Stimulants are used for a wide range of disorders and conditions in the world today. Among these, stimulant use is most common. Stimulants is a broad term that covers several substances including those that increase the activity of the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system, those that are electrifying and pleasurable, or those which have stimulomimetic properties. These substances are not addictive but can become habit forming over time. Many stimulants can be found in foods or beverages as well as some forms of prescription medication. Though some stimulants, such as Ritalin, have been used for years with very successful results, other stimulants have not; the ones that do not include abuse potential and are thus relatively safer.
Stimulants are used primarily to treat attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety, epilepsy, diabetes, high blood pressure, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, and hyperactivity. Although stimulants are not usually abused, there are many deaths from their use. As regards the abuse potential, they are often used by teens to try to become popular or popularized. Teenagers frequently attempt to self medicate addiction with the use of illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine. In some cases, stimulants are used to elevate moods so as to try to overcome depression.
Stimulants work by affecting the neurotransmitters that control alertness, metabolism and arousal. They affect the levels of dopamine in the brain, which are involved in cognitive and physical aspects of alertness, mood and appetite. Although it is unlikely that stimulants will ever be legalized or approved for prescription use, they remain highly popular due to their ability to bring about a quick high and as such they continue to be widely used across many countries.
While stimulants affect dopamine levels in the brain, the way they work is by increasing the amount of dopamine in synapses, or connectors between neurons. They also reduce the level of dopamine in non-neocortical areas, which include parts of the brain that do not affect awareness, movement, cognition or behavior. As a result, prolonged use can result in various negative side effects including weight gain, insomnia, nausea, irritability, loss of libido, lack of concentration and depression. Long term exposure can also result in developing depression and anxiety disorders as well as cognitive impairment and memory loss. Long term users of stimulants are at a higher risk of developing substance abuse and substance dependence, which can be life threatening.
In spite of this danger, stimulant drugs are highly addictive and highly profitable. They are also highly available on the black market in street drugs, powders and capsules. Because they can bring about physical dependency as well as psychological alertness, users must be carefully monitored and must adhere to specific programs to reduce their drug use. Many times, they are required to change their lifestyle completely and go through detoxification programs in rehabilitation centers.
Because of their addictive properties, stimulants are closely associated with the sale of illegal substances such as cocaine and meth. The high rate of relapse and death from prescription stimulants is indicative of the dangers of street drugs. Even more concerning is the discovery of new forms of prescription stimulants, most notably meth and ecstasy. Research has also shown that the abuse of cocaine, particularly for recreational use, has resulted in an increase in the cases of HIV and hepatitis C. meth and ecstasy are highly effective in causing severe respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses, including deaths. Unfortunately, it is difficult to define the extent of the health consequences related to the use of prescription stimulants because they often produce symptoms similar to those caused by other drugs such as cocaine.
Because stimulants can cross the blood-brain barrier, they are capable of inducing psychological and physical changes that occur in the brain. This is one of the primary symptoms of stimulant abuse or addiction. Other symptoms include tremors, hyperactivity, paranoia, anxiety, depression, agitation, restlessness, irritability, and pupil contraction. When a person is addicted to stimulants, they must endure a number of serious health disorders that can ultimately lead to death if not treated. These include heart failure, respiratory arrest, seizures, coma, and possible death. Because the addiction to stimulants is so deadly, it is imperative that anyone who is suspected of having engaged in stimulant abuse or addiction be tested for illicit substances and treated accordingly.
Ritalin, Adderall, and other prescription stimulants have been linked to increasing rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. All of these ailments are associated with increased risk of heart disease. Stimulants should be avoided if you are taking medications for chronic diseases such as diabetes or high blood pressure. There is also a strong chance that if you are abusing prescription stimulants that you may be suffering from substance withdrawal symptoms that can be detrimental to your health. Many people who are struggling with alcoholism, depression, and/or drug addiction do not realize that they are suffering from the potentially fatal effects of stimulants. In addition to proper treatment for substance abuse, an individual should be tested for illicit drugs such as amphetamines because the abuse to them is very similar to the abuse to prescription stimulants.