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.