Stimulant prescription drugs are used to treat a variety of health issues, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, the misuse of stimulants has the potential to cause short and long-term health issues. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “At high doses, prescription stimulants can lead to a dangerously high body temperature, an irregular heartbeat, heart failure, and seizures.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers a continuum of care and evidence-based treatment services to individuals and families affected by the misuse of stimulant prescription drugs.

What Are Stimulant Prescription Drugs?

Prescription stimulants are primarily used to help increase alertness, attention, energy, and focus. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), “Prescription stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine.” Dopamine directly affects the reward centers of the brain, and norepinephrine “affects blood vessels, blood pressure and heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing.” Dopamine dysregulation has the potential to cause impulsive behaviors and reduce feelings of pleasure caused by everyday activities.

Some common prescription stimulant drugs include:

  • Ritalin
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Adderall
  • Biphetamine

Using prescription stimulant drugs in any way other than as prescribed can lead to severe illness or injury. Even a short period of misuse can potentially cause paranoia, psychosis, and uncharacteristic aggression. Most people who misuse stimulant medications have co-occurring disorders, and the symptoms may increase or become more severe due to substance misuse. Early treatment is the best way to avoid long-term health side effects.

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Common Signs Someone Is Misusing Stimulant Prescription Drugs

Some people may have difficulty recognizing the signs of medication misuse when the potential side effects overlap with symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders. However, physical side effects, behavioral changes, and disordered thinking often indicate dependency or addiction.

A few warning signs someone is misusing prescription stimulants include:

  • “Doctor shopping” or going to multiple doctors, including online telehealth clinics, to get multiple prescriptions for the same drug
  • Secretive behavior
  • Hoarding medication
  • Excessive energy
  • Risk-taking and impulsive behaviors
  • Changes in appetite leading to significant weight loss
  • Uncontrollable twitching or fidgeting
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Appearing hyperfocused on specific goals or activities
  • Racing thoughts and difficulty focusing on everyday tasks
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Anxiety
  • Hair loss
  • Extreme mood swings

Everyone reacts to stimulants differently. In addition, the signs and symptoms of addiction exist along a spectrum. A clinical assessment is the best way to determine if someone misuses prescription stimulants. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses comprehensive assessments and screening tools to accurately diagnose and treat substance use disorder (SUD) and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Potential Long-Term Health Side Effects

Physical and mental health side effects impact a person’s overall well-being and ability to recover from SUD. The effects depend on various factors, including how long a person misuses the drug, at what dose, and the presence of alcohol or other drugs. Chronic misuse of prescription stimulants has the potential to permanently damage organs and cause other severe health issues.

The most common long-term health side effects of misusing prescription stimulants include:

  • Increased risk of heart disease
  • Dopamine depletion
  • Permanent damage to neuron receptors
  • A decrease in gray matter within the brain
  • Depression

The side effects of prescription stimulant abuse also include executive dysfunction and memory problems. According to the previously mentioned article by NIDA, “If the drug is injected, it is important to note that sharing drug injection equipment and having impaired judgment from drug misuse can increase the risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis.”

Community Effects of Misusing Stimulant Prescription Drugs

Damage caused by misusing stimulants reaches far beyond the individual and often has a devastating effect on career, personal, and relationship goals. Entire communities are affected by the misuse of substances like prescription stimulants.

Prescription stimulant misuse affects individuals and communities by doing the following:

  • Increasing tension and stress between loved ones
  • Causing separation or divorce between couples
  • Increasing financial instability due to job loss or other factors
  • Causing parents to lose custody of a child
  • Rising crime rates and reliance on community support programs

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab understands the far-reaching effects of SUD and provides a continuum of care to ensure clients receive the level of support they need to heal and thrive during recovery. The care team works to educate individuals and families, increasing community education on mental health and substance abuse.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Treatment Options at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Often, clients have multiple active disorders and underlying issues affecting their ability to heal. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab has the resources to effectively diagnose and treat SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders. The clinical team is certified to provide primary mental health treatment alongside addiction recovery support services. Treating all health issues simultaneously reduces the risk of relapse and provides clients with a firm foundation for future long-term recovery.

Clients play an active role in their treatment by collaborating with the clinical team to create a personalized care plan. In many cases, multiple therapeutic methods are combined to support clients in recovery.

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses the following services to treat SUD:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Peer support
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Naturopathic and other alternative holistic therapies

The care team looks at the core root cause of addictive behaviors and helps clients process underlying issues contributing to their substance misuse.