Stimulants: Symptoms and Signs of Addiction

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What are the Signs of Stimulant Abuse?

Stimulant drugs speed up the body’s central nervous system and may be prescribed to increase the mind’s ability to stay focused. Those experiencing narcolepsy can also help with staying awake during the day and establishing normal sleep patterns.

These drugs produce feelings of clear-headedness, which comfort the struggle to focus, cope with lethargy, or those who live with ADHD. However, these drugs may also be abused for the perceived “rush” they can provide, which may include:

  • Increased respiration
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Higher blood sugar
  • Heightened focus

Recent studies indicate that 7% of individuals 18 to 49 years of age abuse ADHD medications for recreational purposes. And abuse does not just mean buying drugs illegally. It can include taking too much of a legally prescribed drug, taking someone else’s medication, or mixing drugs, like taking a prescribed stimulant with alcohol.

This abuse is partly because stimulants also interact with dopamine, one of the chemicals the body uses in its “reward” response. The body comes to associate a feeling of reward and pleasure with stimulant usage. And like many substances that alter brain chemistry and central nervous system functioning, stimulant drugs can also be highly addictive. It’s important to recognize the signs of stimulant abuse.

The body may begin to feel dependent on stimulant drugs, requiring larger doses to achieve the same positive feelings they once experienced. But as difficult as it can be to break free from stimulant addiction, it can be done. And with the help of the team at Resurgence Behavioral Health, you can reclaim your life from stimulant abuse.

Effects of Stimulant Addiction

The effect and severity of the addiction and withdrawal depend on the type of stimulant used, the duration of use, and the amount used. For example, there are many types of stimulants that cause addiction, each with different side effects and potential dangers. Commonly abused stimulants include:

  • Methamphetamine – this can include drugs like crystal meth, as well as prescriptions like Desoxyn, which can treat obesity and ADHD
  • Khat – an illegal stimulant made from the leaves of an African evergreen shrub
  • Cocaine – this include crack cocaine
  • Amphetamines – this includes prescription drugs used to treat ADHD, such as Adderall

The withdrawal process from cocaine, including crack cocaine, is considered to be among the most difficult due to the physical and psychological effects. These effects can include extreme experiences of depression and suicidal ideation.

Learn More About Stimulants Rehab

Much the same is true for the use of crystal meth, which can result in a fatal overdose, even after one use. However, while withdrawal and addiction experiences with stimulants can vary, some common symptoms characterize most stimulant withdrawal. These include:

  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depression, which may be extreme
  • Potential for self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Fatigue
  • Anger
  • Constipation
  • Violent behavior
  • Tremors
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches

Furthermore, these withdrawal symptoms do not only occur with illicit or “hard” drugs. Prescribed stimulants, such as Adderall, can cause these same withdrawal effects, and they can even appear as a result of normal usage. This is why knowing and recognizing the signs of stimulant abuse is so important.

Mental Illness and Stimulant Addiction

Individuals who have prescribed stimulants for ADHD are predisposed to racing thoughts, trouble sleeping, and challenges that may increase the likelihood of addiction. Those who use illicit stimulants, such as cocaine, do so to self-medicate due to anxiety, PTSD, and mental health concerns.

Most who use stimulants, prescribed or otherwise, are likely suffering from co-current depression and anxiety, also other risk factors for substance abuse. This relationship between mental illness and substance abuse often becomes a cycle. Individuals using substances to manage mental health issues often experience a worsening of those issues.

The consequences of attempting to manage this addictive cycle alone can result in relapse or overdose. Instead, medical treatment and recovery services should be sought immediately. The treatment of individuals who are coping with stimulant abuse will likely include treatment of physical addiction, including detoxification. Treatment will also include developing strategies to manage underlying mental health issues that can lead to relapse or self-harm.

Treatment and Stimulant Addiction

The dangers of stimulants like crack may be widely understood, but it is easy to assume that prescription stimulants are “safer.” Prescription stimulants being safer, however, is not true. The intensity of stimulant withdrawal can be as agonizing for those addicted to legal stimulants as for those struggling with illicit drugs.

Medical detoxification is one of the safest and most effective ways to purge stimulant drugs from the system. And this step will need to be undertaken to move forward with recovery. Detox will take place under the supervision of clinical experts to guarantee medical care in case of a serious withdrawal issue.

Medical staff and treatment counselors can assist with the depression that follows withdrawal, and you may be prescribed Buspirone. Buspirone is an anti-anxiety medication to help with restlessness in the aftermath of detoxification. A stay of 90 days or more in a comprehensive treatment program that addresses the physical, psychological, and social aspects of addiction is recommended.

Staying in a residential program can help provide the freedom from stressors and peer pressure needed for recovery. Additionally, this type of treatment will provide group counseling, family counseling, one-to-one therapy, 12-step programs, and spiritual outreach. Other types of support can help sustain a lasting recovery.

Payment Information

Welcome to Resurgence Behavior Health, where you are a person and not a number. Resurgence offers flexible, personalized recovery and payment plans that reflect your unique situation, background, and needs.

And by accepting most PPO insurance and private forms of payment, we help eliminate the barriers to recovery. We communicate with your insurance provider on your behalf, taking some of the worries out of your recovery journey.

Call our friendly staff at 855-458-0050. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, you are not alone.

How to Get Help

You are not alone in your journey to recovery. Resurgence Behavioral Health is a safe, judgment-free environment in which you can relax, connect, and find freedom from addiction.

Our experienced team understands what you’re facing, and we are here to support you every step of the way. With locations in Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Fullerton Hills, and an Outpatient Campus, your recovery is closer than you think. And we can assist with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, one to one counseling, 12-step programs, family counseling, spiritual assistance, yoga, and more.

Our evidence-based programs can help you develop the coping strategies required to leave a life of addiction behind. We can also help build strategies to manage mental health issues, sleeplessness, and anxiety in the future. Call Resurgence today and experience your new beginning.