What are prescription stimulants?
Prescription stimulants are a type of medicine that doctors prescribe for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or severe insomnia problems. You may have heard the names Adderall and Ritalin. They are often prescribed in pill form.
Prescription stimulants can help people with ADHD to be more alert, improve focus and concentration, and have more energy.
Why are prescription stimulants misused?
When people who need these medications follow the doctor’s orders and take the correct doses, they can feel better and focus more at school.
But some misuse them to feel euphoria or “high”, to be more alert, or to try to get better grades in school. If someone does not have ADHD, there are no studies that indicate that these medications improve grades; in fact, there could be other reasons why a student is not doing well in school.
How do prescription stimulants work?
Prescription stimulants work on the chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine and change the way the brain works. Dopamine makes a person want to use the drug over and over again. Norepinephrine prepares the body and brain for action.
What are the effects of prescription stimulants on the brain and body?
Stimulants can have unpleasant side effects even when prescribed by a doctor. When misused by a person, they can be very dangerous.
Stimulant misuse can cause:
When doctors prescribe stimulants, they start with low doses and gradually increase them until the patient feels better. When people misuse stimulants, they sometimes take high doses, which is dangerous.
- Increased blood pressure
- Increase in cardiac frequency
- Increased body temperature
- Trouble sleeping
- Angry or angry reactions
- Heart problems
Can I get addicted to prescription stimulants?
Yes, you can. Over time, the misuse of prescription stimulants can change the way the brain works and you can become addicted. Addiction means that you want to keep taking the drug even when bad things start to happen to you, like getting poor grades in school or having problems with your family or friends.
Also, if you suddenly stop taking stimulants, you could have withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be unpleasant and painful and make you feel very bad. That makes it very difficult to stop using these drugs.
That is why it is very important to take stimulants exactly the way your doctor has prescribed.
A person who cannot stop using a drug could be addicted. It doesn’t matter where you live or how smart you are. There is no way to predict who will get addicted.
Proper treatment can help an addicted person feel better and stop misusing prescription stimulants, but recovering from addiction takes effort and can take many years. It is best never to start taking the drug.
What should I do if someone I know needs help?
If you think a friend or family member has a drug problem, immediately speak to a trusted adult, such as your parents, a coach, or a teacher. Remember, there are treatments available and people can get better.
When in doubt, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center should be consulted for life-saving advice as needed. Fortunately, with aggressive treatment, most veterinary patients respond well to amphetamine treatment.