Stimulants, sometimes called “uppers”, describe a broad class of psychoactive drugs that include (but are not limited to) cocaine, methamphetamine, nicotine, caffeine, and MDMA, and each of these drugs can produce a variety of stimulant drug side effects. Stimulants help enhance brain activity, improving alertness, attention, and wakefulness. They work by changing the way nerve cells send messages to each other. Stimulants do this by controlling the amount of neurotransmitters released by the nerve cells. Many stimulants cause a buildup of dopamine in the brain causing increased euphoria and pleasure. Stimulants have been used for years to help treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity, but the intense euphoria creates high potential for abuse. When a person becomes addicted to a stimulant, seeking outside help is often the best option.
Short- term stimulant drug side effects include:
- Feelings of tremendous joy
- Decreased appetite
- Wakefulness, alertness
- Higher blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
Taking large doses of stimulants can be extremely dangerous and harmful to the body and can quickly lead to addiction. Both prescription and street forms of stimulants are abused around the world. Common pharmaceutical forms of stimulants include Ritalin and Adderall. The most popular stimulant street drugs are cocaine and methamphetamine. All of these drugs have a high potential for abuse and it is best to seek professional help if you believe you might have a problem with one of them.
Since any addictive substance can create cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is withheld, the individual finds it difficult or impossible to stop abusing the drug on their own. In most cases, they can’t tolerate the symptoms and feel they need the drug in order to function normally. At this point, it is time to help the individual recognize and admit that there is a problem and seek treatment before it is too late, because some of the stimulant drug side effects can become dangerous or life-threatening if the addiction has gone on for a prolonged period of time.