Stimulant Drug Dependency

Stimulants are a class of drugs that enhance brain activity, causing an increase in alertness, attention, and energy. Due to their energizing qualities, they are often referred to as “uppers”. Stimulants are used as pharmaceuticals to treat a wide variety of ailments including depression, ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. A wide variety of street drugs classified as stimulants have been abused by people for thousands of years. Rehab centers have been challenged to deal with an increasing number of stimulant addicts with the recent popularity of cocaine and methamphetamine.

Examples of stimulants:

  • Cocaine: A white, crystalline powder which acts as a power central nervous system stimulant.
  • Caffeine: Both legal and unregulated in almost all countries of the world, caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive drug on the planet.
  • Methamphetamine: A powerful central nervous system stimulant with a high potential for abuse. Success in meth rehab attempts are typically lower than most other drugs.
  • Nicotine: The main psychoactive drug in tobacco, nicotine is highly addictive and can be one of the most difficult addictions to break.
  • MDMA (“Ecstasy”): A psychoactive drug of the amphetamine class, MDMA has been tested for its therapeutic effects, but is also widely abused (despite being criminalized in most countries).
  • Amphetamine (Adderall, Ritalin…etc.): A central nervous system stimulant often used as a prescription medication to treat ADD/ADHD.

Stimulants can carry a high potential for abuse, especially those which affect the central nervous system and rehab may be necessary if a user become addicted to the drug. There are a wide variety of drugs which fall under the stimulant class and some have drastically different effects on the body. When considering stimulant rehab it is important to consider what specific stimulant you are a loved one is abusing. Many people across the world are dependent on legal stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine. If abuse becomes a problem it is typically not necessary for the user to enter a formal treatment program. However, if a person is dependent on methamphetamine, it is likely that the only hope for beating the addiction will be to consult a professional rehab center.

Some prescription stimulants can cause dependence. When prescribing stimulants as medication, doctors must be sure to issue an appropriate dose and be sure the patient will not start abusing the drug. Prescription ADD medications like Ritalin and Adderall are commonly abused, especially by young people trying to get an advantage studying for college. A doctor must be very careful to only prescribe ADD medications those who need it. Many see the high demand for Ritalin and Adderall as an opportunity to make money by selling their medication to their peers.

When a person becomes addicted to a powerful central nervous system stimulant like methamphetamine or cocaine, it is important for them to seek a rehab facility immediately. These drugs have very dangerous side effects and can be extremely difficult to overcome and addiction. In the case of meth addiction, it is extremely important for a patient to follow a strict rehab program for several months to ensure they do not relapse.

Treating Stimulant Addiction

Stimulants are a class of psychoactive drugs which act to improve mental and physical function. Stimulants are often used in a medical setting for the treatment of ADHD, obesity, and narcolepsy, but they are often abused for recreational purposes. When abused, some stimulants have a high potential for addiction. An addict may have a hard time quitting the drug and might consider entering rehab or a substance abuse treatment program.

When deciding how to handle a stimulant addiction it is important to take into account which stimulant you are abusing.

Caffeine – A central nervous system stimulant, caffeine is the most widely used stimulant in the world to reduce physical fatigue. It is legal to consume across the world. Heavy caffeine use can lead to dependency. Conditions associated with caffeine dependency include nervousness, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, headaches, and heart palpitations. Withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening and only typically last from two to nine days. It is not usually necessary to seek a professional rehab program to treat a caffeine addiction.

Nicotine – The main ingredient in cigarettes and chewing tobacco, nicotine is used across the world as one of the most popular legal stimulants. Nicotine is very addictive and extremely hard to stop using once the body is dependent on the drug. The American Heart Association said that nicotine addiction is one of the hardest addictions to break. Many personal attempts to quit smoking end up failing. There are several smoking rehab products that are offered both over the counter and in prescription form.

Cocaine – Cocaine is a psychoactive stimulant which acts on the central nervous system. It is widely abused across the world and has a very high potential for addiction. It is illegal to distribute, grow, or possess cocaine for non-medicinal purposes in almost all countries. Cocaine causes a short burst of euphoria which lasts for 30 minutes to an hour. Occasional cocaine use does not typically lead to addiction, but chronic use can cause a powerful physical and psychological dependence. Cocaine rehab can be a difficult task and a serious user will likely need to enter a professional treatment program.

Methamphetamine – Meth is a synthetic stimulant of the amphetamine class of drugs. It has an extremely high potential for addiction. It acts on the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing and intense euphoric rush. Meth is relatively simple to manufacture at home, which has contributed to its widespread abuse across the world. After a person becomes physically and psychologically dependent on meth, it is very difficult to rehab successfully. The long lasting cognitive effects caused by meth make treatment especially difficult. The “amphetamine psychosis” associated with heavy meth use has similar effects on the brain as schizophrenia and can last for up to a year after the drug has been used. Most experts suggest meth addicts choose treatment programs that last from several months to a year. Treatment should also include an extensive outpatient program to ensure the patient doesn’t relapse.

Detoxification of Stimulants

Stimulants refer to a class of substances which raise the levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body. Stimulants carry a high potential for abuse and detox can be a long, difficult process. Stimulants help enhance brain activity by changing the way brain neurons communicate. With extended use, stimulants can fundamentally change the way your brain’s neurons work, causing long lasting side effects. Some popular stimulants used worldwide include methamphetamine, cocaine, nicotine, caffeine, and MDMA.

Withdrawals from stimulant detox can have several negative effects on the body. With most stimulants, the withdrawal effects are not life threatening and do not necessarily need to be performed in a professional environment. With the more potent stimulants, professional rehab is recommended due to the intense psychological effects caused by stimulant detox. These negative psychological effects like depression, psychosis, and mood swings make abstaining from the drug especially difficult and relapse is common.

Withdrawal effects during stimulant detox include:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations and delusions

There a many horror stories about people becoming addicted to stimulants and being unable to identify the problem before the drug has taken control of their life. One such story involves former rap star Big Lurch of Compton, California. While under the influence of methamphetamine, Big Lurch stabbed his roommate (a woman with two children). He then proceeded to slice her chest open and cut out one of her lungs. When police arrived at the scene, Big Lurch was lying nude in the street, covered in blood. As they tried to apprehend him he screamed and fought back. It took four officers to handcuff him and get him into the patrol car. When the police investigated the scene, they found the lung Big Lurch’s coffee table with bites taken out of it. Big Lurch had chewed and actually swallowed pieces of his roommate’s lung. A stimulant detox program was successfully used once Big Lurch was apprehended and he is now spending life in prison for murder.

If someone you know is having problems abusing stimulants, a stimulant detox program may be necessary. When confronting the person, it is important to talk it over with other concerned family and friends to formulate a plan to confront them about it. There are also many non-profit organizations which serve as anonymous resources for help with drug addiction. While there are currently no medications approved for the treatment of stimulant addiction, stimulant detox centers provide professional experience and advice to those in need. Depending on the type of stimulant, a patient may need to spend up to a full year in a rehab facility. It is important for the patient to pay close attention to the detox regiment provided by the rehab facility. These people know how to beat the addiction and it is always best to heed their advice.



About Stimulant Drugs

Stimulants, or “uppers”, refer to several groups of drugs that act on neurotransmitters in the brain to elevate alertness, awareness, and increase physical activity or energy. The rush of energy caused by stimulants leads to a “crash” once the drug wears off. Some people choose to postpone the crash by using more stimulants. This is an example of stimulant abuse and can easily lead to addiction. Drugs categorized as stimulants include nicotine, caffeine, methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy).

Statistics on stimulant addiction:

  • The United States consumes about 85 percent of the world’s methyphenidate (brand name Ritalin)
  • Average per capita use of amphetamine across the United States was 1,060 grams per 100,000 people
  • A 1996 DEA study showed that in Wisconsin, South Carolina, and Indiana, roughly 30-50 percent of adolescents in drug treatment centers reported non-medical use of Ritalin
  • In 2003, 20.8 million Americans aged 12 or older had used prescription stimulants non-medically at least once in their lifetime
  • A National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) study reported that methamphetamine was the most widely used stimulant in the United States (5.2 percent of the population or 12.3 million persons)

Stimulants describe a wide range of drugs from caffeine to methamphetamine. Some stimulants are safe to use in small doses, while others should be avoided at all costs. In a medical setting, amphetamines have successfully been used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. When used in appropriate doses, even the most addictive stimulants have proven helpful. However, when abused, stimulant addiction can become have devastating side effects including heart failure, amphetamine psychosis, paranoid thoughts, sleep disorders, and depression.

There are many stimulants that are abused recreationally as street drugs. These include methamphetamine, cocaine, and MDMA (ecstasy). Stimulants can be addictive when abused to the point that the body becomes physically and psychologically dependent on the drug. This can happen very easily in stimulants like methamphetamine and cocaine. These drugs affect the central nervous system and can have an intense addictive hold on the user. Drugs like MDMA are less likely to lead to addiction, but still have the potential to do so.

Stimulants carry some very serious side effects, even if only used short term. While not common, in some cases death can result for an overdose of stimulants. Stimulant overdoses can lead to heart problems, stroke, and convulsions. The potential for serious complications or death increases if stimulants are mixed with other drugs (as they often are). For example, many people like to abuse cocaine and alcohol, producing a dangerous chemical experiment within their bodies. Cocaine is categorized as a stimulant, or “upper”, while alcohol is a depressant, or “downer”. The combination of the two produces a third substance called cocaethylene. This intensifies the euphoric effects making the combination much stronger than just one of the drugs alone. The risk of death increases greatly when drugs are mixed.


Electric Parties Go Bad

Long nights or parties at loud bass driven venues lead me to find ecstasy, it’s know as MDMA, we called it simply “E.” I wanted to be a musician very badly, and would have done almost anything to make it big. I feel as if a lot of people can relate to that, the desire for success in whatever it is you are passionate about. One thing about being a musician is that you need creativity to write new songs. Sometimes that creativity, is found in the bottom of an empty liquor bottle, or a half smoked bag of grass. I was not the first musician to find my muse through drugs, and certainly won’t be the last. My real passion in music, I played house music, a type of electronic dance music. Over time the same audience that loved house music, wanted some more bass driven, and out of that desire dub step was born as a more bass heavy drum beat driven version of house music. I found my calling, the only thing about the new genre of music is that it is really only played in rave clubs, where drugs are taken, and people dance all night in strange costumes. Struggling with my own creativity in such a tightly wound scene, led to my drug use, and eventually to ecstasy treatment.


Wait, let’s back up a bit. It was not that fast, no cause and effect type thing like that. I need to clarify by saying that when I started using ecstasy it was for the music, for inspiration. I eventually craved the drug , and that feeling from being at those clubs. The genre of dubstep is really over saturated with too many recording artists producing new songs at a seemingly nightly rate. I took drugs to keep my creativity in pace with the industry norm. Too much of a good thing, ends up being a bad thing, I took too much. An overdose led me to an ecstasy treatment center instead of a regular hospital. A treatment center designed to help heal a person from drug addiction.

Safely recovered (18 months  sober) I can safely say I hate the sound of dub step now, and most definitely the memories of the rave clubs. I found a new muse through sobriety and none of this would have happened if I had not ended up going to ecstasy treatment.

Ecstasy’s Side Effects

Ecstasy is known as MDMA or 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine. The drug induces a sense of euphoria, reduced anxiety, and a strong sense of intimacy with others. Many people from all over the world use this drug in the rave, or club scene. These clubs usually promote drug use, and ecstasy use. The drug ecstasy is the most common used amongst the club goers, it’s possession and use is illegal. If a person takes too much ecstasy they may not be able to stop without ecstasy detox. 

Many people assume ecstasy is a harmless party drug, because it’s use has become so common place with the club scene. The drug is not harmless in fact the use of the drug has some serious side-effects:

  • Cardiac arrhythmia or abnormal electrical activity of the heart
  • Circulatory shock or cardiogenic shock
  • Vasculitis or destruction of blood vessels
  • Cardiotoxicity or damage to the heart
  • Cardiac dysfunction, arrest, myocardial infarction, and/or heart failure
  • fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Possible brain damage
  • Coma or death

With the danger of the drug being under rated, or misunderstood it is important to get the proper information of the dangers of ecstasy out there for everyone. Ecstasy use can be addicting , as well as the behaviors associated with the drug. After ecstasy detox, and rehab a person should cease all activity related to the drug. This especially means leaving the club scene behind. Going back to a place, or even participating in an activity associated with the drug can trigger a relapse, and a person could go back right into using the drug again. Multiple relapses, almost always lead to more harsh penalties, such as being charged with crimes like possession of illicit substances. So in addition to the threat of death from use, there is also a possibility of jail time. This could be an endless cycle, of drug abuse, and crime that can be circumvented by proper ecstasy detox, and treatment. Making sure to follow up with support groups the first time to avoid a relapse, and insure a successful future.