Not every illegal drug comes from a drug dealer. Stimulants—drugs like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Dexadrine, and others—are available in every pharmacy and at every doctor’s office in the United States. And because the diseases they are designed to treat require no blood test and no specific diagnostic criteria, it’s easy to fake symptoms. We’re witnessing a surge in stimulant addiction that might soon overtake the opioid addiction epidemic. If you think you might be addicted to stimulant drugs, here’s what you need to know.
About 1 in 4 college students use stimulants occasionally as performance-enhancing drugs. And about 1 in 8 college students have a valid medical prescription for these drugs. On some college campuses, these drugs are traded like candy. This means they’re readily accessible, and once a user becomes addicted, they can get a steady supply with few risks.
Stimulants’ status as legal drugs makes them even more addictive. Many users think they can’t be addicted to a legal drug, particularly if they have a medical prescription. But many doctors give these drugs out to everyone who claims to have an attention problem. And even among people who do really have ADHD, long-term stimulant use tends to lead to addiction.
A drug can be addictive even if it also helps some people. That’s because the hallmark of addiction is chemical dependency. Stimulants fundamentally change the way your brain functions, priming it for dependency.
There are other unique factors that further increase the addictive capacity of stimulants. Those include:
• Changing brain chemistry. Stimulants change brain chemistry, and in particular, they affect the behavior of brain neurotransmitters linked to feelings of pleasure and motivation. This sensation can be intoxicating.
• Stimulants make people feel like they’re performing better—even when they’re not.
• Stimulants offer a shot of energy, making them very tempting to people with demanding careers or enrolled in challenging schools.
Over time, stimulant use makes it more and more difficult to function without stimulants. So users may continually use more drugs, increasing the power of the addiction and further damaging their brain.
Think you might be addicted to stimulants? You should know that stimulant addiction tends to co-exist along with denial. Drugs lie to you, convincing you that you need them to function. So even if you think all is well, you should consider the possibility that you are addicted if others are concerned.
People with a valid medical prescription may have an addiction if:
• They get stimulants from multiple doctors.
• They have steadily increased their use over time.
• They experience withdrawal when they miss a dose.
• They cannot function without stimulants.
• They use multiple stimulants.
• They use stimulants along with other drugs.
• They lie about their mental health symptoms to get more stimulants.
• They use stimulants as performance enhancers, not to deal with the effects of a valid medical illness.
People without a medical prescription may have an addiction if:
• They use stimulants along with alcohol.
• They use different types of stimulants.
• They can’t stop using stimulants.
• They experience withdrawal or cravings when they attempt to stop.
• They experience health issues because of stimulant use.
• They do things they regret while under the influence of stimulants.
Prolonged stimulant use can have catastrophic health effects. These drugs can damage the heart and brain, and can even increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack. When taken with other drugs, stimulants are especially dangerous.
Stimulant addiction can destroy your career and family. It can even kill you. This is a serious disease, and it demands immediate treatment.
The right treatment helps you understand why you use, then offers you alternative strategies. For example, if you have ADHD, there may be specific lifestyle strategies you can implement to help manage your symptoms.
At Future Now Detox, we offer comprehensive care that includes NAD/Brain Restoration+, therapy, group support, complementary holistic modalities, nutrition counseling, and much more.
You can recover from stimulant abuse. You can live a wonderful, productive life without these dangerous drugs. Don’t believe the lies addiction tells you. Step into the light. Let us help you find a path forward. Call us today!
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