Stimulant Addiction and Abuse

Stimulants are often abused among students and athletes trying to enhance their performance. They are also used recreationally.

Prescription Stimulant Brands

Prescription stimulants are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD, narcolepsy, and sometimes obesity. The most common prescription stimulants are amphetamines and methylphenidates.

Although there is a molecular distinction between amphetamines (such as Adderall) and methylphenidates (such as Ritalin), effects of abusing these stimulants are essentially the same. Patients are prescribed either amphetamines or methylphenidates depending on the potency and duration needed. Some of the most well-known prescription stimulants include:

  • Adderall  – Adderall is currently the most popular ADHD treatment drug and the most commonly prescribed amphetamine in the United States.
  • Dexedrine – Dexedrine is most commonly used to treat ADHD. The drug was used by the U.S. Air Force during World War II through the Gulf War to help pilots stay awake.
  • Ritalin – Ritalin differs from Dexedrine and Adderall because it is a methylphenidate. Methylphenidates have the same stimulant effects as amphetamines but have a different molecular structure.
  • Concerta – Concerta is a relatively new drug used to treat ADHD. It is a methylphenidate like Ritalin, but differs in strength and duration of effects.
  • Desoxyn – Desoxyn is a prescription methamphetamine. Introduced in 1947, it was the first medication prescribed for obesity. It is also used to treat ADHD.
  • Ephedrine – Ephedrine is most commonly used as an appetite suppressant and bronchodilator for those with asthma, but has similar effects to other stimulants. It is often available over the counter and is commonly used as an ingredient in clandestine meth labs.
  • Illicit StimulantsThe stimulants class wouldn’t be complete without mentioning cocaine, crack, and crystal meth. These drugs all produce effects similar to those of prescription stimulants. While prescription stimulants are designed as time-release drugs, illicit stimulants produce a shorter and more intense high.

Stimulant Effects and Abuse

Prescription stimulants are classified as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act because they have a high potential for abuse and addiction. The effects of stimulants include:

  • Euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Wakefulness
  • Talkativeness
  • Energy

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Addiction to Stimulants

Understanding the symptoms of a stimulant addiction can help determine if you or someone you know has a problem. There are 11 criteria of an addiction as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Learn about the symptoms of addiction.

Getting Help For Your Stimulant Addiction

If you have an addiction to stimulants and are ready to get help, you have made the most important step toward recovery. Beginning the recovery process can be scary, but there are countless people available to provide you with the support you need. You aren’t alone in your journey — find help today.