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Stimulant Use

What are Stimulants?
What are prescription stimulants?
  • They are to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Prescription Stimulants increase attention and alertness. Some of the prescribed stimulants are;
    • Adderall and Ritalin, brand names made out of methylphenidate and dextroamphetamine, are generic names.

What are illicit stimulants?
  • Illicit, illegal stimulants are the usage of stimulants without a doctor’s control and other additional substances such as cocaine.
What are the effects of stimulants?
  • Illicit stimulant use has both long and short-term effects. As mentioned before, short-term usage of stimulants can cause serious health issues and even death. Please call 911 in case of any emergency. Since the chemicals in these substances affect brain development and health, it causes mental health problems. Stimulant abuse causes a lack of happiness in everyday moments due to removing the brain’s functionality.
  • Short term effects
    • Alertness
    • Focus
    • Sleeplessness
    • Loss of appetite
    • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
    • High body temperature
  • Long term effects 
    • Addiction
    • Paranoia
    • Long-term insomnia
    • Extreme weight change
How do stimulants change the way the brain works?
  • If a person uses stimulants without a doctor’s supervision, then they can experience stimulant use disorder. Illicit stimulant use causes addictions which can cause severe brain damage. Stimulants and other drugs interfere with the way the brain processes signals. Stimulants such as cocaine cause the brain to produce many neurotransmitters – signaling molecules that transfer signals across your brain -that interfere with the brain’s normal cycle. By changing the amounts of signals, illicit stimulant use affects the basal ganglia, the part of the brain that controls motivation, and other parts such as the extended amygdala and prefrontal cortex powers. By changing the way, people feel pleasure, stimulants addict people into only enjoying the symptoms of these drugs. Without proper usage, stimulants can cause massive damage to the brain by changing the way the brain feels pleasure and craves higher doses of stimulants to continue to feel the effects.
What are the misuse and abuse of stimulants?
  • Misuse
    • According to the World Health Organization, “Drug misuse is defined as the use of a substance for a purpose not consistent with legal or medical guidelines. (2006)
      • Examples:
        • Taking someone else’s prescribed stimulants
        • Taking the medication to feel euphoria (to get high)
  • Abuse
    • According to, “The use of illegal drugs or the use of prescription or
      over-the-counter drugs for purposes other than those for which they are meant to be used, or in excessive amounts.” Drug abuse can cause social, mental, emotional, and physical problems. In other words, “Occasional excessive use of a drug or alcohol without medical justification.”
What are some treatments?
  • Stimulant Use Disorder (SUD)
    • SUD is caused by the misuse of stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine,
      and amphetamine
  • Treatments
    • Motivational interviewing
      • Individuals are encouraged to change their behaviors to reduce or stop
        stimulants use.
    • Contingency management
      • Usage of Operant Conditioning: a method to learn witch prizes.
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
      • To develop realistic strategies to develop the accurate pathway. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) also helps to address depression, generalized anxiety disorders.
How to help your kids stay away from stimulant abuse?
  • It is essential to be aware of your child’s surroundings to prevent substance abuse. It can include places of entertainment and friends. It is crucial to inform your children about the existence of these substances by explaining the potential danger for their mental and physical health. It is essential to educate your children and set clear rules to protect them from substance use.
Effects of stimulants during pregnancy
  • Women who use illicit stimulants such as cocaine usually have poor nutrition, which causes the fetus’ development.
    • Pregnant women who use cocaine are at higher risk for;
      • Maternal Migraines
      • Seizures
      • Cardiovascular Problems
      • High Blood Pressure
      • Miscarriage
      • Difficult Delivery
    • The baby might have
      • Birth Defects
      • Low Birth Weight
      • Premature Birth
      • Small Head Circumference
      • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( SIDS)
Aliye Pehlivan
2021 Red Ribbon Week Team Member at Whitetulip
  • pdf
  • se-while-pregnant-breastfeeding

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