Effects of Stimulant Drugs on th Mind and Body

http://www.thegooddrugsguide.com/amphetamines/effects.htm
http://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/bhcv2/bhcarticles.nsf/pages/Amphetamines

When a person uses a stimulant or ’upper,’ the drug stimulates the user's central nervous system, by doing so the drug works on the brain's dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitter systems, increasing the heart rate, as well as redirecting blood flow to the muscular system and away from the digestive system. The use of amphetamines causes the brain to produce a higher level of dopamine, which is what produces the sense of euphoria and well-being that is commonly known as the "high." Mentally, the person may start to feel confident and euphoric, along with an increased desire to communicate, as the whole Central Nervous System (CNS) becomes stimulated, their alertness and vitality increases. Users are often restless and talkative, and also will have increased respiratory rate, elevated blood pressure, dry mouth, dilated pupils, and loss of appetite. Other physical symptoms may include, heart palpitations, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and loss of coordination.
Over a period of time, a person who is using amphetamines will develop a tolerance to the drug. Not only will they need to take higher doses to get the same effect they were achieving previously, but once their brain becomes accustomed to having a certain level of dopamine, the user will start to experience intense cravings for the drug. A severe effect of long-term drug use is amphetamine psychosis. This is a type of mental illness that can appear very similar to paranoid schizophrenia. Vivid auditory hallucinations and paranoid delusions are among the alarming side effects and, unlike hallucinogens, the "trip" cannot be turned around. This is a very real mental state caused by the over-excitement of the brain's fright centers. Its effects often start with curiosity, deep thought, and paranoia. Its slow buildup makes it all the more dangerous, as it can be hard to recognize the symptoms. Some users become obsessed with activities like, ironing or scrubbing floors through the night, or dismantling and reassembling electrical equipment. In many cases, this side effect is caused by the person using a high dose of the drug over a short time, and as the individual comes down they gradually become grounded in reality again. Although this process may take as many as a couple of days to a few weeks. Using amphetamines on a regular basis can lead to significant health problems, including: the risk of damage to brain cells, malnutrition, reduced immunity, due to malnutrition and lack of sleep, mood swings, depression and panic attacks, aggression, and increased susceptibility to violent rages.
Although not all amphetamine drugs are illegal, for instance pharmaceutical companies manufacture drugs like Ritalin, dexamphetamine and methylphenidate. Usually these drugs are only prescribed for particular disorders such as narcolepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In 1920, a drug called "ephedrine" was used to treat asthma in patients. The ma huang plant (Ephedra vulgaris) contains ephedrine, and had been used for centuries before its medical discovery. In 1932, synthetic ephedrine was sold "over-the-counter" and was available without a prescription until 1954., and during World War II, amphetamines were given to soldiers and pilots to keep them alert and to fight off fatigue.

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