Which Drugs Are Considered Stimulants?

Which Drugs Are Considered Stimulants?

What Is Considered A ‘Stimulus Drug?’

The Categories of Drugs

Drugs are separated into several categories depending on their chemical similarities, mental effects, and physical impact. Classifications of drugs include depressants, hallucinogens, inhalants, and stimulants.

What Is A Stimulant Drug?

Coffee cup with burlap sack of roasted beans on rustic table

One of the most complex drug classifications is stimulants. This is because stimulants vary from common, everyday products to dangerous and illicit drugs.

Stimulants are a class of psychoactive drugs that increase activity in the brain. Some are legal worldwide, while others are illegal globally.

Effects of Using Stimulants

Stimulant drugs are known to improve mood, elevate alertness, and increase awareness. They are also very likely to cause dependence and addiction. While all stimulants share these commonalities, each drug in this category is very unique in terms of its purposes and effects.

Examples of Stimulant Drugs

Some of the stimulant drugs below are products we use every morning, while others we may have never thought to touch. Here is a list of some of the most popular stimulant drugs:

  • Caffeine. This ingredient found in coffee, soda, and other beverages is the most widely used stimulant in the world. Caffeine is known to increase energy and improve alertness, which is why so many individuals incorporate caffeine into their morning routine. Caffeine is also very physically addictive; so if you drink coffee every day and don’t consume it one day, you may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms of caffeine, including headaches, irritability, and fatigue may be uncomfortable but are typically mild and manageable.

  • Cocaine. Cocaine is an illegal psychoactive drug that is made from the leaves of coca trees. This drug usually comes in a powder form and can either be snorted, inhaled, injected, or taken orally. Cocaine is purely used for recreational purposes due to its rapid absorption rate in the body. Once cocaine reaches the brain, which happens almost immediately after it is consumed, it distributes throughout tissues in the body. Cocaine can cause addiction and dependence after as little as one use. If someone is addicted to cocaine, it’s recommended that they receive medical attention during detox.

  • Methamphetamine. Meth is one of the most addictive illicit drugs out there. It can also be extremely dangerous, considering that the drug destroys tissues in the brain and can cause permanent brain damage. Meth, which was once prescribed for some medical conditions, is now illegal throughout the world. Individuals, most of them having a previous addiction history, may consume meth in a smokable crystal form. The effects of meth last about 4-8 hours and may be followed immediately by withdrawal. Meth withdrawal is extremely common and requires close medical attention.

  • Nicotine. Nicotine is one of the stimulant drugs that has few, if any, medical uses. This common and legal substance is the primary ingredient in cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and vapes. While it is legal to individuals over the age of 18 in the United States, Nicotine is known to cause disease, disability, and even death over time. Withdrawal from nicotine may feel similar to withdrawal from caffeine, but will likely be more intense.

  • Prescription Stimulants. Prescription stimulants are a group of psychoactive drugs that affect the central nervous system and enhance the effects of dopamine. Some examples of prescription stimulants are Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine, and Concerta. They are usually prescribed by healthcare professionals to treat physical and psychological disorders like ADHD and narcolepsy. Side effects may vary, but symptoms typically include tremors, restlessness and insomnia, loss of appetite, and increased blood pressure.

Stimulant Risks & Warnings

While all stimulants are very different, they all post a risk for dependence, addiction, and withdrawal. Addiction to some of these drugs may require medical attention or rehabilitation. Overdose is possible with a majority of stimulant drugs. If you or someone you know experiences an overdose from stimulants, contact 911 as soon as possible.

To learn more about stimulants and to see if you or a loved one who may need treatment, contact our team of substance abuse specialists by calling 267.209.7313.


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