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Stimulant Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Timeline

Stimulants are substances that make you feel more awake and energetic. These drugs work by increasing levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in your brain. Most people use these drugs to help them focus during school or work.

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening from drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine. It is best to seek professional help when coming off these stimulants.

Our Stimulant Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Timeline guide will teach you about the symptoms of these stimulants and how best to approach withdrawal.

What Drugs Are Stimulants?

The most common stimulant drug is caffeine. Caffeine affects the central nervous system by increasing levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Other popular stimulant drugs include amphetamines (Adderall), cocaine, ecstasy, methamphetamine, methylphenidate (Ritalin), nicotine, and pemoline (Cylert).

Stimulants have become increasingly popular over the years because they give users an energy boost without causing any side effects. However, long-term use of stimulants can cause serious health problems. 

Breakdown of Common Stimulants

  • Amphetamines (Adderall) – Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Both amphetamine and dextromethamphetamine stimulate the central nervous system, but amphetamine causes less drowsiness than dextromethamphetamine.
  • Cocaine – Cocaine stimulates the central nervous system by blocking certain chemicals in the brain called monoamine transporters. This blocks the reuptake of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine into the nerve cells where it was released. The result is an increased concentration of these neurotransmitters in the synapses between neurons.
  • Ecstasy – Ecstasy is a synthetic substance that increases levels of serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and other neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin) – Ritalin is a prescription medication that is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is usually prescribed for children with ADHD, although some adults take it to help them concentrate at work or school.
  • Methamphetamine (meth) – Methamphetamine (also known as crystal meth) is a highly addictive stimulant that can cause severe mental and physical damage if not taken under medical supervision.
  • Nicotine – Nicotine is a naturally occurring chemical found in tobacco plants. When smoked, nicotine produces feelings of well-being and relaxation.
  • Pemoline (Cylart) – Pemoline (Cylar-T) is a prescription medication that treats depression in adolescents. It is similar to other antidepressants, but it does not produce the same side effects.

Terms to know regarding substance use disorders:

  • Dependence: A condition whereby a substance takes control of your life.
  • Withdrawal: The process of getting rid of something you’re dependent on.
  • Detoxification: The process of getting off of drugs after becoming physically dependent on them.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms of Stimulants

The most common withdrawal symptoms include irritability, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and headaches. Other less common side effects include increased appetite, sweating, shakiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, and tremors.

The symptoms that follow taking stimulants for longer than three months are called tolerance and addiction. Tolerance means that the body needs larger doses of stimulants to get the same effect. Addiction occurs when the body develops a strong craving for the substance. This craving causes the user to take stimulants again and again despite negative consequences.

Timeline for Stimulant Withdrawal

The timeline for stimulant withdrawal varies from person to person. Some people feel better after just a few days off of the drug; others may require several weeks or months.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on the amount of time spent abusing the substance, the dose used, and the individual’s tolerance level. Suffice it to say, stimulant withdrawal is not pleasant.

Different stimulants have different timelines. For example, some stimulants such as Adderall and Ritalin tend to produce stronger withdrawal symptoms than other stimulants.

Withdrawal Timeline for Stimulants

  • Cocaine: 10 Days
  • Methamphetamine: 2 Weeks
  • Amphetamine: 4 Weeks
  • Ecstasy: 8 Weeks
  • Nicotine: 14 Days
  • Pemoline: 7 Weeks

How to Safely Detox from Stimulants

The most common way to detoxify from stimulant abuse and overcome addiction is through drug rehabilitation programs. These programs usually involve counseling, group therapy, and 12-step meetings. They can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years depending on the severity of the addiction.

It is advisable to seek professional medical advice if you think you might be experiencing withdrawal symptoms. There are many medications available to treat stimulant withdrawal symptoms. Talk with your doctor about which medication would work best for you.

Some medications include: 

  • Bupropion (Zyban): An antidepressant that helps reduce cravings for stimulants
  • Clonidine (Catapres): A blood pressure medicine that reduces stress and anxiety during withdrawal
  • Desipramine (Norpramin): An antidepressant that treats depression and also reduces cravings for stimulants

If you decide to go through rehab, make sure to talk to your doctor first. He or she can provide valuable information regarding what kind of treatment program would be best suited for your situation.

Treatment for Stimulant Addiction Nashville, TN

The best treatment options for stimulant addiction include counseling, psychotherapy, and medications. These treatments can help people overcome their cravings and manage their withdrawal symptoms far better than natural remedies. If you truly want to end the cravings and stop using contact Brentwood Springs Detox.

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