Stimulants can include both prescription medications or illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. These drugs are often taken orally, snorted or injected by the user.
Stimulants are drugs that increase the activity of the central nervous system (CNS). The level of the effects depends on the specific stimulant used. Some have relatively mild effects, while others have a severe impact. Generally, illegal “hard drugs” are very potent, while prescription drugs are less potent.
Stimulant drugs increase the user’s mental focus, alertness and sociability, as well as physical performance and endurance. It decreases feelings of fatigue and suppresses the need for sleep.
It may also spawn signs like sweating, pupil dilation, tremors and muscle twitches. Other symptoms include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, fast breathing, increased body temperature and dehydration.
Once the initial effects have worn off a user may experience extreme fatigue, lethargy, confusion and depression. This is commonly called a “crash” and often provokes the user to take a fresh dose of the stimulant.
Abuse of stimulants is common and can lead to substance use disorder, as well as a withdrawal syndrome.
Very high doses can cause nausea, arrhythmia, hypertension, hyperthermia, hallucinations, breathing problems, convulsions, unconsciousness, stroke, seizure or cardiac arrest.
Illegal stimulants include cocaine, ecstasy and meths (methamphetamine). In real life, these drugs can be cumbersome to obtain, or people may hesitate to use them because of the stigma and legal ramifications attached to them. As such, the average recreational user often starts off with prescription drugs.
Prescription drugs are legally prescribed by doctors and used for medical purposes. These substances are controlled because they can cause addiction and negative consequences if abused. Some patients inadvertently become addicted to them, but it is often abused on purpose. When abusers can not obtain legal prescriptions, they obtain it fraudulently or illegally, using a host of devious methods.
Depending on the type of drug and usage pattern, medical detoxification and treatment of diseases and injuries may be required, followed by psychological rehabilitation to identify and heal the underlying disorder that initiated the substance use disorder.