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Stimulants are substances that temporarily raise levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body increasing alertness, causing increased attention, heightened energy and elevated blood pressure.

Stimulants include:

  • Prescription ADHD medications such as Adderall (amphetamine & dextroamphetamine) and Ritalin (methylphenidate).

  • Methamphetamine (including crystal meth).

  • Cocaine (including crack cocaine).

Stimulants can develop physical dependence when used often or in high doses. Furthermore, dependent individuals may experience a stimulant withdrawal syndrome when use of the drug stops or slows.

One of the biggest risks with stimulant withdrawal is depression with suicidal thoughts, and the severity can vary by substance. For example, users of drugs like cocaine, which is metabolized by the body relatively quickly, may find their depression improving within a couple hours, whereas methamphetamine users may experience depression lasting much longer.

All types of stimulants have the potential to be addictive and substance abuse is common with this type of drug.

Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse

There are certain symptoms of stimulant misuse that may be noticed. First, with prescription drugs, anytime someone is using a substance without a prescription or outside of prescribing instructions, it’s defined as misuse. Symptoms of prescription stimulant misuse can include taking it without a prescription or using someone else’s prescription. Other symptoms of prescription stimulant misuse can include taking higher doses or taking it more often than instructed by a physician. The most common symptoms of stimulant misuse also include:

  • Euphoria
  • An inflated sense of self-confidence
  • Increased talkativeness or sociability
  • Wakefulness or insomnia
  • Decreased appetite

Side Effects of Stimulant Abuse

Stimulant misuse can be dangerous or deadly. First, two big side effects of stimulant misuse are addiction and dependence. Both prescription stimulants and street drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine can cause addiction. These drugs affect neurotransmitters like dopamine, which can create a reward response. That reward response is what can give rise to the development of an addiction. Dependence can occur as well, so if someone tries to stop using stimulants, they will experience withdrawal. Other short-term side effects of stimulant misuse can include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiration
  • Decreased blood flow and circulation problems
  • Increased blood sugar levels
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Raised body temperature
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Changes in mood or behavior
  • Overdose
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Malnutirion
  • Gastrointestinal pain or problems

Stimulants Overdose - Recognizing & Responding to a Stimulant Overdose

Signs of a Stimulant Overdose:

  • Hot, flushed or sweaty skin
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Unsteadiness
  • Rigid muscles,
  • tremors or spasms
  • Uncontrolled movements or seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Psychotic symptoms in individuals with no prior mental illness
  • Severe agitation or panic
  • Altered mental state, such as confusion or disorientation

How to Respond to a Stimulant Overdose

  • Check for danger
  • Call 911 and stay on the line
  • Reassure the person and make sure they are comfortable If overheating try to loosen outer clothing, or put a wet towel on the back of their neck or under their underarms
  • Check for a response
  • Put Person into recovery position and monitor

Stimulants Street Names:

  • Uppers
  • R-ball
  • Skippy
  • The smart drug
  • Vitamin R
  • JIF
  • Kibbles and bits
  • Speed
  • Truck drivers
  • Bennies
  • Black beauties
  • Crosses
  • Hearts
  • LA turnaround

Information provided above is courtesy of:

Stimulant Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with Stimulant Addiction (stimulant use disorder), know that effective treatment programs are available. Connect with someone who can help you by calling Florida Center for Recovery at toll free: 800-643-4005.


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  • To Find Out if we accept your insurance please call us at 800-643-4005