Why are stimulants so addictive?

Why are stimulants so addictive?

Why are stimulants so addictive?

When in the dire need to increase concentration and alertness, people, especially teenagers, often resort to stimulants, both legal and illicit, to push their body and mind beyond the natural limits. However, such a momentary enhancement in one’s energy level can prove quite a costly affair in the long run.

By exciting the central nervous system and increasing the feel-good chemicals, such as dopamine, in the brain, people along with euphoria witness other dangerous effects, such as high blood pressure, irregular heart rate, etc.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), two of the most commonly abused classes of prescription drugs include opioid pain relievers and stimulants. With a number of women, elderly people and teenage students falling prey to prescription drug abuse, there is a need to understand the repercussions of stimulants, which has a very high addictive potential.

Don’t underestimate stimulants

Due to its adverse effects, the use of stimulants has been legally limited to mental disorders like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and neurological disorders like narcolepsy. As stimulants are energy boosters that help patients to increase their alertness and attention, their addictive potential should never be underestimated.

Being responsible for producing an excessive amount of dopamine, the continued usage of stimulants can impair the capability of the brain to produce the normal amount of dopamine and disrupt the normal communication between cells in the brain. To fulfill the deficit of dopamine, people resort to stimulant abuse, which leads to addiction.

The negative impacts of the drug, when consumed in high doses, can include increase of heart failure, paranoia, psychosis, etc. Other consequences include poor decision-making and judgement making capabilities.

Leaving stimulants not easier

Corroborating stimulants’ high addictive potential, experts suggest that prescription stimulants, such as amphetamine and methylphenidate, produce psychoactive effects that are similar to those produced by illicit stimulants, such as cocaine. In fact, illicit stimulants produce the feeling of a high, which is much more intense to that of prescription stimulants.

Stimulants also lead to the buildup of dopamine in the brain, like other addictive drugs. The release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the arousal and mental state of a person, also determines the feeling of reward and motivation. Hence, the regular use of stimulants gives an impression to brain that these drugs are not for pleasure but for survival.

As a result, the brain increases the craving for such drugs, especially when the users stop consuming them further. Notably, a craving can occur unexpectedly and anywhere, even in a situation or place that reminds the user of the drug use.

High tolerance toward stimulants leads to addiction

Since prescribed to the patients with ADHD, stimulant abuse is found to be higher in them. As a result, these patients tend to develop a high tolerance for the drugs, thereby requiring increased doses to maintain the therapeutic effects.

Additionally, many students and working people, who consume stimulants to enhance their performance, are not able to compete with the world in the absence of the drugs. Consequently, most of them often suffer from anxiety and excessive fears, which they try overcoming by using these drugs without any prescription or guidance. Eventually, they also end up developing tolerance toward the drugs that leads to increase in dosage and finally to addiction.

Avoid stimulants to remain addiction free

Effects of stimulants can be both short term and long term. While the short-term effects include exhaustion, apathy and depression, the most dangerous long-term consequences can be developing an addiction and other major health impacts. Therefore, it is important to keep a check on the use of stimulants. People consuming stimulants should be aware of the probable risks and consult medical experts before altering their dosage.

If you know someone who is suffering from prescription drug addiction, contact the Prescription Drug Addiction Help to seek guidance and information about the prescription drug abuse treatment centers in the U.S. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-623-3847 or chat online to know about the best drug abuse treatment centers in the vicinity.