Stimulant Addiction Warning Signs & Dangers

The Landing provides stimulant treatment for men rooted in a science-based, research-supported clinical model to ensure a healthier, more satisfying life.

Understanding Stimulants

Learn about stimulants and substance abuse

Stimulants, which are a category of substances that include cocaine, methamphetamines, and amphetamines, are Schedule II substances, as classified by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), as they hold high potential to be abused.

Stimulants such as prescription amphetamines (e.g. Adderall and Ritalin) can be highly beneficial in improving the quality of life for those who suffer from attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. These medications help increase an individual’s ability to maintain their attention and place their focus on the tasks they are presented with. When those who do not have ADHD consume these substances, they can benefit from a sharpened mental acuity, increase in alertness, boost in energy, and a stronger attention span. Cocaine and methamphetamines, which are illicit stimulants, also produce similar effects, as well as a greater sense of self-confidence and extreme euphoria. Stimulants are also known to curb one’s appetite, which is highly appealing to those who desire to lose weight.

When individuals abuse any form of stimulant to the point where it begins to impact their functionality, it is likely that a stimulant use disorder has been developed. As soon as this addiction has been established, it can be tremendously complex to defeat it without the help of professionals. Luckily, there are treatment options available for stimulant abuse.

Statistics

Stimulant addiction statistics

Sadly, stimulant abuse is something that impacts numerous individuals throughout the country. Methamphetamines are said to be abused by roughly 1.2 million people, and, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, cocaine abuse impacts approximately 3.6 million people. Regarding amphetamines, roughly 13 million people are believed to abuse these substances.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes and risk factors for stimulant addiction

The possible causes and risk factors linked to the development of stimulant abuse and addiction can include:

Environmental: The environment in which one lives can play a significant role in enhancing his or her likelihood of abusing substances such as stimulants and developing stimulant use disorder. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), being exposed to cocaine prenatally or having parents who abuse it during one’s childhood can impact his chances of abusing this very substance at some point in his life. In addition, being exposed to violence in the community or to the abuse of other forms of substances can also affect how an individual views such things, while also affecting his likelihood of abusing stimulants.

Risk Factors:

  • Abusing other types of substances
  • Being impulsive or possessing other similar personality traits
  • Being exposed to violence during childhood
  • Growing up in an unstable home environment
  • Having a diagnosis of conduct disorder in childhood
  • Suffering from other mental health conditions, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality disorder

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of stimulant addiction

When individuals abuse stimulants, the signs and symptoms that they will display will vary based on a variety of factors. Some of these factors can include the specific type of stimulant that is being abused, the length of time it has been abused for, and the frequency that is it being consumed. Some of the many symptoms of stimulant abuse can include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • No longer fulfilling obligations at work or in the home
  • Hypervigilance
  • Engaging in dangerous activities in order to obtain one’s stimulant of choice
  • Repetitive movements
  • No longer participating in activities that were enjoyed
  • Changes in social interactions

Physical symptoms:

  • Perspiration or chills
  • Noticeable weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Chest pain
  • Vomiting
  • Lowered or elevated blood pressure
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Nausea

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Impaired judgment
  • Experiencing intense cravings for stimulants

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Brief periods of euphoria
  • Psychological distress
  • Lack of emotional reactivity
  • Anger

Effects

Effects of stimulant addiction

When stimulant abuse remains a factor in an individual’s life, he becomes susceptible to experiencing a variety of negative repercussions. The certain effects that may develop will be based on the type of stimulant that is being abused, the way it is being consumed, the frequency of use, and the period of time that an individual has been using it for.

Abusing stimulants intravenously can put users at risk for going through the following dangerous physical effects:

  • Contracting hepatitis or HIV/AIDS
  • Becoming infected with tuberculosis
  • Lung infections
  • Puncture marks

Intranasal stimulant users can fall victim to experiencing the following negative health issues:

  • Nasal bleeding
  • Sinusitis
  • Nasal irritation
  • Punctured nasal septum

Stimulant abuse that is done through inhalation can make individuals more likely to develop the following effects:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Pneumonitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughing

Abusing stimulants in any way, shape, or form can put individuals at risk for the effects listed below:

  • Deteriorated relationships
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Job loss
  • Chest pains
  • Malnutrition
  • Significant weight loss

Co-Occurring Disorders

Stimulant addiction and co-occurring disorders

When individuals struggle with stimulant use disorder, they often battle other mental health illnesses at the same time. In addition, individuals are more likely to abuse other forms of substances, too. The APA states that the most common substances abused by individuals who abuse stimulants are sedatives, as they are helpful in evening out the uncomfortable effects of stimulants.

Below are some of the many mental health conditions that can co-occur simultaneously with stimulant use disorder:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Gambling disorder
  • Alcohol use disorder
  • Other substance use disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of stimulant withdrawal and overdose

Effects of stimulant withdrawal: When individuals stop their use of stimulants or attempt to control it, they are likely going to experience a number of painful withdrawal symptoms. Some of these symptoms can include the following:

  • Disturbed social interactions
  • Other types of functional impairment
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Vivid, unpleasant dreams
  • Fatigue
  • Psychomotor retardation
  • Impaired ability to perform occupationally
  • Increase in appetite
  • Dysphoric mood

Effects of stimulant overdose: Sadly, the risk for overdose is very real when individuals are stuck within a pattern of stimulant abuse. An overdose happens when individuals consume more of a substance than their bodies are able to handle. As the dosage that an individual consumes increases over time, or the frequency in which they are using becomes increased, so does the risk of overdose. If an overdose does occur, immediate medical attention should be obtained. Below are the many signs and symptoms connected to stimulant overdose:

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Chest pain
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Irregular breathing
  • Cramping
  • Hypertension
  • Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cramping
  • Feelings of panic

Take A Free Online Assessment:

I used to love being addicted to stimulants, until I saw how much of a detrimental effect it had on my personal life. When I was ready to get treatment, I got it at The Landing and achieved lasting sobriety.

– Anonymous Client
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