For people with medical health conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy, prescription stimulants such as Adderall or Ritalin can be help increase energy, attention and alertness. Unfortunately, prescription stimulants are also frequently misused, and over time that abuse can cause an addiction to prescription stimulants to develop.
Prescription stimulants abuse or addiction can have negative effects on all areas of a person’s life, including their work, school, and family responsibilities; relationships with friends and family; and physical health, mental health, and emotional health. Ultimately, a prescription stimulants addiction could lead to an overdose and death.
It’s never too late to start on the road to recovery with prescription stimulants treatment. Read on to learn more about addiction to stimulants and the treatment options available through The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers.
A definition of stimulant is a substance that temporarily increases alertness and energy. Prescription stimulants increase the activity of two chemicals in the brain: dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps to control the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that affects parts of the brain involving attention, but it also has physiological effects such as increasing heart rate and blood sugar and decreasing blood flow in the body.
Examples of Prescription Stimulants
This list of stimulants includes some examples of common prescription stimulant drugs that are subject to abuse, listed by brand name with generic drug composition in parentheses.
Prescription stimulant addictions develop when people misuse or abuse prescription stimulants. Misuse involves taking a prescription stimulant in an amount or method other than what was prescribed, taking someone else’s prescription stimulant, or using it only to achieve a desired effect such as to enhance focus or get high.
Many people believe prescription stimulants are safer than “street drugs” or that they are not in danger of becoming addicted because the stimulants are prescribed by doctors, but this is not the case. The stimulants effects can still be dangerous.
The number of people misusing prescription stimulants is sobering. According to the American Psychological Association, in 2015, an estimated 17.2 million Americans over the age of 12 took a prescription stimulant — and an estimated 5.3 million of Americans misused them.
Apart from treating legitimate medical conditions, prescription stimulants give people who take or abuse them a sense of euphoria or a “rush,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH).
Even when a prescription stimulant has been prescribed by a doctor and is taken as directed to help with a condition, a person can develop a tolerance to it over time and need more frequent or higher doses to achieve the same effect they previously had. This can lead to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD), where using the drug begins to take a negative toll on other areas of the person’s life, such as work, school, and home life. Another symptom is that health problems can begin to develop. Over time and without help, an SUD can escalate to a full-on addiction.
People who have an addiction to prescription stimulants can experience a symptom of withdrawal if they stop using the substance. Symptoms of stimulant withdrawal can include sleep problems, fatigue, depression, anxiety and irritability, thoughts of suicide, an inability to feel pleasure, and intense drug cravings.
An overdose of prescription stimulants can occur if a person takes so much that a life-threatening reaction occurs, the most common symptom of which is heart attack or seizure. Other side effects of stimulants that harm health can include restlessness, tremors, overactive reflexes, rapid breathing, confusion, aggression, hallucinations, panic stats, abnormally increased fever, muscle pains, weakness, heart attack, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions and coma — and the symptom list goes on, according to the National Institutes of Health.
In the event of an overdose, immediate medical attention is necessary for stimulant overdose treatment to help restore blood flow to the heart or stop the seizure, depending on the case.
Behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management are considered by the National Institutes of Health to be effective forms of help and treatment for prescription stimulant addiction.
The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers are dedicated to providing the care and treatment each individual needs to overcome a prescription stimulant drug addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), prescription medications, self-care, and outpatient programs can all play a role in treatment. Depending on an individual’s specific circumstances, he or she may be placed in one of these treatment programs: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) Day Program, Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), or General Outpatient Program (GOP). Cases requiring Residential Treatment for stabilization will be connected with a partnering residential treatment facility.
The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers goes to every length to realize its mission statement: “Empowering individuals and families suffering from addiction and mental health disorders to celebrate life through lasting solutions.”
Research defines our tailored programs and recovery experiences, and we make every effort to support outcomes where patients as well as their families can reclaim a meaningful life through knowledge and applied behaviors implemented during treatment. We also provide a weekly Alumni Support Meeting to give all of our alumni an additional recovery support community.
We look forward to hearing from you and helping you or a loved one begin the journey toward recovery. The Phoenix Recovery and Counseling Centers will be with you every step of the way.