Stimulants are a category of drug that come in both prescription and illegal varieties. For instance, stimulants range from caffeine to nicotine to cocaine. Where caffeine is mostly harmless, cocaine is an incredibly dangerous drug, the use of which regularly leads to drug abuse. Stimulant use results in greater alertness, focused attention, and increased energy. One of the dangers of stimulants is the development of tolerance or dependence. When either is present, any cessation in use will bring withdrawal symptoms.
The Dangers of Stimulants
The biggest dangers of stimulants can be split into short-term and long-term. The short-term effects are mostly related to common stimulant side effects. Mostly, these side effects are more annoying than life-threatening. However, excessive use over time can intensify even the more minor side effects related to stimulants and pose a serious risk of heart problems or even a heart attack. These side effects include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle shakes or tremors, particularly in the arms or legs
- Agitation or irritability
Perhaps the biggest danger of stimulants is the potential for a fatal overdose when used too frequently or in too large of a dose. Beyond these short-term impacts, stimulant use over time damages the body in other ways as well. One way stimulants impede normal body and brain function is through a set of psychological side effects that appear after extended use. Psychological side effects include hallucinations, depression, anxiety, delusions, and paranoia.
The appearance of these psychological ailments indicates the presence of multiple disorders at once. In other words, a substance abuse disorder alongside a mental health disorder. While both can be treated simultaneously, it is much more complex than treating just one disorder and requires more intensive care.
Long-Term Health Dangers of Stimulants
In addition to devastating psychological impacts, the dangers of stimulants also impair people’s physical health over time. Stimulant use over time can result in excessive weight loss, reduced sex drive, muscle deterioration, headaches, and breathing problems. Long-term usage also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and seizures. While users may initially be drawn in by the euphoric high stimulant use produces, it is always accompanied by risk and consequences.
As mentioned previously, stimulant use easily breeds tolerance and dependence. Once one of those conditions sets in, addiction is often close behind. Many people try to quit drug abuse on their own. Unfortunately, an inability to do so means the drug has a strong physical and psychological hold over the body.
Another warning sign is when people reshape their lives and priorities in order to manage their drug use and prolong it. For example, someone may quit a good job because it requires regular drug testing. Another example would be eliminating social activities and ignoring relationships in order to seek out the drug. When drug abuse sets in, the best option is to seek treatment as soon as possible.
Drug Abuse Treatment
Georgia Addiction Treatment Center specializes in drug abuse treatment. The first step in treating any drug addiction is medical detox. Stimulant withdrawal can be dangerous, so conducting this first step with professional support ensures patient safety.
Two dangers of stimulant withdrawal are depression and suicidal thoughts. That is because the body feels deprived of the stimulant that used to provide a boost of energy and mental positivity. The body takes time to chemically stabilize without the presence of a stimulant. In extreme cases, depression and related symptoms may persist beyond the withdrawal phase. After withdrawal, patients enter ongoing treatment specialized to meet their needs.
Discover how drug abuse treatment can benefit you or a loved one. Reach out to us today by calling 855.952.3546.