Addiction Recovery
Woman sitting on the edge of bed looking out window while contemplating the question what do stimulants do to the brain
By BrightView
Published: August 3, 2023
Updated: July 21, 2023

Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine are some of the most addictive substances. These drugs can profoundly affect the brain and body, leading to various harmful effects and potentially life-threatening health consequences. Knowing more about what stimulants do to the brain can prevent severe complications and help individuals recover.

If you or a loved one is struggling with stimulant addiction, contact BrightView today. Our experienced and compassionate staff can answer any questions and provide the support you need to begin recovery.

Don’t let addiction control your life any longer. Contact BrightView today at 888.501.9865 to start drug addiction treatment and take the first step toward a brighter future.

Stimulants and the Brain

Stimulants increase the nervous system’s activity, causing an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing. They affect the brain’s neurotransmitters, the chemical messengers that send signals throughout the body. Specifically, stimulants increase dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin levels in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter linked to pleasure and motivation, while norepinephrine is associated with attention and arousal. Serotonin is linked to mood and appetite.

However, repeated use of these drugs can change the brain’s chemistry over time. The brain’s reward pathway becomes desensitized, leading to a decrease in the drug’s pleasurable effects and an increase in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Stimulant use can also lead to changes in cognitive function, including impaired memory, attention, and decision-making skills. Long-term use of stimulants has been linked to structural changes in the brain, including changes in the size and shape of the brain’s gray matter.

Short-Term Effects of Stimulants on the Brain

What do stimulants do to the brain? Stimulants can produce a variety of short-term effects on the brain, including:

  • Increased alertness and attention
  • Elevated mood and energy levels
  • Reduced fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Increased sweating

These effects can last several hours depending on the dose and the type of stimulant used. However, they can also lead to negative consequences, such as anxiety, paranoia, and aggression.

Long-Term Effects of Stimulants on the Brain

Prolonged use of stimulants can have significant long-term effects on the brain. It can lead to changes in the brain’s structure and function, such as:

  • Decreased gray matter volume in specific regions of the brain
  • Impaired cognitive function, including memory, attention, and decision-making abilities
  • Increased risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis
  • Increased risk of developing a substance use disorder

Stimulants are highly addictive, and long-term use can significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental health.

How Can BrightView Help?

BrightView offers outpatient and intensive outpatient programs to help individuals struggling with substance use disorders, including stimulant addiction. Our medication assisted treatment (MAT) programs can help manage withdrawal symptoms while addressing the underlying causes of addiction.

We offer individual, group, and family therapy sessions and peer recovery support. Our medical and addiction specialists work closely with each patient to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets their needs.

Start Drug Addiction Treatment at BrightView Today

Stimulants can have both short-term and long-term effects on the brain. They affect the neurotransmitters, leading to changes in brain structure and function. BrightView offers outpatient treatment programs that can help individuals struggling with stimulant addiction. We aim to provide compassionate and effective care, supporting our patients’ health and well-being.

Contact us today if you or a loved one are struggling with stimulant addiction. We are committed to providing care that is accessible, patient-centered, and respectful of each person’s journey toward recovery. Reach us by completing our brief web form or calling 888.501.9865. We look forward to helping you begin your journey toward recovery.