Psychostimulants (Stimulants): Side Effects, Dangers and Street Use

Do you know if your child is taking “psychostimulants” also known as “stiumlants”?

No one knows how many of America’s high school age youngsters are taking prescribed psychiatric drugs, but an estimate of 10 – 15% would not be far off, and for some age groups and circumstances it will be far too low. If we dip into special populations such as those in special education or foster care, the figure for those taking psychiatric drugs approaches 100%.

Now a Stanford study described in the May 24-25, 2008 the Wall Street Journal by reporter Jonathan Kaufman has shown that nearly one in ten of 11th graders take stimulants like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta without a prescription. Nine percent are taking stimulants illegally.

Why do these youngsters taking stimulants? Are they victims of drug dealers? Are they staying up all night partying? Actually, they are trying to handle the overload of work in eleventh grade in highly competitive schools in affluent communities.

Consider some of the medical or physical problems associated with stimulant drugs such as those used routinely to treat “ADHD:” 

  • Growth suppression measured by reduced height and weight
  • Stimulant abuse and dependence (addiction) and withdrawal symptoms
  • Reduced blood flow and overall frontal lobe brain function
  • Reduced overall cognitive function with obsessive over-focusing
  • Long-lasting abnormalities in brain chemistry
  • Permanent loss of brain cells (neurons) with shrinkage of brain tissue
  • Increased risk for abusing cocaine and smoking cigarettes in young adulthood
  • Persistent and sometimes permanent tics
  • Skin disorders
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced appetite

The brain dysfunction caused by these drugs can lead to serious psychiatric problems:

  • Depression, apathy, sadness and social withdrawal and isolation
  • Obsessive and compulsive behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior
  • Paranoia, mania and psychosis
  • Anxiety, nervousness and agitation
  • Insomnia

Every child and parent should know that the stimulants prescribed to children are highly toxic agents that the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) has insisted on keeping these drugs classified as Schedule IV narcotics along with morphine, the designation for the most highly addictive drugs used in medicine.

The act of diagnosing and medicating so many of our children has convinced many other children that the drugs must be relatively safe to experiment with and to take. After all, they see a substantial portion of their friends taking drugs like Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall every day for months and years at a time. They see that many of them only need to take them on school days. Some even limit their use for exam times or athletic competitions. Why shouldn’t they assume that it would be safe for them to try on their own for more occasional use, when studying especially hard or late into the night? 

Psychiatry and medicine treat these drugs as if they are safe and effective, when they are neither. Although it can be more harmful than some of the adverse effects of these drugs on the brain and mind, the moral jeopardy associated with psychiatric diagnosing and drugging is given little attention. We are teaching our children that drugs are the answer for everything from improving performance in school to dealing with life’s more difficult emotional, social and spiritual challenges. The children’s sense of self-determination is undermined by the belief that they have biochemical imbalances and psychiatric disorders like ADHD that make it impossible for them to control themselves without the use of prescription drugs.

Led by psychiatry and the drug companies, society is discouraging children from becoming masters of their own lives and encouraging them to become lifelong consumers of psychiatric drugs. Spellbound by these drugs — that is, rendered unable to perceive their drug-induced mental dysfunction — the grown adults will accept functioning on a lower level without realizing what they are missing in the way of a drug-free, fully alert mind. This is great news for unscrupulous members of the medical and psychiatric professions, and even greater news for the pharmaceutical industry. But it’s terrible news for our children and youth, and the bad news may extent into adulthood. Because their brains have been thrown into biochemical imbalance by years of exposure to psychiatric drugs, many adults find it difficult to go on living without taking more psychiatric drugs. They cannot stop taking stimulants, tranquilizers, antidepressants, neuroleptics or mood stabilizers because the withdrawal reactions have become too long, too severe and lasting or even permanent. It’s time to stop the process in childhood. It’s time to stop prescribing psychiatric medications to our children and instead to provide them needed improvements in the home, school and community.”

Source of quotes above: Exerpts from Dr. Breggin’s blog at the Huffington Post

Then to top all of this off once a child is discovered as having abused a psychostimulant the psychiatric field wants to label them with a “Stimulant Use Disorder”!  Of course this needs treatment.  A 226 page book on the treatment exists.

That is all you have to do if your child has been illegally using drugs is to get them help so that they can safely get off the drugs.  There are several links in the right-hand navigation panel that will point you to all different types of programs: do-it-yourself with supplements to detox facitlities, plain and spa-like.  Whatever you do, do not have your child stop cold turkey.  This could bring on several withdrawal symtoms.  Get them professional help whenever possible.  The professionals on this website deal with these things every day.

All information posted in this writing is the opinion of the author and is provided for educational purposes only.  It is not to be construed as medical advice.  Only a licensed medical doctor can legally offer medical advice in the United States.  Consult the healer of your choice for medical care and advice.
This website may contain some copyrighted material. We reserve the right to reproduce such material under the Copyright Act, Title 17 US Code, Section 107, “Fair Use”, as we believe the public should be informed of such information so they can think for themselves rather than rely on advertisements and the word of others. We gain no profit from such articles.

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6 Responses to “Psychostimulants (Stimulants): Side Effects, Dangers and Street Use”

  1. Ryan Says:

    “Reduced blood flow and overall frontal lobe brain function”

    Studies have consistently shown decreased blood flow to the prefrontal regions (particularly in the right frontal area) and pathways connecting these regions to the limbic system via the striatum— specifically, its anterior region known as the caudate—and to the cerebellum (Lou, Henrik- sen, & Bruhn, 1984, 1990; Lou, Henriksen, Bruhn, Borner, & Nielsen, 1989; Sieg, Gaffney, Preston, & Hellings, 1995). Degree of blood flow in the right frontal region has been correlated with behavioral severity of the disorder and with reduced EEG activity, while that in more posterior regions and the cerebellum seems related to degree of motor impairment (Gustafsson, Thernlund, Ryding, Rosen, & Cederblad, 2000). Blood flow in these regions appears to be affected by methylphenidate, a stimulant often used to treat ADHD (Langleben et al., 2002).

    Sounds like what you’re suggesting is that someone without ADHD who takes a CNS stimulant is going to get a brain that looks like ADHD? Seems like an obvious transposition error in your data. Any chance you’d consider updating your information to be more accurate?

  2. Steve Says:

    The more websites we have that tell the truth about the dangers of medication side effects the better. Our society seems blind to the truth. When we have thousands of kids taking meds that can actually cause agitation, aggression and violent behavior, no wonder schools are having so many behavior problems. I don’t know of one school that prohibits students from attending IF they are taking these drugs.

  3. Anonymous Says:


  4. craig Says:

    “If we dip into special populations such as those in special education or foster care, the figure for those taking psychiatric drugs approaches 100%.”

    where is your evidence for such a sweeping statement?

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