Signs & Symptoms of Stimulants Addiction

Understanding Stimulants Addiction

Learn About Stimulants Addiction & Abuse

Stimulants cause those who consume them to experience increased focus, heightened energy, and a boost in their mood. Legal stimulants, such as Adderall and Ritalin, are highly beneficial in helping those who are suffering from symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as these medications can reduce one’s strife. Caffeine, another type of stimulant, can increase one’s alertness if consumed at the beginning of one’s day. Conversely, illicit stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine can cause those who use them to experience a high that can bring on similar effects, though the potential for addiction becomes increasingly dangerous.

When consumed continually, the abuse of these forms of substances can make an individual grow vulnerable to experiencing a handful of negative outcomes. If an individual finds that he or she is unable to cease his or her use of these drugs without the help of others, it could signal that this individual has grown chemically dependent on them and must obtain professional help to break free from stimulant addiction. When this is the situation, it is imperative for an individual to consider receiving effective treatment so that the stimulant abuse itself can be stopped and a happier, healthier life can be achieved.


Stimulants Abuse Statistics

Research shows that many people abuse and become addicted to stimulants. Within America, cocaine is reportedly the second most abused illicit substance. In fact, through research, it was determined that cocaine was abused by roughly two million people within the past month alone. Regarding legal stimulants, such as those used to treat ADHD, approximately three million individuals report abusing these substances each year.

Nearly fifteen million people throughout the United States have admitted to abusing methamphetamine and other forms of amphetamines within the last month. These startling numbers, sadly, cause the number of emergency room visits related to stimulant abuse to increase each year, and are evidence of a strong need for appropriate and effective care.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Stimulants Abuse

In order to truly understand why an individual might start abusing stimulants, one must take into consideration the research that has been conducted on the subject. The causes and risk factors for stimulant abuse, listed below, are some of the findings that have been supported by mental health and addiction specialists:

Genetic: A significant amount of research supports that substance abuse, addiction, and chemical dependency are heritable conditions. This means that if an individual has a first-degree relative who battled a substance abuse problem, he or she is likely to suffer from the same challenge. In addition, specific clusters of genes (which are also inherited) are believed to increase an individual’s chances of abusing substances such as stimulants.

Environmental: Experts believe that an individual’s surroundings and previous experiences can increase his or her vulnerability for developing a problem with stimulants. For instance, if an individual is exposed to substance abuse, such as stimulant abuse, he or she is more likely to partake in similar behaviors. In addition, if an individual is exposed to continued stress, lives within an impoverished area, or keeps company with those who abuse substances, he or she has a stronger likelihood of abusing substances, too.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of mental illness, namely ADHD
  • Being able to easily acquire stimulants
  • Personal history of past substance abuse
  • Having underdeveloped coping skills
  • Family history of substance abuse, addiction, or chemical dependency
  • Family history of mental health conditions
  • Gender (males are more likely to engage in the abuse of stimulants)

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Stimulants Abuse

Given the fact that there are many different stimulants out there, the signs and symptoms of stimulant abuse can vary. If you are worried that a loved one is struggling with this type of substance abuse problem, it can be helpful to take note of the following symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Stealing
  • Taking other people’s ADHD medications
  • Aggressive behaviors
  • Lying
  • Prior unsuccessful attempts to discontinue or decrease one’s use of stimulants
  • Rapid speech
  • Displaying increased energy
  • Teeth-grinding
  • Using stimulants in situations in which use could be hazardous
  • Continuing to abuse stimulants despite negative repercussions

Physical symptoms:

  • Withdrawal in the absence of a stimulant
  • Dry mouth
  • Rapid breathing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tolerance for increased amounts of a stimulant

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Cravings for more stimulants
  • Heightened focus
  • Increased concentration
  • Poor impulse control
  • Lack of good decision-making

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Paranoia

Lasting Effects

Effects of Stimulants Abuse

The effects of stimulant abuse can be dangerous to both an individual’s physical health and his or her overall livelihood and wellbeing. The following effects are some of those that are known to occur if an individual remains addicted to stimulants and does not obtain professional treatment:

  • Disorientation
  • Depression
  • Family discord
  • Social isolation
  • Job loss
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Kidney damage
  • Legal problems
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Liver damage
  • Suicidal ideation
  • High blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Financial problems

Co-Occurring Disorders

Stimulants Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

It is very common for those who abuse stimulants to also battle with other mental health conditions simultaneously. The disorders below are some of those that are known to co-occur in the lives of women and men who abuse stimulants:

  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depressive disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Stimulants Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of stimulant withdrawal: The longer that an individual abuses a stimulant, the more likely he or she will be to develop a tolerance, and possibly a dependence, on his or her stimulant of choice. When this happens, that individual might experience a process of withdrawal if he or she is not able to use or ceases use. The following effects are some examples of what might occur during stimulant withdrawal:

  • Paranoia
  • Exhaustion
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Generalized aches and pain
  • Anxiety
  • Hypersomnia
  • Strong cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Nightmares

Effects of stimulant overdose: If an individual abuses one or more stimulants, his or her body is likely to respond negatively. If a person shows any of the effects listed below, he or she might be suffering an overdose, which requires immediate medical attention:

  • Stroke
  • Irregular breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tremors
  • Increased body temperature
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures
  • Coma
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I started buying Adderall and other study drugs off friends to help me get through late nights studying for class. I couldn't focus without them. I talked to my parents and they decided to admit me to Serenity Knolls over the summer so that I could stop relying on drugs to succeed. Now I'm back in school and have been on top of my grades!

– Tyler S.