While stimulants are often prescribed for those with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD, and are very helpful for those individuals, they are often abused by others. This abuse can lead to addiction.
What Are Stimulants?
Stimulants are a class of drugs that heighten the body’s natural instincts and functions. The production of dopamine, the body’s happy chemical, is increased by stimulants, leading to an increase in a person’s energy levels and attention span. Stimulants are often called “uppers” because of this effect.
For persons with ADHD, stimulants help negate the negative effects of their disorder. They are safe and effective when they are taken as prescribed by a medical professional. When they are used to excess and by those who have not been prescribed them, however, they can be quite dangerous.
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What Are Stimulants Known As On the Street?
While the slang surrounding drugs on the street changes frequently, there are some names for stimulants that have stood the test of time. Common names for stimulants on the street include uppers, speed, hearts, lightning, Vitamin R (in regard to Ritalin, specifically), amped, smart drug, hearts, and black or blue mollies.
Who Uses Stimulants?
Stimulants are prescribed by doctors and mental health professionals to help those suffering from disorders like ADHD and, in some cases, anxiety or depression. But their use goes beyond those to whom they have been prescribed.
Non-prescribed stimulant use is rampant among high school and college students. Many see it as a “study aid” and use it to get through tough exams and to stay awake for all-night study sessions. While students believe that these stimulants can increase their performance in academic settings, the opposite can be true. Adderall is one of the most commonly abused prescription students, primarily by students and young adults who use it as a party drug, allowing them to stay awake for extended periods of time.
What Are Some Common Prescription Stimulants?
Adderall and Ritalin are the most commonly-prescribed prescription stimulants. Both are available in an extended-release form that contains pharmaceutical safeguards to prevent their full dosages from being released immediately, known respectively as Concerta and Adderall XR. Vyvanse is another extended-release prescription stimulant often prescribed to those suffering from ADHD or other mental disorders.
Adderall falls into the category of prescription amphetamines, along with ProCentra, Benzedrine, Dexedrine, and Dextrostat. Ritalin belongs to the drug family include methylphenidate, which also includes Concerta, Methylin, and Daytrana.
Ephedrine is also prescribed. Brand names for ephedrine-containing prescription stimulants include Fiorinal, Norgesic, Fioricet, Migergot, and Cafergot.
What Are the Symptoms of Stimulant Use?
There are positive effects of stimulants on those who have prescribed them for legitimate use, but many negative effects for those who abuse them. While they do usually show somewhat positive effects like euphoria and heightened concentration or confidence, they can just as easily cause negative effects like aggression, irritability, and even panic.
In addition to these mood effects, the physical effects of stimulant use include decreased appetite, shakiness, increased sensitivity to being touched, difficulty getting to sleep or insomnia, and anxiety or depression.
Are There Risks to Using Stimulants?
While the risk of addiction or dependency is there for anyone using stimulants, the risk to those abusing them is more severe. Stimulants lead to an increase in heartbeat and can cause or worsen an irregular heartbeat. In some cases, they can cause seizures, which can lead to permanent long-term deficits. These effects are even more dangerous for those who are suffering from high blood pressure, cardiac disease, or psychiatric conditions.
In younger users, use of stimulants can have an effect on their physical growth, stunting them. More minor effects include headache, dizziness, and increased body temperature.
How Can One Get Help With Stimulant Addiction?
As with any addiction, professional help is recommended for stimulant addiction. A drug abuse treatment facility should be utilized, which can help the addict to work through the root causes of their addiction, as well as guide them through getting and remaining sober. A combination of group and individual therapies, along with medical intervention where necessary, leads to a great chance of success with addiction rehabilitation.