Substance Abuse

Stimulants and What You Need to Know

How does it start?

There are several reasons why someone may begin drug use including peer-pressure, performance anxiety, easy access to drugs, rebellion, learned behavior from an authority figure, or experimentation. In addition to outside influences, some substance abusers begin heavy drug use because their biological reaction to stimulants is stronger than the average persons.

The graph below shows that even among 12th graders, stimulant and amphetamine use is more prevalent than most drugs.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the misuse of stimulants can lead to feelings of hostility and even psychosis, so use of these drugs can be very dangerous.

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Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse

Stimulant Abuse can be presented in several ways. If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or another, seek treatment.

  • feeling a strong need for the drug
  • an increased tolerance
  • making sure you have access to the drug at all times
  • ignoring personal or professional obligations in favor of drug use
  • engaging in risky behavior to get drugs or while high
  • ignoring responsibility to take time to acquire the drugs

treatment options

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Treatment is not one size fits all. Successful treatment often involves a combination of various treatment options. In Abnormal Psychology by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema gives a few examples of different treatment options.

  • Biological treatments: This avenue of treatment can include prescription drug therapy to reduce the cravings and strong reactions to drugs. If the addiction stems from depression, it may include a prescription to an antidepressant to try to treat the root cause of drug use
  • Psychosocial treatments: These treatment options are the most familiar options. The options here can include, interventions, talk therapy, group therapy, motivational interviewing, conditioning to make the drug seem unappealing and behavioral therapy.
  • Rehab clinics are an additional all encompassing treatment option where the treatment is the sole focus of the patient. This kind of treatment often means removal from friends and family for a set period of time.

Myths and Misconceptions about drug use

There are several myths that surround drug addiction as a whole.

  • One of these myths is that drug addicts are weak, bad people who should be punished. This is clearly not the case. As mentioned above, drug addiction can begin because of any number of reasons, and once the addiction begins its something the user cannot control. This does not mean they are a bad person.
  • One kind of treatment will work for everyone. Once again, treatment is not one size fits all. Don't become discouraged if you attempt one type of treatment and it does not work for you. Take time to find your preferred treatment.
  • Addiction is a choice. If you are reading this and considering treatment, you know very well that addiction is not a choice. There was likely a moment when you took a step back and saw that your addiction was out of hand and realized this is not a life anyone would choose.
  • With stimulants specifically, there is a myth that since some of the effects don't last long, there are no long-term physical ramifications. This is simply not true, and in fact, stimulants can lead to problems with serotonin and dopamine production in the brain.

5 Myths About Drugs - Drug and Alcohol Rehab