The term Stimulant drugs is a blanket term for substances that impact cognitive and physiological processes, inducing feelings of high energy, concentration and combat tiredness or fatigue. These effects mean these drugs are popular, and often initially serve specific purposes; however the benefits do not last long, and the long-term issues such as respiratory and cardiovascular damage are significant.
Cornerstone offers high quality and sustainable recovery treatment for stimulant addiction. Treatment for stimulant addiction is available through many different methods, and is tailored to your unique, specific requirements. Typically stimulant addiction is treated over 28 days, however Cornerstone is able to be flexible around a person’s condition, commitments and requirements, which may mean staying in our treatment center for longer than 28 days.
Furthermore, it might be necessary to provide a detoxification treatment program, under the care of medical professionals to remove all stimulants from the body before engaging further. This is done in a non-judgemental, safe and empathetic environment.
Different Types of Stimulants
It is possible that your stimulant addiction began after being prescribed medication for behavioral conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD; which is typically treated with the amphetamine Adderall). Adderall has been misused for many years and is often sold illegally. The emergence of methylphenidate, more commonly known as Ritalin has similarly been abused.
Amphetamines like MDMA and other synthetically manufactured amphetamines are also drugs that are easy to misuse. These drugs are often called ‘club drugs’ due to the effects they evoke in the user, such as high energy and euphoria, and so have become widely consumed by young people; use has increased dramatically in recent years. The stigma of these stimulants has reduced and it has become widely available and less expensive to buy. These stimulants are thought to be much more socially acceptable than drugs such as heroin, which has a particular connotation with being destitute. Students and younger people tend to understand stimulant use as being used for parties and special occasions, despite negative side affects and the high risk of addiction and other adverse conditions.
What is Stimulant Addiction?
Misusing stimulants is widespread and runs a far higher risk of addiction and serious harm than people may be aware of, or heed.
Stimulants can be easily obtained due to their high demand as both recreational and purposeful drugs, therefore increasing numbers of people develop dependencies and addictions to stimulants. It is often difficult to know how a person will respond to repeated stimulant use; as the number of people introduced to stimulants increases, the amount of people with a predisposition to addiction find themselves developing harmful addictions to the drugs.
Stimulant drugs are popular, largely, because they cause the brain to generate dopamine, a ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain, which usually is the brains response to things that make us happy, like intimacy or eating food we like. When the drug wears off and our brain is devoid of dopamine, the body begins to crave the feeling of dopamine and therefore requires more stimulants to keep producing chemicals that make us feel good. This is the basic framework of how dependency and addiction takes form.
Chronic stimulant abuse can have a significant impact on numerous parts of your life; it can cause strains and tensions in relationships with family, friends, colleagues, finances and on psychological and physical health. It might not be apparent to the user that these strains and tensions exist, even in our day to day life, but it is usually felt pointedly so by the people around us that care and love us,
The relationship between stimulants and sports has been well known in contemporary news. Many athletes have been named and shamed for abusing stimulants to progress in their chosen sport, allowing them to have a non-ethical lead over their competition and defrauding public trust. There are existing procedures to test for stimulants. However, many people continue to abuse these drugs and sophisticated methods of evasion are often continually being developed.
Stimulants that most often lead to addiction are both illegal and prescription drugs; they can have specific medical purposes or be created purely for recreational purposes, such as;
- Cocaine and crack cocaine
- Amphetamine (speed)
- Methamphetamine (crystal meth)
- MDMA (ecstasy)
These drugs alter the central nervous system by amplifying concentration and cognitive functioning; often believed to be an aid to school or professional work. But by abusing these drugs over time, these benefits are out-weighted by the harmful, significant long-term impact to quality of life, including relationships, psychological and physical health, ability to gain and keep employment or academic qualifications.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Addiction?
Stimulants may induce positive feelings and side affects to begin with; but this is usually always followed by accumulating harmful effects. Despite whether the stimulant is medically prescribed or illegal, they all carry the risk of addiction and both short and long-term issues.
Chronic stimulant use can cause the following communicative and psychological changes when you are not taking them, such as:
- Erratic and unpredictable mood changes from 24 – 48 hours after taking the drug, known as ‘come-downs’.
- Lack of tolerance or patience.
- Experiencing panic attacks and anxiety.
- Insomnia and erratic sleep patterns, requiring a person to use sedatives to cope with this and the ‘come down’ and increased anxiety.
- Using stimulants to facilitate higher alcohol consumption which can lead to secondary addictions.
Chronic, substantial stimulant abuse can cause significant psychological conditions to develop, such as:
- Psychosis – permanent feelings of paranoia
- Auditory hallucinations – hearing things and voices constantly
- Serious incapacitating depression
- Panic disorder – persistent, unbearable panic attacks
- Due to the sudden and intense feelings of euphoria from the release of dopamine, it can lead to dependence on the drug to feel pleasure. When a physical and psychological dependence is developed, a tolerance to stimulants requires the user to take more, and more often in order to feel the same ‘high’.
Short-term Symptoms of Stimulants
Stimulants cause a secondary chemical called norepinephrine to be released from the brain which increases blood pressure, respiratory functions and heart rate, which causes:
- Heightened breathing pace.
- Diminished blood flow.
- Enhanced blood pressure and heart rate.
- Dilated pupils.
- Extreme sweating.
- Chest pains.
Strong doses of stimulant drugs can exacerbate the above symptoms to risky and harmful levels; if the body’s temperature and heart rate rise to a significant point it can cause seizures or heart failure.
What are the Causes of Stimulant Addiction?
At Cornerstone we understand that addictions develop through a psychological process called “Positive Reinforcement”; which means a person is driven to continue patterns of behavior due to a positive outcome as a result; if what we do feels good, we will continue to do it.
Taking drugs offers positive reinforcement in the form of the “high”; a person can feel relaxed, confident, euphoric, focused or able to go without food or sleep, thereby feeling more able, likable and proactive. If the person taking drugs achieves the altered state they were seeking, it is probable they will continue to take it if they don’t feel able to achieve that state naturally, and eventually rely on the drug for that feeling. This pattern of behavior is what differentiates an addiction from occasional or one-time use.
In addition to positive reinforcement, research studies signifies a number of other factors which can make a person more prone to addiction, such as:
- If you have a member of your immediate family that struggles with addiction, research has shown that this increases the risk of developing a drug addiction due to hereditary factors that are aligned with addiction.
- Environmental factors; including living with someone with an addiction or being subjected to witnessing drug addiction or addictive behaviors from a young age can teach a person that this is normal behavior, and not recognize dangerous risks associated with drug use
- If you suffer from a mental health condition or dual diagnosis you may be more susceptible to addiction as a result of self-medicating to alleviate symptoms or to control emotional regulation which over long-term use can exacerbate the condition leading to increased drug use
- Experiencing traumatic or highly stressful life events such as bereavement, divorce or relationship breakdown, unemployment or financial problems, or experiencing a violent or sexual assault can all cause a person to feel the need to use drugs to reduce the symptoms of their trauma or deal with the stress of the situation, which can lead to dependency and addiction
The most typically cited risks that lead to an addiction to stimulants include:
- Taking stimulants to mask feelings of isolation and solitude.
- Pressure from friends or associates.
- Not having reliable or trusted people to confide in.
Treatment for Stimulant Addiction, Including Detox
If you are worried that you, or a person close to you is struggling with an addiction to stimulants you are welcome to contact Cornerstone to discuss your concerns in whatever level of detail you feel comfortable with.
It is also possible to come to our treatment center for a complimentary assessment. For serious cases an appointment can be made immediately with one of our consultant psychiatrists.
The assessment will be the primary step before engaging into our customized treatment program, where the focus will be on understanding your addiction and its underlying causes and consequences. Cornerstone offers a wide variety of therapeutic approaches from a team of experienced practitioners. We understand drug addiction treatment is not effective as a ‘one size fits all’ method. The treatment plan will be implemented taking into consideration the stimulate substance that is abused, the severity of the addiction and whether stimulants are still in the system on arrival to Cornerstone. Following your assessment you will be included in planning an effective and comprehensive treatment plan to assist you through recovery to a bright, positive future, free from stimulant addiction.
Medically Assisted Detoxification Program
If a person is not able to abstain from taking stimulants, it may be necessary to complete a medically assisted detoxification program. In our detox programs at Cornerstone, support from therapists, psychologists and medical professions is available around the clock.
It is vital that detoxification is carried out with care; as sudden withdrawal from stimulants can cause severe complications without the necessary medical care and attention.
This process can last between a few days and a few weeks; dependent on the extent and type of stimulant abused. The detoxification process can appear to be extremely daunting as the first step, but at Cornerstone you will be in the best care possible.
Once the detoxification process is complete, it will then be possible to move onto a specialized, tailored stimulant addiction treatment program, in order to comprehensively understand the underlying causes and consequences of addiction, reducing the likelihood of relapse and increasing the chances of life-long abstinence.
Find out more about our Stimulant Detox Program, call us now: (714)547-5373
Therapy for Stimulant Addiction
After the detoxification process has been completed, treatment for stimulant addiction will typically involve a combination of one to one and group therapy sessions.
The one on one therapy sessions provide a safe and confidential space to review the treatment is developing and giving a chance to express any worries, discuss challenges, or elements of the recovery process you are pleased or proud of. It can be especially powerful to reflect on any changes, emotionally and physically as you move forward in your recovery from stimulant addiction.
Cornerstone provides psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) which has a wealth of empirical evidence as a highly effective problem solving, practical method to uncover the true roots of addiction. It can help recognize what triggers exist, and what led the person to feel compelled to take stimulants, and what they were hoping to achieve, and why they felt unable to tackle them without stimulants.
In individual therapy a person has the space and support to implement and consider new and healthy ways to deal with stressful events and triggers, forgive themselves for failures and to let go of painful memories that stimulants had helped mask. The combination of therapeutic approaches available at Cornerstone can go far to prevent relapse and enable a person to start building a happy future free from addiction.