Prescription stimulants, also referred to as “uppers”, are prescription drugs designed to induce an arousal in physical and/or mental functioning. Stimulants contain ingredients which stimulate the central nervous system causing the body to “wake up”. Typically stimulants cause effects such as wakefulness, heightened alertness, productivity, and motivation. Prescription stimulants are usually prescribed to children and adults suffering from disorders such as ADHD. However, illicit use of prescription stimulants is just as common as prescribed use. Adderall and Ritalin are amongst the most commonly used prescription stimulants.
Stimulants take effect very quickly and efficiently within the body, typically causing users to experience a “high”. The “crash” experienced after the effects of prescription stimulants wear off are usually so uncomfortable that users crave more. Therefore, prescription stimulants are very addictive and can lead to a psychological dependence. Short term effects of prescription stimulants include loss of appetite, increased heart rate and blood pressure, hyperexcitability, and panic. Long term effects of prescription stimulant abuse can use irreversible damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain. Other long term effects include psychosis, depression, risk for seizures and heart attacks/failure, extreme anger and paranoia.
Typically users that take prescription stimulants recreationally abuse the drug. With the body building a tolerance for the stimulants over time, abusers take dangerous doses of stimulants and commonly combine them with other drugs. The dependency on prescription stimulants usually causes intense withdrawal symptoms. Contingent on the user, the withdrawal symptoms will vary in its initial onset and intensity. Stimulant withdrawal can cause symptoms including:
- Intense cravings
- Mood changes; such as anxiety and irritability
- Exhaustion; lack of energy
- Inability to experience pleasure
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