People get tired and run out of energy. This is a natural occurrence and a necessary limitation on the human body. To compensate for this, many people use substances known as stimulants to boost their energy levels, awareness, and ability to concentrate. Unfortunately, stimulants are also immensely habit-forming, and with the sheer number of people who are steadily falling into heavy dependence on the substance, there is a clear need for stimulant addiction treatment facilities.
Why are Stimulants so Addictive?
Many people have come to see anything that gives them an extra boost as a necessity. This is why coffee, energy drinks, over-the-counter stimulants and cigarettes are among the bestsellers any store could ever have. Coffee is the most popular source of caffeine, while cigarettes have nicotine, which are both legal stimulants. Energy drinks have a variety of ingredients that give people a small energy boost, mostly coming from caffeine, sugar, and legal stimulants such as guarana, taurine, and L-carnitine.
Prescription stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, however, provide a bigger boost when taken. These medications can give a person significantly improved concentration and alertness, which is why they are used to treat conditions like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) where people find it nearly impossible to focus on anything. Illegal stimulants such as amphetamines, methamphetamines (meth), and cocaine provide the biggest boost of all, along with the greatest risk of addiction. There are many instances where people get hooked after trying these illegal substances just once.
This is because apart from the alertness, focus, and energy boost provided by stimulants, they also give a feeling of euphoria when used. The euphoric feeling combined with the added energy and focus is more than enough to hook practically anyone, and more often than not, a “trial” of stimulant use gives way to chronic use and then full addiction.
How Many Americans have a Stimulant Addiction?
Data taken from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health revealed some highly disturbing statistics relevant to stimulant addiction.
- In 2020, at least 758,000 people aged 12 and above abused prescription stimulants
- At least 10.3 million Americans (7% of the US population) misused a type of central nervous system stimulant in the past year
- Roughly one-third of the 10.3 million Americans who abused stimulants used cocaine
- Another one-third of the 10.3 million Americans who abused stimulants used prescription stimulants only
- Roughly 1 in 7 of the 10.3 million Americans who abused stimulants used methamphetamine
How Does Stimulant Addiction Begin?
Stimulant addiction often begins in seemingly harmless ways, such as when a student is having a hard time catching up and is offered some “help” by a classmate who was already into stimulants. For professionals, it is mostly due to the immense pressure at work where any advantage would be welcome. In both instances, the prevailing thought is that “something this good can’t be all that bad,” as the initial benefits of stimulant use overshadow the gradual addiction that the user is already developing.
The fact that there are prescription medications with stimulants as an active ingredient makes this substance relatively easy to get. It is no secret that stimulants are among the easiest street drugs to purchase, which adds to the dilemma of state authorities desperately trying to stop the distribution and sale of the substance.
In practically every stimulant addiction scenario, any kind of preventive instinct a person might have relevant to addiction seemingly shuts off or is completely ignored mostly because there is evidence that stimulant use produced favorable results. This alone makes the entire “just say no” argument quite difficult to push, as the alternative could mean going back to the “inferior version” of the stimulant user.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Addiction?
Stimulants directly affect the brain, and as such, the effects are bound to be pronounced in almost every aspect of the body, including fine motor control, behavior and attitude, and even cognitive functions.
Depending upon the extent of stimulant use, a person who is hooked on this substance could manifest a number of these signs and symptoms, or perhaps even all of them. Most of these symptoms could come and go also depending upon the extent of stimulant use. Treatments like a medically-assisted treatment program are highly beneficial in this scenario.