Among stimulant users who enter addiction treatment, it is very difficult to determine whether depressive symptoms commonly associated with chronic stimulant use are caused by a drug-induced depression or an underlying (pre-existing) depressive disorder exacerbated by the stimulant use.
More than 50% of stimulant users in addiction treatment meet criteria for concurrent psychiatric disorders and nearly 75% for a lifetime psychiatric diagnosis, including depressive disorders, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorders. If an underlying condition is complicating your recovery from stimulant drug abuse, help is available.
In addition to mood disturbances, chronic stimulant use can lead to more severe drug-induced psychiatric problems such as paranoid psychosis, sometimes coupled with extreme agitation and aggressive or violent behavior.
Drug-induced psychosis is more likely to occur with methamphetamine than cocaine use and tends to persist considerably longer after methamphetamine use ends.
Remission of drug-induced psychotic symptoms often occurs within 1–3 days after stopping cocaine use, but may persist for several weeks or even months after stopping methamphetamine use.
At high doses, especially if smoked or injected intravenously, cocaine and methamphetamine can produce pallor, cold sweat, rapid pulse, tremors and headache.
Serious medical consequences are relatively uncommon in stimulant users as compared, for example, to alcoholics. Nonetheless, high doses can cause serious or life-threatening problems. These include cardiac arrhythmias, cerebral hemorrhage, seizures, respiratory failure, extreme hyperthermia and sudden death.
Fatal reactions to cocaine and methamphetamine, although relatively uncommon, can and do occur. Click here to read more about the short-term effects of cocaine & methamphetamine use.
Some medical consequences are directly related to route of drug administration. Chronic snorting of cocaine may be associated with chronic sinus infections, perforation of the nasal septum, and repeated nose bleeds. Smoking either cocaine or methamphetamine can cause sore throat, chronic chest congestion, lung infections, and impaired diffusion capacity as a consequence of inhaling hot vapors.
Intravenous injection may be associated with abscesses at injection sites and exposure to serious infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis owing to sharing of unsterile needles and syringes. The risk of exposure to these and other sexually transmitted diseases is also increased by high-risk sexual behaviors (e.g. unprotected intercourse with multiple partners) engendered by cocaine and methamphetamine use.
Stimulants and Pregnancy
Cocaine use during pregnancy is associated with both prenatal and postnatal complications, especially premature delivery or miscarriage owing to drug-induced separation of the placenta – a byproduct of vasoconstriction and reduced blood flow to the uterine wall.
Recent studies indicate that fetal exposure to methamphetamine is increasing and has been associated with multiple prenatal complications, such as intraventricular hemorrhage, fetal growth restriction, increased risk of preterm labor, placental abruption, decreased birth weight, cardiac defects, cleft palate, and behavioral effects in newborns.
How stimulants affect your brain function
Chronic methamphetamine use has been linked to significant impairments in neuropsychological functioning. Methamphetamine users appear to develop different cognitive impairments than do abusers of cocaine or other types of drugs.
Active users of methamphetamine and cocaine both demonstrate impaired verbal memory, but methamphetamine abusers also demonstrate deficits on tasks of perceptual speed and information processing, and on tasks that combine these skills with visual motor scanning.
Additionally, as compared to users of cocaine or heroin, the cognitive deficits suffered by chronic methamphetamine users can hamper their ability initially to engage in and to benefit from psychologically-oriented addiction treatment.
Brain neuroimaging studies using PET scans in humans indicate that certain changes in brain neurotransmitter systems that underlie methamphetamine-induced cognitive deficits appear to normalize during the first year or two following cessation of drug use, but other changes persist for longer periods of time and it remains unclear whether complete reversal of these effects is attainable.
Stop the damage
Getting help for stimulant drug use is the first step to stop creating the damage stimulants create for your body and brain. Customized help for cocaine use, methamphetamine use, and other stimulant abuse is available for executives and professionals in a discreet, confidential setting. Flexible day and evening appointment times, often within 24-28 hours.
Call now to make an appointment to get help, or just fill out the contact form and click Send.