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Stimulants Drive Need for Addiction Help

Some time ago I had an allergic reaction to something I ate and my face got so badly swollen you could barely see my eyes. After a couple of days my doctor put me on steroids to get the swelling down before my face exploded. They worked, but they also had other rather intense effects in that they made my body feel and act like a finely-tuned, very powerful machine. It was great!! Fortunately, I knew about the dangers of these drugs so didn’t even consider taking them after the initial problem was handled – although I would have liked to. I think much of the prescription drug addiction epidemic that is sending people for addiction help in droves is rooted in a similar situation – the difference being that I really understood the dangers of the drugs and most people don’t.

Stimulants are a major drug of choice right now both in the U.S. and elsewhere. They’re being called ‘cognitive enhancers’ to legitimize them. Ritalin, Provigil, and so on. They’re speed, basically. With a little cocaine thrown in. And they’re being used by millions of people – everyone from college students who want get an edge to shift workers trying to stay awake and people who just want to get high. Of course, Ritalin has been used on young school kids for decades – it is one of the major drugs that opened the door to our current prescription drug addiction epidemic.

What people don’t understand is the underlying effects of these drugs. Needing addiction help is probably not the worst of it – they also cause serious physical deterioration from which some may never recover.  The side effects of Ritalin, for example, include everything from sleeplessness, loss of appetite, nervousness and tics to heart palpitations, cardiac arrythmia, hair loss, anemia, anorexia and psychosis. And, because they’re also addictive and cause severe, and dangerous, withdrawal symptoms, it’s hard to even stop taking them without professional addiction help services.

Unfortunately, many academics are sanctioning the use of these drugs, just as athletes and coaches sanctioned the use of steroids before they were outlawed in sports. Hopefully, stimulants used for something other than true medical situations will also be outlawed.

In the meantime, watch out for your friends and family. The price they pay for feeling more awake or more alert may be disaster. At the very least, if they keep taking them, the drugs will take their toll.  And it won’t be pretty. Better they should get addiction help services now than wait until disaster strikes.

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