Stimulants are drugs that raise the activity of your nervous system, causing increased heart rate, breathing, and brain function. They can create more alertness, increase attention span, and cause a rise in energy levels.
There are legal and illegal stimulants, which can be natural or synthetic. Legal stimulants have been used to treat illness, but there are also legal stimulants that aren’t drugs at all. Let’s take a look at the legal stimulants, their uses, and their effects on the body.
Amphetamines are a legal stimulant that is only available with a prescription. These come in pill form and are prescribed to treat an illness. Amphetamines are more commonly known by brand names such as Ritalin and Adderall. They are given to patients with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). They are generally prescribed to be taken every day as part of a treatment regimen. They can help improve concentration and focus for someone suffering from an attention disorder.
They are often abused by people who don’t have ADD or ADHD but want the effects it produces. Students under academic pressure often take them in order to stay awake and focus better on their studies. Dependency on amphetamines can occur if someone takes them frequently and ends up needing them in order to function normally.
While it has been debated that nicotine itself is about as harmful as another common legal stimulant, caffeine, when it is smoked in a cigarette, the user is getting over 4,000 other chemicals along with it. When tobacco is smoked, nicotine is absorbed into the lungs and moves into the bloodstream. It reaches the brain less than 10 seconds after it’s inhaled. Chewing tobacco or gum enters the system through mucus membranes. It increases heart rate and may cause a rise in dopamine, the happy chemical found in the brain. The risk of addiction to nicotine is high.
Nicotine can also be ingested through electronic cigarettes which don’t produce the smoke associated with traditional cigarettes. A user inhales a vapor containing the drug.
Of the legal stimulants, this one is the most commonly “used” and widely accepted. Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, sodas, and chocolate. Statistics show that 90 percent of Americans consume caffeine in some form every day. Many people drink coffee in the morning in order to help them wake up, or drink soda in the afternoon to beat the mid-day slump. It increases your heart rate and makes you more alert. There are many varied studies on the effects of caffeine. Some studies say it's fine in moderation while others claim you’re better off without it.
The risk of addiction is high because quitting caffeine can be difficult. Withdrawal symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, and irritability. It can take one to seven hours for it to leave the body, but the resulting symptoms can last for days. People who want to quit caffeine should wean themselves off it to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Just because these stimulants are legal doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous or don’t pose a risk of addiction or other harm. Someone taking amphetamines should always be under a doctor’s care. A smoker should think about the risks of smoking and consider quitting.
Someone who depends on caffeine too much should try to find healthier ways to manage. Addiction can come in many forms, and it doesn’t always mean through the use of illegal substances.
Get Help for Stimulant Addiction at Freedom Detox
If you're having problems with stimulant abuse, or addiction of any kind, Freedom Detox can help. We offer affordable outpatient treatment programs for alcohol and drug addiction in Charlotte, NC. If you feel like you're about to fall off the wagon, please call us today and get the help you need. If you've already wandered from your sober path, call and learn how to get refocused with our amazing holistic treatment programs. All you have to do is get in touch with us online or pick up the phone and give us a ring at (877) 207-8882.