Stimulants are a broad classification that includes many different substances. These drugs include common compounds such as caffeine and nicotine, illicit substances such as cocaine and meth, and prescription amphetamines such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Concerta.
Stimulants work by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, which triggers the brain"s reward system and the body"s cardiovascular system, respectively. The increase in these chemicals improves concentration and decreases fatigue, desirable effects for those with stress, narcolepsy, or treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This makes stimulants very popular and commonly abused, especially among young adults seeking to outperform their peers in academics, athletics, or in the workforce. While stimulants can provide beneficial short-term effects, long-term abuse of these drugs often has severe consequences such as cardiovascular damage and a risk of addiction.
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