The category of stimulant drugs covers a wide range of substances, from caffeine to methamphetamine. The illegal stimulants tend to cause the most concern, although in recent years there is also an increasing danger from ‘legal highs‘.
What are Stimulant Drugs?
Stimulant drugs (aka uppers) work by ‘exciting’ the central nervous system, which produces effects such as increased levels of alertness and energy. This substance also excites the body generally, so those taking the drug will experienced elevated pulse and respiratory rates. The stimulant effect is experienced as pleasurable, and this type of substance is popular because it means that people can party late into the night without feeling tired. It is also the reason why individuals tend to drink a lot of coffee when they are working or studying late.
Some of the most prevalent stimulants include:
- crack cocaine.
Why Do People Take Stimulant Drugs?
Stimulant drugs are popular because many people like the effect of increased energy and concentration levels. The stronger stimulants such as cocaine can also mean that the person experiences a boost to confidence on top of a sensation of euphoria. An individual may enjoy the effects of these substances so much after the first time that they want to keep on experiencing the effect. The comedown from these drugs is very unpleasant though, meaning those that take them become caught up in a situation in which they need to keep on taking stimulants in order to feel okay.
How People Become Addicted to Strong Simulants
The first time a person tries illegal stimulants such as cocaine they will typically enjoy the effects and will have a physical urge to use again afterwards. This gives the person the idea that this substance is relatively harmless, so he or she will use it again in the future. The slide into addiction is usually so subtle that the person does not notice a thing but once hooked, the drug becomes something that he or she needs to have.
The Danger of Stimulant Drugs
The specific dangers of stimulants will depend on the type being used at the time. There are negative effects associated with caffeine and chocolate, but the illegal drugs tend to be the most dangerous. Some of the negative effects of taking these can include:
- damage to the cardiovascular system
- a drug such as cocaine can easily trigger a heart attack
- ulcers in the stomach and intestines
- tissue damage to the structure of the nose
- stimulant use can trigger a cardiovascular accident (stroke)
- smoking drugs such as crack can cause serious damage to the lungs
- stimulants can trigger seizures
- sexual dysfunction
- kidney dysfunction
- exacerbation of mental illness
- intense paranoia
- aggressive behaviour.
Those who become dependent on stimulant drugs can find that it takes over their life completely. The individual may become willing to do almost anything to get their hands on more of the drug. Substances such as meth can totally alter a person’s personality and make it almost impossible for him or her to function well in society.
One of the other dangers with abuse of drugs such as meth and coke is that it can lead to a syndrome known as anhedonia. The pleasurable feelings associated with this substance are created due to high dopamine levels in the brain. When the person stops using the drug, it can lead to a type of rebound effect in which the dopamine levels become lower than normal. This means that it can be hard for the person to experience pleasure if they are not high.