Many people are vulnerable to substance abuse and chemical dependency, but very few actually understand the impact substance misuse can have on their overall health. One of the most abused substances is prescription and illegal stimulants.
Although they can be dangerous and very addictive, people have been struggling for decades to cope with this problem. That’s why it’s crucial to understand and recognize stimulant dependence so those affected can get proper treatment.
This is a detailed guideline of what to expect with stimulant dependence, or stimulant addiction, including the withdrawal symptoms, impact, and treatment methods. Likewise, we hope our insight into the most common medications used during the stimulant detox process can shed some light into how this addiction is treated.
What Are Stimulants?
Stimulants are a unique group of substances that include medications, illegal drugs (like methamphetamine or cocaine), and legal substances (like nicotine or caffeine). Every stimulant can interfere similarly with the brain and boost mood, energy, focus, and alertness.
They act on the central nervous system and promote cognitive function and awareness. Although these effects are just temporary, research shows they can be very addictive. Illegal drugs and medications are some of the most dangerous ones with potentially life-threatening complications.
By constantly increasing the neurotransmitter release, particularly norepinephrine and dopamine, they alter the chemicals in the brain. Abusing these substances can have psychological and physiological repercussions.
What Is Stimulant Dependence?
Dependence occurs when the body adapts to the drug and requires more of the substance to feel any positive effects. After stopping the drug, the user’s body will elicit a range of different mental and physical symptoms that will make it difficult to avoid the substance. This is called withdrawal.
Addiction, on the other hand, is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening consequence. Patients who’ve developed a dependence, or want more euphoric effects, will use high quantities of the preferred substance. This will result in chronic use, explains the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
For those suffering from stimulant dependence, it’s important to enroll in a medical detox program for stimulant addiction as soon as possible. With proper care and treatment, they will be able to overcome their substance abuse.
Why Is Stimulant Abuse Such a Pressing Issue?
According to the Addiction Medicine Journal, stimulant dependence is a serious problem among the older population, communities with less income, and those with poorer education. The overall rate is 33%, which means that about a third of those populations are dealing with some level of stimulant dependence.
Here is a detailed analysis of the number of people who are abusing stimulants based on SAMHSA statistics.
For an individual to get a stimulant prescription, they would need to have an underlying health condition, for example, ADHD. They would receive a legitimate prescription and be advised to take medicine based on the guidelines provided.
However, a lot of people don’t stick to the guidelines. Instead, they misuse the drug for their personal needs. This predisposes users to dependence or addiction.
A residential treatment center for stimulant abuse in Dallas-Fort Worth, like Stonegate Center, can help anyone dealing with stimulant abuse. At this facility, people get access to constant expert help and supervision.
What Can Stimulant Abuse Do to The Body?
Stimulant abuse is an illness that is commonly referred to as a substance use disorder. Those who are experiencing it have created a dysfunctional way of life that is completely consumed by their substance abuse.
The effect of the stimulant will depend on the type of product used. Some last for a few minutes, while others can persist well over a couple of hours. But every stimulant has one thing in common: the capability to accelerate the central nervous system.
By altering the neurotransmitters, they interfere with the neurons (primary nerve cells) in the brain to trigger all sorts of involuntary physical reactions. This is what experts call the “fight or flight” reflex.
The moment the body reacts to the substance, it can experience:
- Quickened heart rate
- Narrow blood vessels
- Increased blood sugar levels
- Expanded airways
- High body temperature
But that’s not all. These stimulants can alter the neurotransmitter levels outside the autonomic and sympathetic nervous systems. In other words, it can affect the center for pleasure and limbic system. That’s why users experience that overwhelming sensation euphoria.
This can lead to increased tolerance and mind-altering effects. Users will lose control of the drug intake and find it difficult to quit. No matter how hard they try, they will keep coming back for more.
If you or a loved one is suffering from stimulant abuse, check out our stimulant addiction treatment center for men in Texas or our stimulant addiction treatment center for women in Texas! It’s in your best interest to seek medical attention as fast as possible.
Symptoms of Stimulant Dependence
Before you ask for treatment, you have to recognize the issue. When someone is dependent on a substance and tries to quit, their body will experience withdrawal. The same thing can happen if a person abruptly reduces the dosage.
The psychological withdrawal symptoms from stimulants can be debilitating. That’s why many former users are vulnerable to relapse.
Each individual will experience withdrawal symptoms differently. Their impact will vary based on their metabolism, tolerance, history of abuse, and health state. Typical stimulant withdrawal is easy to recognize from the drastic mood changes, but they can also be accompanied by:
- Body pain
- Delayed speech
- Extreme weight loss
- Increased appetite
- Numb senses
- Reduced heart rhythm
- Slowed movements
- Weakened memory
If you recognize the symptoms, try our 90-day stimulant abuse treatment program for men, also known as Stonegate Center Creekside. You should deal with the addiction as quickly as you can. That way, you can get your life back on track.
What About Pregnant Women?
According to the National Institutes of Health, stimulant abuse during pregnancy is a widespread problem. In the United States, stimulants are the second most abused substances during pregnancy. They expose babies to serious health complications, like:
- Cognitive impairment
- Early delivery
- Fetal death
- Poor weight
- Structural abnormalities
Expectant mothers who are struggling with stimulant abuse should enroll in an inpatient stimulant rehab center for women or any other gender-separate treatment facility. That way, they can treat their addiction and boost their odds for a healthy delivery.
How Long Does It Take to Detox from Stimulants?
The detox process will vary for each individual. It depends on how much the drug has been used, the metabolic rate, health state, and more. Overall, the withdrawal symptoms kick in a couple of hours after the last dose. Certain psychological symptoms, like anxiety, can continue months after quitting.
Here is how a typical stimulant withdrawal timeline looks like.
With PAWS (post-acute withdrawal symptoms), symptoms can last from 12 to 18 months. As the treatment progresses, the severity of the symptoms will gradually decrease.
The safest option for a successful detox is at a medical facility. That’s why a stimulant addiction treatment center in Texas can give you the assistance you need. With the help of professionals, you will learn to manage your symptoms and control your withdrawal. They will make sure that the entire detox process is efficient and easier to cope with.
Treatment for Stimulant Dependence
- Over 100 different medications have been tested in the last 30 years, but there is not a single drug that is meant to treat stimulant use disorder.
Medical detox is the primary step to a healthy recovery. During detox, patients will stop taking the substance they are addicted to and will go through a withdrawal phase. With careful abstinence and constant supervision, they will be able to treat the addiction.
Medication plays a predominant role in treating any kind of substance abuse, including stimulant dependence. Even though there aren’t any medications that will cure the stimulant abuse disorder, there are those that can help patients manage their health problems.
Some prescription medications were found to be an effective choice for managing stimulant abuse. More research is necessary to study the full extent of these medications but they’ve proven to be effective so far.
What Kind of Treatment Can You Expect?
Patients with acute withdrawal can receive proper medication treatment at any hospital or inpatient facility, like our residential treatment center for stimulant abuse in Dallas-Fort Worth.
If patients experience any health complications, they will be admitted to medical units. Those suffering from PSUD (psychoactive substance use disorder) as a chronic health issue can get both outpatient or residential treatment.
Right now, there is a range of different treatment opportunities for overcoming addiction or dependence, which explains the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The type of medication they will receive will greatly depend on their physical and mental state. They will also receive cognitive behavioral therapy, individual or group therapy. These are common psychological treatments often paired with medication.
Here is a detailed guideline of the medications used during stimulant dependence treatment.
Medications for Stimulant Dependence
Treating an addiction is a huge undertaking. Not only do users have to cope with their psychological challenges, but the physical ones as well. Medications are effective in treating both of these health issues. They interfere differently with the brain and work on the body from the inside.
Simply put, medications are an effective strategy for managing stimulant dependence. They are designed to manage the detoxification process, control the withdrawal, and alleviate any psychiatric disorders that are contributing to substance abuse.
With constant technological advances, researchers have identified multiple medications that can help with stimulant dependence. Their powerful effects can help patients start with their abstinence and prevent relapse.
Typical treatments combine medications with behavioral therapy. Many of these medications have created amazing results.
According to clinical records, they’ve shown to be effective in patients struggling with cocaine dependence. Here is a detailed overview of the medications used during stimulant dependency treatment.
Medication for Abstinence Initiation
Multiple studies show that the withdrawal symptoms can get so severe that outpatient users will turn to inpatient treatment, just to get that sense of security and assurance.
Stimulant withdrawal symptoms, such as paranoia, depression, and nervousness, make it difficult for patients to quit any drug.
Specifically, selected medications can make the process go a lot smoother. Options like the Propranolol, Bupropion, and Modafinil are designed for curbing the severe symptoms and reducing their intensity. Here is more information about each medicine in detail.
The most effective medicine for abstinence is Modafinil. It’s an approved treatment for managing narcolepsy and stimulant abuse. Although it acts as a mild stimulant, it can drastically reduce the withdrawal issues and help chronic stimulant abusers abstain from drugs.
According to one double-blind study, Modafinil blocked cocaine-induced euphoric effects effectively in human trials. The drug improved blood pressure and heart rate in cocaine-dependent patients. It also controlled the euphoric effects of the drug, which makes it a lot easier to deal with the withdrawal issues.
Bupropion is a go-to choice for treating depression and stopping smoking habits. The chemicals in the drug can interact with the nerve cells and increase noradrenaline and dopamine levels. It’s considered a controlled substance with relieving compounds for stimulant withdrawal.
Propranolol is another promising medication. It is a beta-blocker that could have the potential to treat severe withdrawal symptoms.
Experts use this type of medicine, mainly for managing hypertension and angina. However, its pharmacological effect can be useful for managing neurotransmitter adrenaline and anxiety.
This makes it an effective strategy for curbing stimulant dependence. In one open trial, Propranolol proved to be a safe and well-tolerated medication for stimulant abuse. By interfering with the adrenaline in the body, the chemicals in the pill can help reduce anxiety.
Since those struggling with stimulant dependence often deal with anxiety and depression, this kind of medication may prove useful. Based on a different trial, Propranolol helps patients finish their 7-week outpatient program 60% faster.
That’s incredibly beneficial for those who just developed a dependency on stimulants. The only real drawback is that the drug might not be a safe option for patients who already experienced cocaine-induced heart issues.
Medication for Preventing Relapse
After stimulant-dependent patients have kept a set period of abstinence, they must start with the most difficult treatment stage: relapse prevention. Relapse is one of the most difficult, draining, and time-consuming challenges patients have to overcome.
It is so easy to turn back to old habits, but remember that the moment you turn back, all the efforts are in vain. That’s why many experts rely on pharmacological tactics to prevent a relapse.
So far, however, there is not a single drug for treating stimulant dependence that’s approved by the FDA. Therefore, more research is necessary to confirm the full extent of using medications such as these.
GVG or Gamma-Vinyl GABA is a typical drug used for managing epilepsy. The chemical compound in the pill is meant to break down the GABA neurotransmitters and help the brain concentrate better.
Since stimulants are also interfering with brain focus and concentration, GVG could prove effective for alleviating stimulant dependence.
GVG has shown to be effective for stimulant treatment in 2 separate trials. Data suggests that these drugs can be an effective strategy for avoiding relapse. This is a practical approach for controlling the psychosocial and behavioral issues of stimulant dependence.
2. GABA Enhancers
Medications like GABA Enhancers can help curb the cravings and block the euphoria caused by stimulant abuse. To achieve that, these medications must counterbalance the effect of the stimulants and interact with the central nervous system.
The chemical compounds in GABA medication, for example, suggest that they will regulate the dopamine response and help patients cope with the cravings. They work on the body from the inside out to deliver worthy results.
A 6-day inpatient study evaluated the effects of GABA medication on stimulant dependence. Based on the reports, the medication help boost the therapeutic effects of treatment gradually while minimizing the possible side effects of cocaine-addicted patients.
Volunteers were divided into three different experimental sessions. The different sessions allowed patients’ physiological and subjective responses to return to normal before they received the next dose. It seems that the medication could prove effective for this type of treatment, but more research is necessary to confirm the claim.
This medication is currently being used for treating seizures and increasing the GABA levels in the brain. But, since the drug is well-tolerated, it could also prove effective for stimulant dependence.
One particular study that evaluated 45 opiate and cocaine-dependent patients analyzed the possible implications of this particular drug. Based on the results, the number of cocaine-free samples in the urine increased by 33%. These results were noted in the group that received 24mg of Tiagabine on a daily basis.
Disulfiram is a typical medicine for treating alcoholism. Its main properties are to block the enzymes that are breaking down the alcohol and cause unpleasant reactions—patients who take this medicine experience a reinforced desire to stop their drinking habits.
The exact same benefits could be used for treating stimulant dependence. Multiple studies have shown a beneficial effect of the drug for assisting with cocaine abstinence in patients with cocaine use disorders.
Disulfiram has been evaluated in numerous trials to see whether or not it has the potency to deal with stimulant dependence. So far, the trials have proved positive, which is why patients can rely on this particular medicine.
Topiramate is an anticonvulsant medicine designed for managing alcohol dependence. But, for patients to avoid any cognitive adverse effects, they should slowly increase the prescribed dose from 4 to 8 weeks. As a result, all the research that studied the effects of this drug evaluated its impact after multiple weeks of treatment.
Based on the reports, patients who abused cocaine and took Topiramate to treat the dependence noticed positive results. They had reduced their substance abuse and managed to abstain much longer.
However, patients who had used both alcohol and cocaine had a much harder time of abstaining from substance abuse. The drug also proved ineffective in methadone-dependent patients who had co-occurring opioid abuse.
The effects of the Topiramate seemed to be the most effective at the start of treatment. This makes it an efficient relapse-prevention tactic for patients who are in their initial phase of abstinence. But, for further treatment, they might need more potent and long-term medication.
6. Vaccine TA-CD
This is another promising treatment for stimulant dependence. The drug can promote the production of antibodies and bind to the cocaine molecules that affect the central nervous system. Therefore, the vaccine can decrease the euphoric properties of cocaine and reinforce a detox effect. Although these results are just preliminary, it seems that the TA-CD vaccine has potential.
Stimulant dependence is a hard problem to treat. But it’s not impossible. What matters is that you recognize the issue early on and get on-time treatment. With the information listed here, anyone can spot a stimulant dependence. Once you’ve recognized the health problem, you can get proper treatment. The most effective methods are medications combined with behavioral therapies.
hallucination by Gan Khoon Lay from the Noun Project
depression by Marie Van den Broeck from the Noun Project
anxiety by Marco Fleseri from the Noun Project
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