Ever since Adderall was made available as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 1996, the use of stimulants has been on the rise. What many stimulant users are looking for is an immediate reaction to enhance their alertness, attention, and energy. After experiencing this heightened awareness, users often want more of the drug. But many people do not know what kind of short-term and long-term effects stimulants have on their bodies.
What are Stimulants?
Stimulants are substances that temporarily increase the functional activity of your body’s nervous system. Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall are medications commonly used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. Illegal stimulants include drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and ecstasy. Several legal, non-prescription stimulants also exist. Two of the most common substances in this category are nicotine and caffeine.
When stimulants are taken, your brain experiences an increase in dopamine levels, which can result in feelings of pleasure as this neurotransmitter helps boost your mood and enhance your concentration. This feel-good effect can be highly addictive. It often perpetuates the continued use of stimulants and exposes your body to a variety of serious health risks.
Short-Term Health Effects of Stimulants
Even the short-term usage of stimulants can have adverse effects on your health. Many users experience a loss of appetite, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure and body temperature, interrupted sleep patterns, panic, hallucinations, and irritability.
Taking high dosages of stimulants can result in convulsions, seizures, and possibly even death.
Long-Term Health Effects of Stimulants
With prolonged stimulant use, your tolerance to the drug builds up. When this happens, your body requires higher dosages in order to experience the same sensations it once felt. It’s a dangerous cycle that leads to addiction faster than users realize.
Long-term health effects of using stimulants can range from increased blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and nutritional deficiencies to asthma, chronic insomnia, impotence, seizures, heart failure, and more.
Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse
As with any prescription drug, the intended use of stimulants can give way to abuse and dependency. Figuring out when someone has crossed the line from proper stimulant use into addiction can be difficult. Here are some common warning signs and symptoms that may indicate stimulant abuse:
- Intense drug or food cravings
- Financial trouble
- Reduced appetite
Abusing stimulant drugs poses serious health risks. If you or someone you love is struggling with stimulant drug addiction, professional inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment can help. Please call us anytime to speak with someone about which treatment options could be right for you.