Psychostimulants

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Indirect sympathomimetics, such as cocaine and amphetamines, have a long history of being used in tonics and other preparations to allay fatigue and sustain performance. These drugs have an equally long history of abuse and dependence, with episodic, collective social amnesia about the behavioral toxicity associated with excessive use. Cocaine and amphetamines have a characteristic abuse cycle that consists of binge administration and withdrawal dysphoria, paranoia, and psychosis-like symptoms as the cycle continues and intensifies. The abuse potential varies with the availability of the drug, both environmentally and physiologically. Intravenous and smoked forms of both cocaine and amphetamines produce much more severe addiction than other routes of administration. Cocaine and amphetamines produce euphoria, increase activity, facilitate performance (particularly in situations of fatigue), and decrease appetite.

Significant advances have been made in our understanding of the mechanism of action of psychomotor stimulant drugs at the behavioral, neuropharmacological, and molecular levels that have important implications for understanding the neurobiology of addiction.

Keywords

psychostimulant; cocaine; amphetamines; sympathomimetic; neurobiology; addiction; dopamine; anesthetic; behavioral pathology; abuse potential

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