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March14, 2023

What Do Stimulants Do?

Sometimes, a person who is low on energy will use a stimulant to boost their energy levels. It might be a cup of coffee in the late afternoon to make it through the work day. However, other stimulants can create an unhealthy addiction. 

Some people use stimulants to get through the occasional all-night study session or work project. Other people become dependent on this class of drugs to get through their days. Addiction to any drug requires intervention and therapy to overcome.

This guide provides all the necessary information about addiction to uppers. 

What Are Stimulants? 

Stimulants are a classification of drugs that stimulate a person’s system. This can include prescription and illegal drugs. It can also include common variations of the drug, such as caffeine found in coffee and chocolate. 

Prescription stimulants are often used as treatments for children that struggle with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Stimulants are also sometimes prescribed for issues with sleeping or narcolepsy, obesity, and some eating disorders. 

Some common prescription and illegal stimulants include:

  • Ritalin
  • Adderall
  • Concerta
  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamines
  • Dextrostat
  • Vyvanse
  • Dexedrine
  • Amphetamine
  • Crystal meth
  • Ecstasy

These drugs provide the user with a rush of energy, and many people describe a feeling of euphoria when taking them. These synthesized rushes and feelings of euphoria make the drug addictive to people who use them. Whether prescribed or not, all stimulants have the ability to be habit-forming. 

Ways to tell if a person is abusing a prescription medication:

  • Taking more medication than prescribed
  • Using it in a way that wasn’t prescribed
  • Taking medication for the feeling of euphoria
  • Borrowing, stealing or taking medication that belongs to someone else


If a person thinks they’ve moved from taking medication properly for a medical condition and into addiction, it’s vital that the person take steps to overcome the addiction. Addiction can affect all areas of a person’s life and create some serious health risks. 

What Are the Effects of Stimulants? 

When a person takes the drug, both prescription and illegal stimulants, they can expect an immediate rush or feeling of being high. 

Some common effects of uppers on a person’s body include:

  • A decrease in a person’s blood flow
  • An increase in both heart rate and blood pressure
  • An increase in blood sugar levels
  • Opens up a person’s breathing passages
  • An increase in preparation rate 


These are the effects that a person can expect as soon as they ingest the drug. However, there are some long-term effects that can wreak havoc on a person’s body and overall health, such as:

  • Damage to the kidneys: As the drug works its way through the body, it eventually arrives in a person’s kidneys. Some stimulants are toxic to the kidneys and can cause severe and lasting damage to them. 
  • Hyperthermia: The opposite of hypothermia, hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature while taking these drugs. It’s a result of the increased blood pressure and heart rate. However, in some cases, hyperthermia can cause death. 
  • Damage to the heart: The increased heart rate and blood pressure caused by stimulant use can prematurely age a person’s heart. It’s usually most commonly seen in a stiffening of the arteries. This can lead to heart failure, stroke, and aneurysms. These drugs are hard on an older person’s heart because of their aged condition.

The use of uppers can be a medical necessity, and the person’s doctor has weighed the benefits and risks. However, an addiction to these drugs must be addressed quickly to avoid long-term damage to the body. 

How Long Do Stimulants Stay in a Person’s System? 

When looking at how long stimulants stay in a person’s body, it’s measured by the half-life of the drug. For most stimulants, a person multiples the half-life of the drug times five and a half. The half-life of the drug depends on the type of stimulant taken. 

For example, the half-life of cocaine is usually around two hours while the half-life of methamphetamine is around 12 hours. To be clear, the amount of time a drug stays in the person’s system isn’t the same as the length of the euphoric experience the person feels. Stimulants remain in a person’s system long after the feeling passes. 

The exact half-life of a stimulant depends on a variety of factors. Most of these factors have to do with the person taking the stimulant. These include:

  • The hydration level of the person because many stimulants flush away during urination
  • People with high metabolism tend to burn off stimulants more quickly
  • Age of the person
  • Size of the person
  • The dosage of the stimulant
  • The overall health of the person


There isn’t an exact science to determine how long a stimulant lasts in a person’s body, but it can be a couple of days. 

Addiction to Stimulants

There are people who take stimulants for medical purposes who never move into an addiction relationship with them. However, if a person thinks that they’ve become addicted, they need to act and seek therapy to overcome it. 

Some signs of addiction to stimulants include:

  • Lying, stealing, or deceptive behavior
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hyperfocused
  • Anxiety
  • Increase in confidence
  • Poor judgment and inability to make good decisions
  • Skin issues
  • Risk behavior
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Trying to get multiple prescriptions from different doctors
  • Jitteriness
  • Uncontrolled twitching
  • Depression
  • Flighty ideas
  • Anger and aggression
  • Delusions
  • Sweating
  • Excessive energy
  • Ordering online stimulants without a prescription
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion


A person might display only a few of these symptoms or all of them. In most cases, if a person suspects they’re struggling with addiction or that a loved one is, they probably are. There is help available to overcome an addiction as long as the person is willing to take the first step. 


When a person faces an addiction to stimulants, they need a helping hand to recover. This can include inpatient detox and residential rehab.  At Restore Detox Centers, we’re dedicated to helping our patients overcome their addiction with care and compassion. Contact us today to learn more. 

About Restore

Are you or someone you care about struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in San Diego, California? Look no further than Restore Detox Centers, the leading 24-hour residential treatment facility. Our dedicated team is committed to providing effective rehabilitation services tailored to your individual needs.

We understand the challenges you face on your path to recovery, which is why we offer a comprehensive range of programs, including medically assisted detox and residential treatment. Our ultimate goal is to guide you towards a life free from addiction and help you achieve long-term success. 

Rest assured that our facility is accredited by The Joint Commission, guaranteeing the highest standards of quality and safety. You can rely on our compassionate team of professionals to support you every step of the way. 

If you're ready to take the first step towards healing, don't hesitate to contact Restore Detox Centers today. Let us be your trusted partner in your journey to recovery.

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