Table of Contents

What are Stimulants?

Stimulants, often known as “upper drugs” or “speed” are a class of drugs that act as mood boosters and increase feelings of well-being, energy, and alertness. There are many types of stimulants, including legal, prescription medications, and illegal drugs.

Common stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, Adderall, nicotine, and caffeine. Stimulants can seemingly provide many positive effects, but they can also be very addictive. Addiction to certain types of stimulants can be dangerous and lead to health problems.

Is Alcohol a Stimulant?

When talking about stimulants you may wonder, “is alcohol a stimulant?” Alcohol is a mood-changing drug and when initially consumed it may seem like a mood booster just like stimulants. However, alcohol is not a stimulant drug, it is actually a depressant. The more alcohol you drink the more it depresses the functions of your body.

What are Common Over the Counter Stimulants?

Many stimulants can be legally purchased over the counter. Legal stimulants can still have addictive properties which can result in adverse effects. Two types of legal stimulants are caffeine and nicotine.


Caffeine falls under the category of legal stimulants and is frequently used by many people worldwide. You will find caffeine in beverages such as coffee and energy drinks that are consumed by many people daily. Caffeine is often used as an energy booster for people who like to wake up and drink a cup of coffee. Many people also drink an energy drink to get through the second half of the day.

While caffeine is consumed very often and is legal, it can still have mildly addictive properties. Those who consume caffeine regularly may feel a sense of lethargy or get a caffeine withdrawal headache when they don’t have their daily cup of coffee, energy drink, or other caffeinated products that day.


Nicotine also falls under the category of legal stimulants. At this point, most people are aware of the addictive properties and negative health effects that nicotine can have. However, nicotine products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and e-liquid (vaping) are still consumed. Many people will use nicotine products because it can be a mood booster, increase alertness, and can suppress appetite.

Nicotine is highly addictive and can cause many adverse health effects such as cancer, cardiovascular and respiratory problems, and decreased immune response among many other things.

What Are Common Prescription Stimulants?


Ritalin is a prescription medication used to treat ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Ritalin works by changing the amount of natural substances in the brain to improve attention, focus, and behavior. Ritalin can sometimes cause addiction and suddenly stopping use may cause withdrawal symptoms.


Adderall is a prescription medication often used to treat ADHD. It is a combination of amphetamine/dextroamphetamine. It is used to increase attention, focus, and improve behavior. Adderall is addictive and is often known to be abused by college students or young professionals. Many college students are known to take Adderall to boost productivity and be able to stay up all night studying. Abusing stimulant drugs in this way can cause addiction and other harmful long-term effects.


Dexedrine is another prescription stimulant that is used to treat ADHD. It can help to control behavioral patterns, improve listening skills, and boost focus. Dexedrine, like the other prescription stimulants on this list, can be addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms if use suddenly stops.

What are Common Illegal Stimulants?


Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that is highly addictive. Cocaine is often used illegally for recreational purposes for the euphoric high or energy boost it provides. Cocaine is often found in a fine white crystal powder. The most popular way of using this drug is by snorting it up the nose, but it can also be injected or smoked. The use of cocaine is very dangerous and may lead to addiction, withdrawal, or overdose. When combined with other substances such as amphetamine drugs or opioids, cocaine can be even more dangerous and make dangerous long-term effects more likely.


Methamphetamine is another highly addictive and illegal drug. It is chemically similar to amphetamine which is commonly used to treat ADHD. Meth often comes in a crystal form that looks like glass fragments or bluish-white rocks.

People use methamphetamine by snorting it, taking it in a pill, injecting, or smoking. The high from this stimulant drug is often very intense but fades quickly. Because it doesn’t last long people will often take it in repeated doses. This repeated use of the drug can quickly lead to addiction and the many negative consequences that go along with taking it for a long period of time.

Treatment for Addiction to Stimulants

Addiction to stimulants can be harmful and cause many negative effects. Many stimulants will cause withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them. Different stimulants will have different withdrawal symptoms and recovery timelines. For drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and Adderall, they may have more severe withdrawal symptoms depending on the individual and the severity of the addiction.

Having medical supervision during withdrawal can be a good idea to make sure the process goes smoothly. Going to a treatment center is often beneficial because it will provide you with around the clock medical resources and provide the therapy to work on coping skills as well as other underlying issues that may have caused the addiction to occur.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it’s important to get the proper treatment and help needed. Stimulant addiction is something you can address. If you’re struggling and don’t know what resources are available or are unsure about what the first steps to recovery should be, reach out to Arrow Passage Recovery for answers today.

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