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How Are Stimulants Addictive?

While it would be nice if all prescription drugs were safe, it’s simply not the case. Some people are able to take medication as prescribed and never get addicted, others are not as lucky. Prescription drugs such as opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants come with higher risks. Prescription stimulants are considered to have a high potential for abuse. Knowing this means being vigilant about taking medications as prescribed and maintaining awareness around their use. Still, that can be difficult, and addiction can sneak up on you. If you find that your prescription stimulant has become unhealthy, Aspire Treatment is here to help you. We have a wide range of programs that we can tailor to your needs. 

What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants are a class of drugs that speed up the body’s systems. Some stimulants are prescription medications such as Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, Control, Meridia, and Didrex. Others are illegal drugs such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and methcathinone. Stimulants can have many different street names such as bennies, coke, crank, crystal, ice, snow, speed, uppers, and vitamin R.  Many stimulants are swallowed pills, but they can also be smoked, snorted, and injected. 

Those who abuse stimulants tend to have a pattern that involves binging. During a binge, the person will consume drugs every few hours until they run out of them or reach a point of delirium. Chronic binging can lead to agitation, hostility, panic, aggression, suicidal tendencies, and homicidal tendencies. Taking too large a dose at one time can lead to high fever, convulsions, cardiac arrest, and even death. 

If I Have a Prescription, Can I Get Addicted?

You need only read the headlines to know that prescription drugs can be addictive. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies both legal and illegal drugs according to the potential for abuse. Prescription stimulants such as Adderall, Desoxyn, and Ritalin are classified as Schedule II, which means that they have a high potential for abuse. Didrex is classified as Schedule III, which means that they have a slightly lower potential for abuse. But how are stimulants addictive when they are prescribed? 

Over time, prescription stimulants change how your brain functions.  Prescription stimulants, like Adderall, work by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine levels in your central nervous system. This combination of dopamine and norepinephrine helps your brain pay attention and be rewarded for doing so. The problem comes in when your brain and your body like the reward too much. You might start to feel tired or foggy without the drug, or you may find that you need more of it just to function. 

If you’re trying to evaluate your use of prescription stimulants, start by asking yourself questions such as:

  • Are you taking it as prescribed, or have you changed your dose without talking to your doctor?
  • Were the medications prescribed to someone else?
  • Have you tried to stop taking the drug and cannot?
  • Have you found yourself obsessed with making sure you have enough of the drug?
  • Are you unable to do anything without taking it?
  • Is your use of the medications affecting your relationships with others?

Get Help With Addiction at Aspire Treatment

Located in Atlanta, Aspire Treatment has various programs to help you break the connection to addiction and create new, positive recovery connections. Our programs ranging from partial hospitalization to outpatient counseling will assist you in building tools for today and the future.  We’re here to help you build a foundation for long-term recovery with a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan.  

We know that each person’s recovery journey is unique, and we’re committed to helping you craft a recovery path that works for you.  Connect with us today to see how we can best support your success in recovery!