is what makes them so dangerous. If you or someone you know might be stimulants abuse, then it is important to get help immediately as it can be fatal.

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Different Types of Stimulants

Certain kinds of stimulants have different functions and uses, along with side effects of overuse. Let us take a look at some of the most abused stimulants to understand them better.

stimulants abuse


Amphetamines are one of the major stimulant drugs which target the central nervous system. These drugs increase the activity and availability of neurotransmitter norepinephrine in the brain by interfering with its breakdown by the nerve cells. Some of these amphetamines are prescribed to treat ADD or Narcolepsy. Years ago, they were used to overcome obesity and fatigue due to its suppression of appetite. In the 1930s, its use was seen to treat obsessive-compulsive disorder and Schizophrenia. Overuse can trigger high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, blurred vision, nose bleed, acne, mood swings, and obsessive behavior, amongst others. Psychosis has also been observed in rare scenarios. In the case of minors, amphetamine used to treat ADD can slow growth in children, but a growth rebound takes place once the use of the drug is stopped. The most commonly used Amphetamines are Dexedrine, Benzedrine, Methedrine, etc.

Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Cocaine has natural origins from the coca plant and is highly addictive. It is one of the quickest reacting stimulants and has euphoric and addictive properties. It enters the bloodstream, reaches the brain quickly, and is transported to different tissues all over the body. It was initially created for therapeutic treatment from psychological disorders. Currently, the use and sale of Cocaine are illegal in most parts of the world. ‘Crack’ is a derivation of Cocaine, when it is cut and boiled with baking soda. It has no standard ingredient used for cutting it, which makes it more dangerous. It is smoked or injected rather than snorted. The chances of overuse are increased any time a drug is injected. Dirty needles and improper injecting can also expose a person to other serious diseases like HIV. Crack is not only stronger and more addictive than regular Cocaine; it is also cheaper to acquire.

Adderall and Ritalin

The drug Ritalin is called methylphenidate hydrochloride and is amongst the medications related to Amphetamines but is somewhat in the milder category. It is a prescription stimulant and is used to slow hyperactive children down while improving their concentration. Adderall, on the other hand, is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Overuse can cause paranoia and psychosis. Trying to get rid of the stimulants abuse can cause people to feel substantial fatigue, which may cause them to use it again. These drugs work by controlling the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain; these chemicals decide how well you may concentrate. The effect of Ritalin can last for 6 to 12 hours, while that of Adderall may last for 10 to 12 hours. The function of both drugs is the same. However, Ritalin works faster and reaches peak performance quicker than Adderall.


MDMA or Ecstasy is mostly used as recreational drugs as they are prescribed very rarely. They cause euphoria and are known to increase the feelings of empathy and passion. This may lead to risky situations. Another great risk of Ecstasy is dehydration. As a lot of stimulants do, Ecstasy leads to dehydration, which you do not realize at the moment because you do not respond to bodily needs in the same way. Dehydration, while being high, can come quickly and be fatal. As for its recreational use, Ecstasy was used by psychotherapists in the hope that it will open people up and enhance their understanding of one another. If Ecstasy is paired with vigorous body activity, it can lead to hyperthermia, a state of increased body temperature. It comes in the form of tablets, often with an imprint on it. Its effect can last for weeks.

Upon the withdrawal or on discontinuing the use of a stimulants abuse, the addict may go through certain painful procedures that may include episodes of rage and irritability, fatigue, nausea, etc. The strictness of the treatment depends on the level and duration of addiction. Due to these reasons, drug stimulants abuse treatments should only be carried out by trained and professional individuals in a regulated and secure facility. If you or someone you know is going through drug addiction, it is very important to get help soon. Visit a rehabilitation treatment center as soon as you can. Put an end to your drug addiction and pave the way to a healthier lifestyle.


Valerie Tecci, Program Director

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