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Learn About Stimulant Overdose Symptoms

Stimulant overdose symptoms can be a reality for people who abuse this type of drug.

As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, stimulants are a class of prescription drugs used primarily to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and a sleep disorder called narcolepsy.

These drugs, as their name might suggest, stimulate the central nervous system and therefore increase alertness, improve attentiveness, and elevate energy levels.

While there is a legitimate medical use for stimulant drugs, some people may abuse them in order to get high or to improve their performance at work on or challenging academic tasks.

People may abuse stimulants by crushing them up and snorting them, or they may dissolve them in water and inject them into the veins.

Some people engage in stimulant abuse by simply taking them by mouth as intended.

Abusing stimulant drugs in any way increases the risk that someone will suffer from stimulant overdose symptoms.

What Are Stimulant Overdose Symptoms?

Stimulant drugs increase activity of two brain chemicals called norepinephrine and dopamine; unfortunately, a rise in norepinephrine can cause stimulant overdose symptoms, because this chemical has an effect on blood vessels, blood sugar, heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure. More specifically, stimulants can speed up the heart rate and increase blood pressure, in addition to decreasing blood flow and increasing blood sugar levels.

When a person takes too large of a dose of stimulants and suffers from stimulant overdose symptoms, they may experience the following negative side effects: tremors, restless behavior, overactive reflexes, fast breathing, aggressive behavior, panic, confusion, hallucinations, fever, weakness, and muscle pain. In some cases, stimulant overdose symptoms can be severe and even fatal, as overdose can result in heart attack, seizures, abnormal blood pressure levels, circulation failure, convulsions, coma, and poisoning. Some people may experience gastrointestinal side effects, such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea because of stimulant overdose symptoms.

Prevention And Treatment Of Stimulant Overdose Symptoms

Stimulant overdose is not as likely when people take these medications exactly as a doctor prescribes them; however, misusing prescription stimulants is associated with stimulant overdose symptoms. Stimulant abuse occurs when people take larger doses of stimulants than a doctor prescribes, take stimulants that belong to someone else, or purchase stimulants illegally off the streets.

To prevent stimulant overdose symptoms, it is critical that you take these drugs only under the care of a doctor, and take the exact dose a doctor has prescribed for you. If you or a loved one is abusing prescription stimulants and demonstrates stimulant overdose symptoms, it is important to seek emergency medical treatment, by calling 9-11 or immediately reporting to the nearest emergency room.

Stimulant overdose symptoms can lead to a heart attack or seizures, which require medications and/or medical procedures to restore blood flow or stop the seizures. Failing to seek treatment for stimulant overdose symptoms can lead to a fatal overdose.

Risks Beyond Stimulant Overdose Symptoms

While the risk of overdose is certainly a concern associated with stimulant abuse, stimulant overdose symptoms are not the only consequences associated with these drugs. For example, research shows that people who abuse stimulants are likely to become underweight, because stimulants influence the hormones that regulate appetite.

These drugs can also lead to a nutritionally deficient diet, ultimately resulting in malnutrition and weight loss. Long-term stimulant abuse can also lead to problems like anger, paranoia, and psychosis and increase a person’s risk of HIV from needle-sharing if stimulants are injected.

Are Stimulants Addictive?

Those seeking information about stimulant overdose symptoms are likely also wondering if stimulants are addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, misusing stimulant drugs can lead to a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for a drug addiction. A substance use disorder can develop with stimulants, because these drugs increase the levels of a brain chemical called dopamine, which creates feelings of pleasure and makes a person want to use stimulants over and over to achieve the same pleasant feelings. With repeated stimulant abuse, a person may begin to lose control over drug use and continue to use stimulants, despite negative consequences, such as health problems, relationship conflict, or difficulty fulfilling duties at work or home.

Another risk associated with stimulant abuse, beyond stimulant overdose symptoms, is the experience of stimulant withdrawal. Because stimulants are potentially addictive, the body can adapt to their presence and rely upon them in order to function properly. This means that when a person stops using stimulants, they will experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, including fatigue, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Stimulant Addiction Treatment

Since stimulant abuse can lead to addiction and withdrawal, in addition to the risk of stimulant overdose symptoms, it is important to seek treatment to stop the negative effects that stimulant abuse has on your health and functioning. The addictive nature of these drugs, combined with the fact that withdrawal is likely when a person stops using, can make it difficult to give up stimulants without professional help. A detox program may be necessary to help a person manage acute stimulant withdrawal symptoms, but after detox, it is important to participate in an ongoing rehab program to address the issues underlying stimulant addiction, since detox is only the first step in the recovery process.

Ultimately, the best treatment for stimulant addiction will depend on a person’s unique needs, but one important component of treatment that works is that it must last for a sufficient length of time. Experts recommend treatment programs that last at least three months, but even larger durations of treatment can lead to the best results. Once in treatment, a person recovering from stimulant addiction will likely participate in both individual and group counseling, as well as educational and relapse prevention programming. Specific strategies like cognitive behavioral therapy can help people to cope with triggers and stress without turning to drugs, whereas contingency management programming provides rewards and motivates people to remain drug-free. Other strategies may also be effective, depending upon each person’s situation.

Stimulant Addiction And Mental Illness

When seeking treatment for stimulant addiction, you may also need to consider your mental health. Stimulant withdrawal is associated with depression, and ongoing stimulant abuse can lead to various psychiatric symptoms, like paranoid behavior and aggression. Research also shows that mental health problems are common among people who are addicted to stimulants. If you have both a stimulant addiction and a co-occurring mental health condition, you will need to ensure that your treatment provider is a dual diagnosis rehab, meaning they can treat both addiction and mental illness. If you only receive treatment for stimulant addiction but do not address underlying mental illness, you may return to abusing stimulants in order to cope with mental health symptoms.

California Stimulant Addiction Treatment

If you have been struggling with stimulant overdose symptoms and other negative consequences of stimulant abuse and are seeking treatment, Resurgence California is located in Orange County, and we offer drug detox as well as outpatient and inpatient drug rehab.

We are a leading dual diagnosis rehab, so we can offer stimulant addiction treatment and treat co-occurring mental health conditions.

If you choose us for inpatient drug rehab, you will receive treatment in a homelike setting with easy access to California’s majestic beaches, waterfalls, and piers.

You may be concerned about covering the costs of treatment, but at Resurgence California, we make the process easier by offering a free, confidential insurance verification program.

Simply call us or fill out a form on our website with your insurance information, and a member of our team will tell you what services you plan covers and how much you can expect to pay out of pocket for treatment.

We accept most PPO insurance providers, and we can accept cash payment plans.

Contact us today to learn why we are the premier dual diagnosis rehab.

Sources:

1) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants
2) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33188822/
3) https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/principles-effective-treatment
4) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64323/

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