Prescription medication can become addictive when misused. Opioids, benzodiazepines, and stimulants (otherwise known as study drugs) are legal prescription medications that are frequently misused. Stimulant medications have addictive properties to them. Misusing prescription medication can cause dependency and lead to substance use disorder (SUD). Many recovery facilities like Restoration Recovery Centers have programs catered toward study drug treatment. Taking these prescription medications when not being monitored by a doctor can be very dangerous and damaging to your emotional and physical well-being.
What Is a Study Drug?
Study drugs typically refer to stimulants used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, stimulants can also be used to treat narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. For example, a person with ADHD might be prescribed study drugs to improve their focus, confidence, and communication skills.
Since stimulants can also result in suppressed appetite and increased alertness, people sometimes take them for the wrong reasons. For instance, college students sometimes misuse study drugs in an attempt to increase their grade point average. They think using study drugs will help them boost their productivity and allow them to get ahead in school.
Other people abuse study drugs by using them as weight-loss pills. While weight loss can be a side effect of stimulants, it’s not their intended purpose. Instead, stimulants are an appetite suppressant, and misusing them for weight loss can lead to disorders such as anorexia.
Study drugs can also be abused as recreational drugs. When stimulants are taken in abundance or through an alternative way of consumption, it can cause a feeling of euphoria.
Some study drugs include:
How Do Study Drugs Work?
Stimulants work by increasing the dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical in the brain associated with movement, pleasure, and attention. Initially, stimulants are typically prescribed in small dosages that will gradually increase until the desired effect is achieved. Side effects of taking stimulant medication may include increasing:
- Blood pressure
- Heart rate
- Body temperature
- Blood sugar
Repeated misuse of stimulants can also lead to:
- Severe cardiovascular complications
- Increase of stroke
- Feelings of paranoia and hostility
- Depressive symptoms
Signs of Abusing Study Drugs
Since stimulant medications are legal, it can be easy to miss the signs that somebody is misusing them. Typically there are four ways that prescription medication can be misused:
- Using medication prescribed to someone else
- Taking a dosage of medication larger than prescribed by a medical professional
- Consuming the medication in a way other than prescribed by a medical professional (i.e., crushing, injecting, or snorting tablets)
- Using medication for a purpose other than its original prescribed intention (i.e., to get high or lose weight)
The Dangers of Using Someone Else’s Medication
One of the greatest risks for a person taking someone else’s medication is that a mental health professional is not monitoring them. If they have a negative reaction to the drug, it will be more difficult for them to seek help. When a medical professional prescribes medication, they take into account the person’s medical history, other medications they are taking, and the risk that is presented for the person taking the medication based on these factors. Some medications can be severely harmful when combined with other medications or medical conditions.
A medical professional can adjust medication dosages and observe a person’s reaction to the medication over time. They can check in with their patients and increase or decrease their dosage accordingly. Not only is it unsafe for somebody to take prescription medication without being monitored by a doctor, but there is also no way to know the drug’s effectiveness. There might be alternative drugs that could be more appropriate for treating the person’s condition.
Treatment for Study Drug Addiction
If study drugs are regularly misused, it could lead to dependence and SUD. Treatment for SUD can include both psychotherapy and psycho-pharma treatment. There are many different types of talk therapy that are used to treat SUD. One of the most common types of talk therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which many treatment facilities, such as Restoration Recovery Centers, offer. CBT relies on the idea that our thoughts affect and shape our actions and that our actions affect and shape our thoughts. In other words, learning how to change negative thoughts can help you create positive behaviors, and vice versa.
Other treatment options for SUD include motivational therapy, mindfulness-based therapies, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), activity therapy, art therapy, and more. You will likely have to try multiple different types of therapy before discovering the one that works for you. Your recovery journey will be a process of trial and error, but along the way, you will learn a lot about yourself, others, and the world around you.
Study drugs can be helpful to people who need them but dangerous when they are misused. Stimulants have addictive properties that can cause dependency, so it’s important to take study drugs as recommended by a medical professional. Restoration Recovery Centers has experience treating study drug addictions. We offer various different types of therapies so you can find the combination that is right for you. Our mental health professionals will work closely with you to understand you as the complex person that you are. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, call (888) 290-0925 to learn how Restoration Recovery Centers can help you restore your life’s purpose and heal from addiction.