It is critical that we don’t forget about the nation’s addiction crisis in our response to COVID-19. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an alarming increase in deaths involving stimulant drugs methamphetamine and cocaine are on the rise. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated stresses have only exacerbated this situation.
A complex and ever-evolving addiction and overdose crisis characterized by shifting use and availability of different substances and the use of multiple drug classes have together contributed to the rise in fatal overdoses. This is likely due to people using stimulant drugs in combination with opioids like heroin or fentanyl. This could also likely be due to using products that have been laced with fentanyl without their knowledge. With the rise in addictions and deaths to stimulants, it’s imperative that rehab facilities offer stimulant addiction treatment.
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What Are Stimulants?
You may be wondering, what are stimulants and why should I be concerned about people developing addictions to them. Well, stimulants are substances that speed up processes in the brain and body. Thus, stimulants cause the messages that are sent between the brain and body to speed up. This, in turn, causes people that consume stimulants to feel more alert, awake, and energized.
Because stimulant use can help people feel more alert, awake, energized, and ultimately, happy, many people abuse this substance. For example, some people may abuse the central nervous system prescription drug stimulant known as Adderall to help them stay alert or stay up late to accomplish more for school or work.
Many other people choose to abuse stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines to help them feel a sense of euphoria to cope with mental illness or addiction triggers. Unfortunately, when people abuse stimulants, they can over-stimulate their systems and cause themselves to experience anxiety, panic, seizures, headaches, stomach cramps, aggression, paranoia, and more. To overcome stimulant addiction, individuals should attend stimulant addiction treatment.
What is a Stimulant Drug?
There are both legal and illegal types of stimulants. People commonly abuse both types of stimulants. Two of the illicit stimulants that people commonly abuse include cocaine and methamphetamine, hence the alarming increase in cocaine and methamphetamine stimulant abuse during the pandemic.
Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant from the coca plant in South America. It usually comes in a white powder form. Crack cocaine comes in a crystallized form. Most people snort powder cocaine and smoke crack cocaine. Most people use cocaine for its euphoric effects.
Signs of cocaine use include:
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Weight loss
Prolonged cocaine use can also cause a loss of appetite and sleep deprivation. Like with most substances, using an extensive amount of cocaine can cause one to not only develop a cocaine addiction, but also to overdose.
Many people overdose on cocaine because they like to mix it with other substances such as opioids, alcohol, heroin, or fentanyl to heighten its effects. To make matters worse, sometimes the side effects of one of the substances mixed in a cocaine solution mask the effects of the other substance, making it harder to detect an overdose when one occurs.
Individuals that suffer from cocaine addiction should attend stimulant addiction treatment as soon as possible, especially if they want to avoid getting to the point of overdosing. Individuals that overdose on cocaine or cocaine drug mixtures should receive emergency medical help as soon as possible, followed by stimulant addiction treatment.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and dangerous stimulant. This substance usually comes in a powder or crystal form. There are many ways that people can use methamphetamine. For example, some people smoke meth while others inject it into their skin.
Effects of methamphetamine use include:
- Extremely high blood pressure
- Severe itching
- Broken teeth and dry mouth
- Cognitive issues
People that abuse meth most often do it for the euphoric rush that it gives them. Once that euphoric rush ends though, people that use meth experience a crash that causes them to become angry, fearful, and overall negative.
Because of how powerful methamphetamine is, many people that use it quickly develop full-fledged meth addictions. Because it’s so easy to develop an addiction to meth, many people also overdose from the substance.
Individuals that abuse meth and develop meth addictions should attend stimulant addiction treatment. Individuals that experience meth overdose should immediately receive emergency medical help and then attend stimulant addiction treatment.
Not all stimulants are illegal. In fact, there are many legal stimulants that come in the form of prescription drugs. Because stimulants help people stay alert, awake, and energized, many doctors prescribe people with ADHD stimulants to help them focus and control their impulses. Doctors will even prescribe some people stimulants to help them treat their narcolepsy or depression.
Common prescription stimulants include:
While prescription stimulants can be very useful in helping people focus, many people abuse prescription stimulants. In fact, many of the people that abuse prescription stimulants don’t even have stimulant prescriptions. Instead, many individuals that don’t have issues paying attention, focusing, or controlling their impulses choose to abuse prescription stimulants to selfishly help themselves get ahead in school or work. Many people that aren’t prescribed stimulants will even abuse the drugs to help them stay awake for extremely long periods of time just to get more work done.
Long-term effects of prescription stimulant abuse include:
- Cardiovascular complications
- Stunted growth in children and teens
Unfortunately, because Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall are all habit-forming drugs, many people that abuse these substances develop stimulant addictions. Individuals that develop prescription stimulant addictions should attend stimulant addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Dangers Caused by Stimulant Addiction
Over time, people that abuse stimulants may cause themselves to increase their tolerance of the drugs. As a result, long-term stimulant abuse can cause people to experience effects that are opposite of normal. For example, people that abuse stimulants long-term may start to feel depressed and down when taking the drugs. This is due to the people’s increased tolerance to the stimulants and their need to consume more powerful stimulants just to function.
Consuming more and more powerful stimulants due to long-term stimulant use can be dangerous though. This is mainly because continuing to consume more and more stimulants that are more and more powerful can cause a person to overdose, and potentially die.
While many people may think that overdosing is the only danger that can occur while abusing stimulants, it isn’t. Persistent stimulant use can also lead to cognitive problems as well as many other health issues (such as cardiac and pulmonary diseases). Also, injecting cocaine or methamphetamine using shared equipment can transmit infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C to people.
Why You Should Receive Addiction Treatment At Florida Center for Recovery During the Pandemic
Although the greatest challenges during this pandemic crisis are changes in drug and alcohol testing and reduced or modified delivery of addiction treatment services such as stimulant addiction treatment, there are rehab facilities that are still providing face-to-face therapeutic treatment.
We here at Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) remain committed to safely and effectively serving those suffering from substance use disorders at our Fort Pierce, Florida rehab facility. With changes to the delivery and setup of our addiction treatment therapies, we are able to continue delivering life-saving treatment, including stimulant addiction treatment. The fact that we also follow CDC guidelines on social distancing and infection control precautions also contributes to our ability to continue delivering life-saving addiction treatment.
One of the advantages that our rehab facility here at Florida Center for Recovery provides over many other treatment centers is our great outdoor environment. Stretching over 12 acres of land, our secluded rehab center offers plenty of outdoor space where social distancing can be practiced. Thus, our rehab patients can experience our private and peaceful grounds throughout the day while taking breaks from therapeutic treatments. By getting exposed to our natural surroundings, our patients get a chance to unwind when stressed. They also get a chance to feel recharged and connected to nature and other rehab patients who are also enjoying our great outdoor setting.
Receive Stimulant Addiction Treatment At Florida Center for Recovery
Here at FCR, we are continuing to look for new and creative ways to enhance our patients’ recovery experience. This includes altering procedures so that our patients can safely receive addiction treatment during this pandemic. Thus, if you or someone you know is struggling with a stimulant addiction or an addiction to some other substance and needs stimulant addiction treatment or some other form of substance addiction treatment during the pandemic, Florida Center for Recovery is the place to receive it. Here at Florida Center for Recovery, you can also receive dual diagnosis treatment for any co-occurring substance addictions and mental illnesses that you may be suffering from.
To learn more about our rehab facility and the various addiction treatment programs, therapies, and services that we offer, contact us today. We will gladly help you receive the information and treatment services that you need. You can also contact us for up-to-date addiction treatment information as COVID-19 is an evolving situation. Together we will get through this, and together we can recover!
Stay safe and healthy.
Dr. Balta is the Medical Director at FCR for more than 10 years. Dr. Balta is Board Certified in Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine, Certified Psychoanalyst. As well, as having Psychiatric Training at The Albert Einstein School of Medicine Psychiatric Residency Program In New York City and Psychoanalytic Training at The William Alanson White Institute in New York City. While working in New York City, gained funding Grants for the treatment of Substance Abuse Disorders from SAMHSA , HRSA and the City of New York.