Amrec Kenya

The term “stimulant” refers to a substance that increases physiological or neurological activity in (the body or any biological system). A substance known as a central nervous system stimulant raises the concentrations of specific brain chemicals, resulting in an increase in mental and physical energy, alertness, and physical activity.

CNS stimulants “speed up” or overstimulate the body by increasing blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature. These substances heighten the user’s alertness by raising blood pressure, respiration, heart rate, and blood glucose levels. Additionally, they cause an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rates.

Examples of CNS stimulants include: cocaine, “crack” cocaine, amphetamines, and methamphetamine (“crank”).amphetamines (speed and ice), caffeine, ecstasy (MDMA – methylenedioxymethamphetamine), nicotine (tobacco), Adderall, Ritalin, Synthetic Marijuana


Uses of CNS stimulants

For a long time, CNS stimulants have been used to treat various physical and mental health disorders, including :

  1. ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  2. Narcolepsy
  3. Shift work disorder 
  4. Chronic lethargy
  5. Neonatal apnea
  6. Obstructive sleep apnea
  7. Obesity
  8. Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  9. Treatment-resistant depression
  10. Sleep disorders and neurological disorders.

Signs and Symptoms of Stimulant Abuse

Despite the fact that everyone responds differently to drugs, there are common symptoms to look out for.

They include:

  1. Deceptive behavior, lying or stealing
  2. Meeting with multiple doctors in an attempt to gain multiple prescriptions for stimulants
  3. Visiting websites to order stimulants without a prescription
  4. Exhibiting excessive energy or motivation
  5. Aggressive or angry outbursts
  6. Risky or impulsive behaviors
  7. Changes (usually decreases) in appetite
  8. Twitches or jitteriness
  9. Rapid heartbeat
  10. Elevated blood pressure
  11. Weight loss
  12. Hair loss
  13. Sweating
  14. Skin problems
  15. Hyperfocus
  16. Flight of ideas
  17. Enhanced sensory awareness
  18. Racing thoughts
  19. Confusion
  20. Paranoia
  21. Hallucinations
  22. Delusions
  23. Poor judgment and decision-making
  24. Anxiety
  25. Depression
  26. Mood swings
  27. Anger/aggressiveness
  28. Increased confidence


Like any other drug, it is important to give your doctor a history of your health before being prescribed CNS stimulants. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following before taking a CNS stimulant:

  1. Heart problems, including heart defects and heart rhythm problems
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Heart attack or stroke
  4. Glaucoma
  5. Thyroid problems
  6. Kidney or liver disease
  7. Seizures
  8. Tourette’s syndrome
  9. Agitation
  10. Depression or other mental health disorders
  11. Drug abuse or alcohol addiction

Effects of CNS Stimulants

CNS stimulants can cause different side effects. Different factors, such as dosage, age of the treated person, and the specific medication prescribed can affect the occurrence of side effects.

Short-Term Effects

The short-term effects of stimulant abuse include: 

  1. Headache and migraine
  2. Restlessness
  3. Insomnia
  4. Anxiety or nervousness
  5. Loss of appetite 
  6. Weight loss
  7. Dry mouth 
  8. Upset stomach
  9. Increased sweating or itching
  10. Increased activity
  11. Irregular heartbeats
  12. Hyperthermia.

Long term effects

Severe CNS stimulant side effects may include:

  1. Abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia)
  2. Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  3. Heart palpitations
  4. Chest pain 
  5. High blood pressure
  6. Seizures
  7. Shortness of breath
  8. Psychosis
  9. Paranoia
  10. Blurred vision
  11. Cardiac arrest
  12. Addiction and dependence
  13. Anxiety disorders
  14. Visual and auditory hallucinations, and paranoia.

Symptoms and duration of stimulant withdrawal

Different people will experience different stimulant withdrawal symptoms, which are greatly influenced by usage histories. Symptoms usually appear a few hours after the last usage, however they might sometimes appear a day later. The majority of withdrawal symptoms reach their climax approximately a week after stopping use. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms like weariness, depression, insomnia problems, and mood fluctuations can linger for weeks or even months.

Early stage (Days 1-3)

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Body Aches
  • Feelings of Unhappiness

Middle stage (Days 4-10)

  • Sleepiness
  • Severe Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

Late stage (Days 11+)

  • Poor sleep
  • Poor concentration
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood Swings

Getting help

Follow us on our social media handles:




NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms. (n.d.). National Cancer Institute.

Kaleta, E. (2020). Central nervous system stimulants. Toxicology Cases for the Clinical and Forensic Laboratory, 227-238. (n.d.).

Recovery Centers of America. (2022, February 4). Stimulant Withdrawal Symptoms & Timeline.

Lemu Wanjiku

Counselling Psychologist


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× How can I help you?