EFFECTS OF STIMULANT ABUSE ON THE BRAIN AND BODY
Pharmaceutical stimulants are designed to increase attentiveness, alertness and motivation. They boost activity in initiative and rewards pathways of the brain, which has the effect of making you feel more awake, more active and more optimistic. Taken recreationally, stimulants like these can seem like an easy way to concentrate on work or give you energy without sufficient sleep.
As with abuse of any mind-altering substance, however, there is a negative side to the mood-boosting effects. Using drugs to stay awake or concentrate can result in unhealthy sleep deprivation. Stimulants have also been connected with decreased appetite and drastic weight loss. Additionally, the increase in brain activity leads to physical reactions throughout the body, including high blood pressure and an often dangerously high heart rate.
In the long run, continuous recreational use causes the affected pathways in your brain to become reliant on drugs to function at a normal level — this is called dependence, which is a key component of drug addiction. Without regular access to a stimulant, you may begin to exhibit signs of withdrawal, including:
- Chronic headaches
- Heart palpitations
- Anxiety or depression