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Stimulant (CNS) Drugs Detox

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CNS Stimulants Detox Program

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drugs are prescription medications that have therapeutic effects, including increased attention and alertness. These medications are prescribed to treat mental health disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and sleep disorders like narcolepsy, and they work effectively when they are taken as prescribed. Unfortunately, CNS stimulants are medications that are often abused. Stimulant abuse is highest among high school-aged and college-aged students who use them for added focus, attention, and concentration while studying. Some people use CNS stimulants as a means to lose weight and as party drugs (due to the stimulant effects, it allows users to drink more alcohol but stay alert).

The first step to recovery from CNS stimulants is detoxification. Attending a medically supervised detox program will provide you with the safety, support, and comfort you need as your body rids itself of substances.

What Is CNS Stimulant Abuse and Detoxification?

Stimulants like Adderall help people suffering from disorders like ADHD. They decrease the symptoms and severity of the disorder and allow individuals to focus better and control their behavior. However, because of the effects of CNS stimulants, they have a high potential for abuse, which can lead to addiction.

Anytime you take a prescription medication in a manner other than how it’s prescribed, it can be considered abuse. When you obtain or take stimulants in any of the following ways, it’s likely abuse:

  • Using larger doses than prescribed
  • Using the medication more often than prescribed
  • Using it by chewing, crushing, or snorting
  • Using stimulants for reasons other than the condition it was prescribed for (to stay awake, to be alert, for weight loss, etc.)
  • Using someone else’s prescribed medication
  • Using stimulants that have been purchased for recreational use

It’s recommended that CNS stimulant users who have become addicted to the drug, seek help in a detox program. In this type of program, you will be closely monitored for any symptoms that need medical attention.

The Effects of CNS Stimulant Abuse on The Body

Stimulants increase your body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. When they are taken in high dosages or they are abused, it can cause serious medical issues, including seizures, stroke, and heart attacks. In fact, sudden cardiac death can be a potential side effect of overdose of stimulants.

When used in lower dosages, but over an extended amount of time, the heart muscle may become weaker, which can lead to more complications. Prolonged use may actually change brain function as well. CNS stimulants like Adderall may increase your attention, focus, and energy levels, while reducing the need for sleep and suppressing your appetite. The medication works by increasing the release of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Over time, the changes in dopamine levels can alter the pleasure center in the brain – and that can cause you to lose the ability to feel pleasure without continued stimulant usage.

What Are the Symptoms of CNS Stimulant Detox?

Stimulant withdrawal is typically not life-threatening, but there are some unpleasant symptoms that people who stop using may experience. While the timeline for detox isn’t the same for everyone, stimulant withdrawal symptoms may follow a general timeline.

Early Crash Phase

Upon discontinuing stimulant use, especially if they are being abused by binging, most users will feel a crash. The crash may include symptoms like anxiety, agitation, sadness, and intense cravings. After the initial crash feeling, emotional and physical exhaustion are likely to set in, as well as depression. Thoughts are typically scattered during this first phase, and symptoms may even include paranoia, delusional thinking, extreme irritability, and jerky movements.

Middle Crash Phase

After the initial crash, the middle crash phase begins, and it usually lasts one to two days. Most people feel extremely fatigued during this phase and want to sleep for days. However, despite the desire to sleep, people often have trouble sleeping during this time. Additionally, they typically have very low energy, both mentally and physically.

Late Crash Phase

Next is the late crash phase, which is the day or so after the previous phase. It is characterized by excessive sleepiness in the daytime and long periods of sleep at night. Also, the appetite typically returns with a vengeance during the late crash phase.

Protracted Withdrawal Symptoms

After the crash stages mentioned above, individuals may continue to have some of the physical and emotional symptoms of acute withdrawal, including low energy, depression, loss of interest in activities, etc. These symptoms can persist for some people for a period of weeks or even months. However, with continued abstinence from CNS stimulants and other substances, the symptoms will gradually subside.

How Long Will It Take to Detox from CNS Stimulants?

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms can be experienced very differently by different people who use different types of stimulants. There are numerous factors that impact the overall effects, severity, and timeline of stimulant withdrawal. These factors include the half-life of the medication, how much and how long the substance was used, and the overall mental and physical health of the person. However, stimulants do typically have shorter period or withdrawal than many other substances that are abused. 

How to Recognize if CNS Stimulant Detox May Be Right For You

If you use CNS stimulants legitimately prescribed by a doctor or psychiatrist, but you take them in higher doses or more frequently than directed, you are abusing the medication and you should consider detox if you cannot stop on your own. Other indications that you may need detox include:

  • You are focused on abusing stimulants every day
  • Your attempts to stop abusing stimulants have failed
  • Your thoughts are consumed about how to stop abusing stimulants
  • You spend excessive amounts of time abusing stimulants or trying to find more of it
  • You use more medication than you intend to
  • You neglect other responsibilities (school, work, family, etc.) to abuse stimulants
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using stimulants
  • You need to use more stimulants to get the same high you used to
  • You use stimulants despite negative consequences

What Are the Different Types of Detox?

When you go to detox, you’ll find that there are many different types of addictions treatment centers that are equipped to treat. In safe, supportive environments, people struggling with drug and alcohol addictions can rid their bodies of substances and get prepared to continue treatment at an inpatient or outpatient program with a clear mind and healthier body.

In addition to CNS stimulants, you can find detox programs that address the following substances: 

Getting Help and CNS Stimulant Detox

If you or a loved one is struggling with dependency on or addiction to central nervous system stimulants, like Adderall or Ritalin, you should consider drug and alcohol treatment beginning with a medically supervised detox program. At a detox center, your vitals will be monitored to ensure that you are safe and have access to medical attention should you need it.

The important thing to remember is that you can stop using stimulants, and recovery is possible. Seeking help is the first step toward a new, drug-free life.

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