What Are Brain Stimulants?

Jodee Redmond

Brain stimulants are medications which act on receptors in the user's brain to increase their functioning. They can be prescribed to treat several health concerns, including asthma and neurological issues. Stimulants also include controlled substances which are used recreationally by individuals who are looking for a pleasurable experience.

Human brain.
Human brain.

A doctor may prescribe brain stimulants to a patient who has been diagnosed with asthma or as part of a treatment plan for obesity. Brain stimulants may also be used to treat children or adults with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). This class of medication can also be used to treat depression in patients who have not responded well to other drugs.

The areas of the brain.
The areas of the brain.

Stimulants act on the user's brain to create a sense of euphoria and this effect may be achieved rather quickly. Users may feel a rush of well-being shortly after ingesting the drug. Recreational drug uses who are looking to feel better may choose brain stimulants, such as cocaine, for this reason. Manufacturing, possessing or selling this type of brain stimulant is a criminal offense which can result in a fine or imprisonment if found guilty.

These types of drugs increase the user's heart and respiration rates. Using brain stimulants increases the individual's ability to focus and provides a short-term boost of energy. Stimulant medications are used by asthma patients to open up their breathing passages. They also act as an appetite suppressant, and for this reason may be used by doctors to treat obese patients.

Use of brain stimulants by a person for whom they have not been prescribed can be very dangerous. Ingesting them can put a strain on the user's heart, which has the potential to trigger a heart attack or a stroke. The health risks associated with using this type of medication increase with repeated use, since the individual builds up a resistance to them over time and must take higher amounts of the drug to achieve the sense of well-being he or she is looking for.

A person who has been using brain stimulants for a time and wishes to stop using the medication should consult with a physician first. The safest way to get off the medication is to wean off of it slowly by gradually reducing the dosage over time. This strategy will help to lower the likelihood of the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms as the medication leaves his or her body.

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