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photo of many different color stimulant pills

Stimulants come in many shapes and sizes, but all of them possess the potential for the user to develop a stimulant addiction after chronic use. All stimulants act to heighten the body’s natural physiologic state, by increasing blood pressure, heart rate, alertness, decreasing bowel activity, and producing a euphoric state (a sense of elation and well-being). Because of the action of stimulants on the body’s natural opiate system (endorphins) and on dopamine, stimulants are highly addictive.

Commonly Abused Stimulants

The most commonly abused stimulants are amphetamines, methamphetamine, Ritalin, Adderall, Ecstasy (also classified as a hallucinogen), Concerta, Vyvanse, Strattera, cocaine, and crack cocaine. Caffeine is a legal substance that can also be abused and can be detrimental to the health and well-being of caffeine abusers. Stimulants, in fact, are one of the most commonly abused types of drugs around the world, with many different cultures having developed their own unique stimulants of choice. As our world becomes more globalized through commerce and immigration, these formerly local stimulants often burst upon the global scene, exposing new and inexperienced users to the sometimes quite dangerous effects of these drugs.

Case Study in Stimulant Addiction: Khat

A recent example of this cultural diffusion of a formerly localized stimulant is a drug called khat, derived from a plant product typically grown and used in East Africa and Arabia. The United States has recently seen an increase in the illegal importation of this substance. Khat works as a stimulant and is not legal in the U.S., either for recreational or prescription purposes. Khat causes emotional changes, alertness, aggressiveness, hyperactive behaviors, insomnia, and can lead to frank psychosis. Khat can be chewed, smoked, used as a smokeless tobacco product, or also eaten with food. Individuals from regions where khat has long been present are more familiar with its potential dangers, while those in its “new markets” are at much greater risk of negative consequences, including stimulant addiction. However, even in areas where it has long been used traditionally, khat abuse can spiral out of control. For example, khat use and dependence in Somalia (where it has long been present) has been blamed for fueling civil war, draining the nation’s economy, and undermining international relief efforts.

Source: WebMD

Negative Effects of Stimulants

The negative effects of stimulant addiction include stroke, heart attack, long-term mental health issues, and multiple social consequences. Additionally, muscle wasting, weight loss, poor appetite, dental problems, and infections such as Hepatitis C and HIV can occur. Because of the illegal nature of cocaine and methamphetamine use in the United States, these drugs are heavily controlled by the DEA. With this comes serious legal consequences for the production, importation, use, or possession of these substances, and the paraphernalia required for their use.

The Vicious Cycle of Stimulant Addiction

Typically, stimulant users are either “high,” or seeking their next “fix.” This leads to a rampant, often unstoppable cycle of addiction that creates chaos and turmoil in the drug addicted patient and his/her family members. Stimulants can also lead to a feeling of grandiosity and invincibility, which can lead to gruesome violence. The need to get “high” often leads to serious crimes that are committed to gain access to the substance, or funds to buy the substance.

Stimulant Addiction Withdrawal

It is often believed that stimulant withdrawal does not occur due to the lack of a physical withdrawal syndrome, such as that for opioids. However, this is not the case. Stimulant withdrawal produces the opposite state that stimulant use creates. For example, cocaine and amphetamine withdrawal will typically cause the addicted person to suffer from depression, lethargy, fatigue, an increased need for sleep, decreased cognition, and poor concentration. These effects from stimulant withdrawal can last for weeks or even months and can be quite debilitating. The existence and intensity of stimulant withdrawal often makes individuals return to stimulant use even after a sincere attempt at discontinuing it. This is one of the hallmarks of why stimulant addiction can be so hard to conquer without professionally administered drug treatment.

The Importance of Professional Stimulant Addiction Treatment

Inpatient drug rehab is critical to help stop the cycle of stimulant addiction. Spinning out of control, family members and drug abusers often don’t know how to get help or are so involved in the addictive process that they are unwilling to seek treatment in a drug rehab. Oftentimes, family members must step forward and confront the addict with their concerns about the damage that stimulant addiction is causing to the entire family. And, when they do, they should have a plan in place to get their loved one into treatment in an experienced and accredited drug rehab as soon as possible. That’s where Behavioral Wellness and Recovery can help. We have the experience and expertise to help your loved one tackle the many challenges they’ll face on the road to recovery, ensuring they have the best possible chance to break free from the chains of stimulant addiction, once and for all.

Break Free from Stimulant Addiction Now

Stimulant addiction destroys the lives of addicts and devastates their relationships with friends and family. If you or your loved one suffer from stimulant addiction, you need to get help now. Call BWR today at 800-683-4457 to get the professional help you need. Our operators are available 24/7.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.


Behavioral Wellness & Recovery is a Joint Commission accredited program. The Joint Commission recognizes excellence in health care organizations and programs.

Your decision to regain your life helps and heals your entire family. Do it for them. Do it for you.


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