Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are a class of psychoactive drugs that temporarily improve physical and mental functioning, elevating mood and increasing feelings of confidence, well-being, energy, and alertness.
These come as both illegal and legal stimulants, all of which are highly addictive. Because of their energizing and confidence-boosting side effects, stimulants are also called “uppers.” Some common examples of stimulant drugs include methamphetamine, amphetamines, and cocaine. But what is the strongest stimulant? Our Stuart rehab shares some insight on the strongest stimulant drugs as well as their side effects.
Side Effects of Stimulant Drugs
CNS stimulant drugs work by increasing the amounts of the neurotransmitters, dopamine and norepinephrine. When these chemicals are heightened or stimulated, concentration improves, alertness is increased, and fatigue decreases. Their mechanism of action is why stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin effectively treat people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, stimulant addiction is something to consider when using these substances because whether they are illegal stimulants or prescription stimulants, both can be addictive.
A healthcare provider may prescribe a stimulant to treat ADHD, promote weight loss, or manage symptoms of depression. Over time, however, stimulant drug abuse can inhibit functioning in the brain’s dopamine system (reward system), leading to tolerance and physical dependence. In other words, the energetic high that stimulants can produce, and their impact on dopamine, can encourage further drug use, which can result in physical dependence.
Despite their possible dangers, stimulants are abused in several ways. People swallow them in pill form, snort them, inject them, or heat them to be smoked. Injected and smoked stimulants reach the brain faster than any other form of administration. When a person uses stimulants, they may experience side effects like:
- Enhanced alertness
- Wakefulness and endurance
- Increased productivity, motivation, and arousal
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Muscle spasms
Long-term stimulant use can also lead to problems like addiction, tooth decay (meth mouth), delusions, psychosis, hallucinations, difficulties thinking, and paranoia. It is even possible to overdose on stimulants. Banyan Treatment Centers Stuart offers medically assisted detox to help people addicted to stimulants like meth and cocaine get through physical withdrawals safely.
What Is the Strongest Natural Stimulant?
Arguably, the strongest CNS stimulant that’s natural is cathinone. Cathinone is a naturally occurring amphetamine derived from the leaves of the khat bush. Khat is native to East Africa and South Arabia. The people in these areas often chew khat because of its stimulating properties. Cathinone acts similarly to amphetamine in that it acts on neurotransmitters in the brain. Although cathinone is weaker than certain amphetamines, it’s much stronger than caffeine and can be considered the strongest natural stimulant.
What Is the Strongest Legal Stimulant?
Several drugs, both illicit and legal, are derived from amphetamine, such as methamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. While the strongest stimulant drugs are methamphetamines, which are illegal, the strongest legal stimulants are amphetamines, which are the basis for many other drugs, both of legal and illegal standing. Amphetamines are typically prescription medications used to treat ADHD and act as appetite suppressants. However, like other stimulants, amphetamine is addictive. Many individuals who take amphetamines for weight loss tend to become physically dependent on it or develop a drug use disorder.
Long-term amphetamine use can lead to problems like anxiety, paranoia, muscle loss, insomnia, and muscle twitching. Those who develop amphetamine addictions usually require inpatient drug treatment to recover. If you’re currently struggling with any kind of drug addiction or know someone who is, then Banyan Stuart can help. Not only do we offer residential treatment, but we also provide prescription drug addiction treatment and treatment options for meth dependence.