Stimulants Addiction Treatment

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What are stimulants?

Stimulants are the opposite of depressants. They increase central nervous system activity and, as a result, create alertness with increased vigilance, a sense of well-being, and euphoria. Stimulants are commonly known as uppers. They encompass a broad category of substances and can be found in over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, illegal substances and herbal extracts. Addiction to stimulants and stimulant dependence commonly occurs and can result in extreme physical complications such as anorexia, myocardial infarctions and strokes. If you or a loved one has an addiction to stimulants, seek help immediately.

Common stimulants include:

  • Cocaine
  • Caffeine
  • MDMA (Ecstasy)
  • Amphetamines
  • Modafinil
  • Ephedrine
  • Ephedra equisetina plant

Stimulants are used for many medical conditions, such as allergic rhinitis, attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy and obstructive sleep apnea. When prescribed and taken correctly, their benefits can strongly outweigh their abuse potential. However, when stimulants are abused, they can create many unwanted and dangerous side effects.

Stimulants that are not medically prescribed can be found on the streets and in herbal extracts. These are commonly taken to induce a sense of euphoria and as appetite suppressants to lose weight. Common examples of illegal street drugs that are stimulants include cocaine, MDMA, amphetamines and ephedrine.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a disease that manipulates a person’s sense of reward, motivation, memory and a number of related neurological functions.

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Stimulant dependence side effects:

Someone who is addicted to stimulants may experience some of these side effects as a result of their use:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Pupillary dilatation
  • Agitation
  • Increased alertness
  • Euphoria
  • Paranoia
  • Pressured speech
  • Flight of ideas

Stimulant withdrawal effects include:

  • Sedation
  • Depressed mood
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Decreased attention
  • Irritable
  • Sleep disturbances
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Cocaine is a Schedule II drug, which has no medical indication and is derived from the Erythroxylum coca plant. It can be snorted, injected or smoked, depending on the composition. Cocaine can result in myocardial infarctions in otherwise healthy, young individuals. Cocaine can result in tactile hallucination, commonly known as “coke bugs,” which is the physical sense that bugs are crawling on the body. Patients often present with heart palpitations, chest pain, diaphoresis, agitation and an impending sense of doom. Benzodiazepines are the first-line agents used to treat patients who are intoxicated from cocaine and are extremely agitated. Typically, benzodiazepines can be titrated until the patient is calm and vital signs are stabilized.


MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), which is commonly known as Ecstasy, “E” or “X,” is derived from methamphetamine and is commonly used in clubs or parties to enhance euphoria. Its stimulant effects result from the increase in epinephrine, norepinephrine and dopamine. This is a common drug among high school and college students.


Modafinil is an atypical stimulant that has lower abuse potential than most other stimulants. It is used to treat narcolepsy.

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Ephedrine is commonly used in weight-loss supplements. The common drug “Fen-Phen” — composed of the amphetamines fenfluramine and phentermine — caused multiple deaths from acute cardiovascular complications in otherwise healthy adults. This Schedule IV drug was marketed as a natural weight-loss supplement and is no longer on the market. Phentermine remains available as a treatment for obesity. In 2004, the FDA prohibited dietary supplements containing ephedrine, stating that they directly cause an unreasonable risk due to their potential health risks and questionable health benefits. Most ephedra-containing dietary supplements have been removed from the market. Ephedrine can be found in Sudafed, which is used to alleviate nasal congestion. A valid driver’s license or state identification card is now required to purchase this over-the-counter medication due to its potential to create methamphetamine.


Amphetamines were initially used in inhalers for nasal congestion in the 1930s. The use of amphetamines were widely used and abused by the general population to promote alertness. Amphetamines are currently used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). A common ADHD medication, methylphenidate has a similar action to amphetamines but does not share the same chemical structure. Although it is not technically considered an amphetamine, it is still placed in this class. This is a Schedule II drug and has an increased potential for abuse, especially among college students. It is commonly used to increase alertness and wakefulness in students who are studying for examinations or working very long hours. For students or others who have become hooked on amphetamines, amphetamine dependence treatment is normally the best option for recovery.

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Stimulant addiction treatment

There is no specific treatment for the acute intoxication of stimulants. Treatment for stimulant addiction aims at providing symptomatic care. Decreasing the patient’s level of stimulation by dimming the lights, speaking in low voices, minimizing touch and other calming effects have been shown to help alleviate symptoms. Acute cocaine intoxication with abnormal vital signs or abnormal cardiac activity should be treated with benzodiazepines in a hospital setting.

Sovereign Health provides stimulant addiction treatment through a comprehensive stimulation treatment program in a safe, controlled and supervised environment. For more information about our treatment programs, please call our 24/7 helpline.