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Prescription stimulants increase—or "stimulate"—activities and processes in the body. When prescribed by a doctor for a specific health condition, like ADHD, they can be relatively safe and effective. However, it is considered misuse when they are taken not as prescribed, to get "high," or when you take some prescribed for someone else. This can lead to dependence and addiction.
Dependence means you will get uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit. Addiction means you continue to seek out and take these drugs despite negative consequences. There are three commonly misused types of stimulants: dextroamphetamines e. Medical uses for these stimulant drugs are listed below:. about prescription drugs and what happens to the brain and body when someone misuses them. Prescription stimulants are normally taken in pill form, but some people who misuse them to get "high" crush the tablets and snort or inject them.
This can be dangerous because ingredients in the tablets can block small blood vessels, damaging the heart and other organs. Some teens are prescribed stimulants to manage their ADHD. But if they share their medication with friends, it is considered misuse. People misuse stimulants by taking them in a way that is not intended, such as:.
Stimulants have been misused as an "academic performance enhancer," for example, to stay awake all night to cram for an exam. That's why people sometimes refer to them as "study drugs. For example, a decline in grades can be related to students skipping classes. Skipping classes can be linked to the use of a variety of drugs or mental health issues. The brain is made up of nerve cells that send messages to each other by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. Common stimulants, such as amphetamines and methylphenidate, have chemical structures that are similar to certain key brain neurotransmitters including dopamine and norepinephrine.
Stimulants boost the effects of these chemicals in the brain and body. When doctors prescribe stimulants for a medical condition, they start with low doses and increase them slowly until they find the dose that works best. However, when taken in amounts or ways other than prescribed, like snorting or injecting, stimulants can increase the dopamine in the brain very quickly.
Over time, this can lead to addiction , which is when you continue to use the drug despite negative consequences. Learn more about how the brain works and what happens when a person miuses drugs. Stimulant use can have side effects, even when prescribed by a doctor.
Misusing them can be especially dangerous. Taking high doses of a stimulant can cause:. Yes, it is possible to die from stimulant misuse. This can lead to seizures, heart failure, and death. Stimulants should not be mixed with medicines used to treat depression or over-the-counter medicines that contain decongestants. This is why it is important to discuss with your doctor all the drugs you take. Deaths from an overdose of prescription drugs have been on the rise since the early s. Learn more about drug overdoses in youth. Yes, misusing stimulants can lead to addiction.
Addiction is when you continue to seek out and take the drug even though you know it is damaging your health and life, even ruining your relationships and causing you problems in school or at work. When a person who regularly misuses stimulants stops taking them, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. Stimulant withdrawal can cause:. People who have these symptoms should seek medical help. People should ask their doctor for advice on how to safely stop using stimulants. The chart below shows the percentage of teens who say they misuse Amphetamine, Adderall, or Ritalin.
MTF Data. Explore teen substance use trends over time, by grade and substance with an interactive chart featuring Monitoring the Future data from to present. If a friend is using drugs, you might have to step away from the friendship for a while. It is important to protect your own mental health and not put yourself in situations where drugs are being used. In this lesson, students will get an understanding of the unexpected and potential dangerous effects associated with mixing medications and This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain.
A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how prescription drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin changes the way the communication Content on this site is available for your use and may be reproduced in its entirety without permission from NIDA.
Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Prescription Stimulant Medications Amphetamines. Expand All What happens to your brain when you misuse prescription stimulants? What can happen to your body when you misuse prescription stimulants? Short-Term Effects Stimulant use can have side effects, even when prescribed by a doctor. Can you overdose or die if you misuse prescription stimulants? Are prescription stimulants addictive? Stimulant withdrawal can cause: an inability to feel pleasure thoughts of suicide anxiety and irritability feeling very tired, lack of energy, and changes in sleep patterns intense drug cravings People who have these symptoms should seek medical help.
How many teens misuse prescription stimulants? Swipe left or right to scroll. What should I do if someone I know needs help? If you, or a friend, are in crisis and need to speak with someone now: Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at TALK they don't just talk about suicide—they cover a lot of issues and will help put you in touch with someone close by If you want to help a friend, you can: Share resources from this site, including this .
Encourage your friend to speak with a trusted adult. Where can I get more information? Resources for Educators Image. A Dangerous Mix In this lesson, students will get an understanding of the unexpected and potential dangerous effects associated with mixing medications and Drugs and the Teen Brain This lesson, provides scientific information about teen brain development and the effect of drugs and alcohol use on the brain. Mind Matters: The Body's Response to Prescription Stimulants A visually appealing booklet for students that explains how prescription drugs, like Adderall and Ritalin changes the way the communicationWhat drugs have amphetamine in them
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