Stimulants, or “uppers,” are psychoactive substances that “stimulate,” or speed up, activity in your central nervous system. When you take this kind of drug, your brain releases greater levels of neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers, including dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine helps regulate satisfaction, pleasure, and reward. Larger amounts of norepinephrine increase your energy. When excessive amounts of these chemical messengers flood your brain, your central nervous system jump-starts your body. In what seems like an instant, you might feel energetic, excited, and incredibly focused. Stimulants can be prescribed by your doctor or used illegally.
When you take these drugs on a regular basis, your brain can become accustomed to these unnatural levels of dopamine and norepinephrine. After a while, your brain might even stop producing these neurotransmitters on its own. When this happens, you may become chemically dependent upon stimulants, which can lead to addiction.
You may have used stimulants to enhance your performance at work, school, or sports. Or perhaps your doctor may have prescribed them to help treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, or depression. No matter your reason for taking these, it’s important to understand that most stimulants are habit-forming and can lead to addiction. In fact, an estimated 561,000 people had a stimulant use disorder in 2018. In the same year, more than 5.1 million people misused a stimulant drug. If left untreated, stimulant addiction can lead to:
Now that you have a better understanding of the risks involved let’s take a look at what recovery and treatment for an addiction to stimulants looks like.
Detoxification, or detox, is the first step you’ll need to take when you’re ready to treat stimulant addiction. During the detoxification process, you’ll rid your body of stimulants and other addictive substances. The amount of time you need to detox your system depends on several factors like:
Most stimulant detox programs use the tapering-off method. This process decreases the dosage of the stimulant substance until your brain and body are drug-free. The tapering-off method helps to reduce your physical dependence on the substance and lessens the intensity of stimulant withdrawal. Sometimes, detox programs provide medication to alleviate certain withdrawal symptoms.
There are a number of programs that can help treat stimulant addiction. Two of the most common programs include:
Dual diagnosis treatment addresses substance use and mental health challenges. About 20 to 25% of people struggling with stimulant misuse have a mood disorder like bipolar disorder, depression, borderline personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or attention deficit disorder. If you’re living with one of those conditions, a dual diagnosis program can help you stabilize and maintain your mental health and overcome addiction challenges.
Which program is right for you? Consider your substance use history first.
If you’re recovering for the first time, an inpatient residential program is ideal. This type of treatment program allows you to focus on your recovery in a comfortable, structured setting where your needs are met.
If you’re in active recovery and readjusting to everyday life, an outpatient program is a good fit. These programs allow you to continue your recovery while still working or attending school. Outpatient-level treatment is usually not recommended for individuals who are trying to get sober for the first time.
Here at Genesis Recovery, our treatment program is a faith-based 12-step program that includes:
It’s hard to fully recover from any addiction without behavioral therapy. In therapy, you’ll discover the reasons behind your behavior patterns. Behavioral therapy can also help you develop new ways of thinking that may encourage you to adopt healthier habits, patterns, and ways of coping with stress, anxiety, and day to day challenges. Two of the most common behavioral therapies used to treat stimulant use disorders include:
If you’ve misused stimulants, you might be trying to solve a deeper, underlying problem. We understand that. At the same time, we know that self-medicating is more harmful than helpful. That’s why at Genesis Recovery, we’ve designed our programs, treatment options, and behavioral therapies to help address the problems that led you to stimulant use in the first place.
Our mission is to help you restore your life. We do that by providing you with expert clinical support and compassionate care that focuses on your mind, body, and soul. Call us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one are struggling with a stimulant use disorder.