Stimulant medications help those that have attention problems, and they can also be used to counteract the sedation effects of other prescriptions. There are more than 4.8 million people on these medications. While it’s safe to assume that the vast majority are children, many adults rely on these drugs to function. Though they are well tolerated, stopping these medications is another problem. People will experience many side effects that include psychiatric, neurological, and physical disturbances.
While you may think of stimulants as some of the big pharma names on the market, cocaine, crack cocaine, and meth, are varieties also included in this category. People love the increased energy that it gives them, especially if they suffer from bouts of depression and fatigue. Smoking or injecting these drugs can provide an even bigger punch and bring instant euphoria. These drugs all work in the same manner, but various effects come with each type of drug. Also, you must consider the amount, the length of use, and the history to contemplate side effects.
Understanding Stimulant Withdrawal And Effects
The pleasurable effects are just the opposite during stimulant withdrawal. The symptoms will vary greatly in each person, and it’s directly linked to the influence the drug has had on the brain and nervous system. The nervous system is a complex structure that acts as a hard drive or control center on a computer.
If you pull out a component on the mainframe of your computer, then you will have issues. It may turn on and boot, but it will not function as usual. The same analogy can be used with your body. Your brain has become accustomed to the effects of these drugs. Once you remove the drug, it’s not going to work as before. However, unlike a CPU, your body will learn to reprogram and work around the loss it’s experienced.
The Acute Phase
Stimulant withdrawal can be divided into two distinct phases, acute and protracted. Unfortunately, these phases can last for a couple of months or several years, and there is no way to tell how it will affect a person. The first part of the process, or the acute phase, lasts about ten days. However, the protracted part is ongoing.
During the acute phase, it’s reasonable to have some confusion as well as insecurities. Remember, the brain is lacking a substance it’s become accustomed too, so this causes the psychiatric symptoms to be troublesome. Some people describe this part as being on an emotional roller coaster that they cannot escape. Many people find that their emotions are a trigger for relapse. To them, it seems irrational for counseling or a detox program to help them get over this hurdle.
Going through this phase, people often feel or experience the following:
- Strong Cravings for the Drug
- Insatiable Hunger – Anorexia Behaviors
- Emotional Instability
- Mood Swings
- Agitation and Restlessness
- Suicidal Idealizations
- Delusions and Hallucinations
- Sleepiness and Overwhelming Fatigue
- Nightmares and Sleep Disturbances
- Violent Behaviors
- Loss of Coordination
- Bodily Pains
- Problems Breathing
- Chest Discomfort
- Heart Palpitations – High Blood Pressure – Cardiovascular Problems
The Protracted Phase
You may feel that you have conquered this addiction and can go on with your life. It’s not uncommon for people to think they are done, and then the cravings will come out of nowhere. Triggers are all over the place. Something as simple as passing a street where you once bought drugs can cause cravings and possible relapse. The relapse rates for those that use cocaine are unusually high. Even after years of abstinence, the cravings can be overwhelming.
During the protracted phase, you may be fine one day and struggling the next. Stimulants have a way of hardwiring the brain, and they have a powerful effect for years after use. Anything that cues a memory can bring about cravings as intense as the ones that you experienced in the acute phase.