In a world where addiction is handed out on a paper prescription, it is becoming easier and easier for individuals to fall. Today, more than 10 million children are being prescribed addictive stimulants. One in every five college students and one in every six adults has admitted to abusing prescription stimulants. When highly addicted drugs are handed out at such a young age, it is no surprise that so many individuals begin to rely on, and become addicted to, various stimulants.
What are Stimulants?
Stimulants come in many forms, but in the end they all serve the same purpose. Stimulants serve as windows to increased energy, alertness and awareness. There are several illegal and legal substances used for stimulation.
- Caffeine: One of the more simple stimulants, caffeine can be found in several food and drink items, the most common being coffee, energy drinks, tea and soda. It offers a feeling of energy, alertness and wakefulness. Caffeine is not dangerous in moderation, but still comes with the risk of addiction.
- Nicotine: The leading ingredient in tobacco products, nicotine offers a feeling of calmness, relaxation and relief from stress. Nicotine can be addictive and comes with the risk of several health defects.
- Amphetamines: Otherwise known as “speed” or “crystal,” amphetamines are a highly addictive illegal drugs that offer increased energy and a fake feeling of euphoria. They are usually injected into the skin, taken orally or smoked.
- Cocaine: Cocaine is one of the most highly used illegal stimulants today. It is usually snorted through the nose as a fine powder or injected into the skin. It is highly addictive and offers a rushed feeling of alertness, intense energy and euphoria.
- Diet Pills: Diet pills are used as appetite suppressants in order to lose weight and are similar in class to amphetamines. These suppressants do not require a prescription and are taken orally. While they do not fall into an addictive category, these pills still offer a feeling of increased energy and come with the risk of dependence.
- Methamphetamine: Otherwise known as “meth,” methamphetamine is a highly addictive illegal drug that can be smoked, injected, snorted or taken orally. This drug excites the central nervous system, thus causing an intense increase in energy, euphoria and alertness.
- Ritalin/Adderall: Ritalin and Adderall are both prescription drugs most often used by individuals with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. These tablets are usually taken orally but can also be crushed and snorted or injected. The effects are similar to that of caffeine. It is used to increase alertness, focus and attentiveness within individuals suffering from ADHD, but can come with risk of addiction.
Short-Term Side Effects
- Increased Breathing
- Increased Heart Rate
- Increased Blood Pressure
- High Body Temperature
- Heightened Sweating
- Intense Headaches
- Internal Chest Pain
Long-Term Side Effects
- Psychotic Behavior
- Chronic Insomnia
- Appetite Suppression
- Nutritional Loss
- Blood Vessel Damage
- Kidney Damage
- Lung Damage
- Heart Attack
- Cardiac Arrest
- Liver Damage
It has been estimated that 1.2 million individuals have gone through addiction due to prescription stimulants alone. The rates for emergency room visits has increased from 2,303 to 17,272. That does not include the millions of individuals who are addicted to illegal stimulants.
If someone has found that their loved one is addicted to any form of stimulant, they should seek inpatient treatment immediately. The facilities handle assisted withdrawal periods, intense recovery sessions, personal and group therapy sessions, all with around-the-clock supervision.
It does not end at illegal, because even a paper prescription can lead to addiction.