Knoxville Stimulant Addiction Treatment
Providing Comprehensive Addiction Support in Tennessee
When we talk about our country’s drug crisis today, we typically refer to the growing opioid epidemic. But one class of drugs has always been an issue and is known to be highly addictive: stimulants. Countless Americans abuse stimulants every year, whether they have a prescription to treat an ailment or purchased illicit drugs off the street. In 2012 alone, there were an estimated 1.2 million nonmedical users of prescription stimulants in the United States, and around 360,000 individuals received treatment for stimulant addictions.
Many people don’t even realize they have an addiction because they abuse stimulants purely to enhance performance. If you suspect that you or a loved one have an addiction, call Tennessee Wellness Center today for help. We have specialized treatments for many types of addictions, including stimulant addiction, and are available to serve you from our Knoxville facility.
What Are Stimulants?
Stimulants are a class of drugs that act on the central nervous system, or stimulate it—hence the name—to increase cognitive function. Individuals become more alert when the drug increases the amounts of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals then work to improve concentration and decrease feelings of tiredness, which is why stimulants are typically prescribed to individuals with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Some of the most popular prescription stimulants available include:
- Adderall: Perhaps the most popular and well-known ADHD treatment drug, Adderall is the most commonly prescribed amphetamine that helps affected individuals pay attention and controls behavioral issues. It can also be used to treat narcolepsy. However, it’s also widely abused and is popular among high school and college students who use it to increase performance in school.
- Ritalin: Known as a methylphenidate and not an amphetamine, Ritalin is more mild but still has the same effects that Adderall has, such as increased focus on activities and improved listening skills.
- Dexedrine: This stimulant was popular among members of the military and special forces because of its ability to keep soldiers awake during tiring missions like extended combat operations and nighttime bombings.
- Ephedrine: This drug is typically used on people with asthma or those suffering from wheezing or shortness of breath, and it can also prevent low blood pressure. It’s also commonly used in meth labs, though it’s available over the counter, too.
- Modafinil and Armodafinil: These prescription drugs are used to treat narcolepsy and certain sleep disorders. They promote wakefulness and alertness.
- Phenylpropanolamine (PPA): Although it has been largely discontinued due to safety concerns, PPA was once used as a nasal decongestant and appetite suppressant.
Prescription stimulants are often taken orally, but they can also be snorted or injected, which is more common among people with stimulant addictions.
It’s just as important to know that stimulants also include illicit stimulants that people purchase off the street, such as the following:
- Methamphetamine: A potent and illegal stimulant that has a high potential for abuse and addiction.
- Cocaine: A powerful stimulant derived from the coca plant and commonly used recreationally. It is illegal in most countries.
- Bath Salts: A synthetic designer drug that often contains amphetamine-like substances and can have severe, dangerous effects.
- 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA): Commonly known as ecstasy or Molly, this synthetic drug has both stimulant and hallucinogenic effects.
Common street names for stimulant drugs include:
Common Signs of Stimulant Addiction
Stimulant addiction, whether it involves substances like amphetamines, cocaine, or other stimulants, can be characterized by a range of signs and symptoms. It's important to recognize these signs early to seek help and support for individuals struggling with stimulant addiction. Common signs of stimulant addiction include:
- Cravings: Individuals with a stimulant addiction often experience intense and persistent cravings for the substance. These cravings can become all-consuming and difficult to resist.
- Increased Tolerance: Over time, individuals may need larger amounts of the stimulant to achieve the desired effects, as their body becomes more tolerant to the substance.
- Withdrawal Symptoms: When not using the stimulant, individuals may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include depression, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and intense cravings. Withdrawal symptoms often lead to continued drug use to avoid these discomforts.
- Loss of Control: People with stimulant addiction find it challenging to control their drug use. They may use more frequently or in larger amounts than originally intended, and unsuccessful attempts to cut down or control use are common.
- Neglecting Responsibilities: Individuals may neglect their responsibilities at work, school, or home due to their drug use. They might miss important appointments, perform poorly in their duties, or abandon personal obligations.
- Social and Interpersonal Problems: Stimulant addiction can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Individuals may become isolated, and their behavior may lead to conflicts and alienation.
- Physical and Mental Health Issues: Chronic stimulant use can lead to various physical and mental health problems, including heart issues, dental problems, weight loss, anxiety, paranoia, and mood disturbances.
- Neglecting Hobbies and Interests: As addiction takes hold, individuals often lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. They may prioritize drug use over hobbies, sports, and other interests.
- Secrecy and Deception: People struggling with addiction often become secretive about their drug use and may go to great lengths to hide it from others. They may also engage in deceptive behavior to obtain the substance.
- Financial Problems: Maintaining a stimulant addiction can be expensive. Individuals may deplete their savings, borrow money, or engage in illegal activities to support their habit.
- Legal Issues: The illegal use of certain stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine can lead to legal problems, including arrests and criminal charges.
- Neglect of Self-Care: Addicted individuals may neglect basic self-care, including proper nutrition, hygiene, and sleep, which can further exacerbate health problems.
Short & Long-Term Effects of Stimulant Abuse
Plenty of individuals abuse stimulants because it allows them to perform well at school or work, though many also enjoy the euphoric feelings and increased energy it brings. However, stimulant addiction can also create a variety of cardiovascular problems both short and long-term that can be dangerous and have a lasting impact on your life.
Some short-term effects to be aware of include:
- Increased respiration
- Decreased appetite
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Muscle shakes or tremors
In some cases, stimulant abuse can result in sudden death, which is why using stimulants is always dangerous. When a person abuses stimulants over time, they increase the possibility of developing life-threatening health issues that can be difficult to treat. Some of these long-term consequences include chronic exhaustion, breathing problems, muscle deterioration, reduced sexual functioning, and cerebral hemorrhage. Some people suffer from seizures or strokes later in life that are connected to stimulant addiction.
How We Treat Stimulant Addiction
Stimulant addiction, like any addiction, has been known to ruin lives. Individuals who are addicted to illicit substances like crystal meth often spend a lot of money seeking out and purchasing the drug, and people addicted to prescription medications are known to lie or “doctor shop” to obtain more prescriptions.
If you’ve found that you’ve had to take more stimulants to achieve the same high and that you feel bad when you’re not on the drug, you may have an addiction. At Tennessee Wellness Center, our whole-person approach to treatment involves everything from group therapy sessions and partial hospitalization to aftercare services. Our team of experts has successfully treated stimulant addiction before and knows how to get you safely on the path to sobriety.