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Stimulants are sometimes prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as asthma, respiratory problems, obesity, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sleep disorders like narcolepsy.

This class of drug is often abused for its ability to produce euphoric effects or to counteract sluggish feelings induced by tranquilizers or alcohol.  In the hands of young adults, stimulants are taken to stay awake, increase alertness and concentration, boost energy, and get high.  Sometimes people go beyond swallowing these pills.  If they are prescribed drugs for ADHD, they can save up their pills during the week and share them with friends at weekend parties.  They then crush and snort them, or mix with alcohol.  Some students also report saving and selling their own ADD drugs around exam time.

Examples of Stimulants

  • Amphetamines and dextroamphetamine are stimulant drugs whose effects are similar to cocaine.
  • Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug that is part of a larger family of amphetamines.
  • Methylphenidate is a central nervous system stimulant. It has effects similar to, but stronger than, caffeine and less potent than amphetamines.

Street Names for Stimulants

Benzos, xanies, xani-bars, xani-bombs, and roofies

Short-term effects:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased appetite
  • Loss of coordination
  • Collapse
  • Increased heart and respiratory rates
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Headache
  • Flushed skin
  • Chest pain with palpitations
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps.

Long Term Effects

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Anxiety and delusions
  • Hostility and aggression
  • Panic
  • Suicidal, or homicidal tendencies
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
Addiction and Withdrawl

Withdrawal symptoms may include depression, disturbance of sleep patterns, fatigue, and apathy. Overdose or death is preceded by high fever, convulsions, and heart failure. Since death in these cases is partially due to strain on the heart, physical exercise increases the risks of stimulant use.

Interactions with Stimulants

Stimulant abuse often goes along with the use of other substances like alcohol, other prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and the use of illegal substances like marijuana.

Combining the following substances with Stimulant can be highly dangerous:

Alcohol – People who use alcohol and stimulants together are likely to drink more before feeling the effects of alcohol because of the stimulant effects. The result? When the stimulant effect(s) wear off, the alcohol kicks in.

Prescription drugs - Stimulants should only be used in combination with other medications under a physician's careful supervision.

Over-the-counter drugs - There are dangers associated with mixing stimulants and over the counter drugs that contain decongestants. Blood pressure can become dangerously high or lead to irregular heart rhythms.

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