A psychostimulant is a drug that produces a temporary increase in psychomotor activity or a temporary improvement in physical functions or mental processes or both. A psychomotor activity is one that involves the coordination of motor skills with thought; for example, throwing a baseball, brushing your teeth, etc. Psychostimulants are drugs that can improve your ability both physically and mentally during such activities.
The most commonly used psychostimulants are caffeine, nicotine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, Ecstasy, cocaine and methylphenidate.
Some people use mild psychostimulants such as coffee throughout the day to improve their alertness, concentration, alertness, energy levels and performance.
Except for caffeine, nicotine and some over-the-counter drugs that act as psychostimulants, the majority of these drugs are regulated by the government and classified as addictive. This means they are only available legally through a physician’s prescription for conditions such as obesity, attention deficit disorder/hyperactivity and narcolepsy.
Psychostimulants are nevertheless widely abused illegally. Certain of them, such as methamphetamine, can be manufactured using materials available from drug and hardware stores.
Psychostimulants can have negative long-range effects on a person’s health because they raise blood pressure, increase heart beat and “speed up” other bodily functions. When the drug wears off, the person experiences a “crash” with symptoms such as depression and fatigue, leading them to take more drugs. Another problem is that users build up a tolerance for these drugs and have to take a higher dosage to get the same effects. People who are chemically dependent on psychostimulants often become extremely thin and suffer from mental disorders, especially delusions about their abilities, partly due to from sleep deprivation.
Common side effects of psychostimulants can be nervousness, restlessness, headache, dry mouth, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body and digestive problems such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, constipation and loss of appetite. Some people are allergic to these drugs and will experience sudden, sometimes life-threatening reactions such as hallucinations, seizures, rashes, chest pain, mania and shortness of breath. People with undiagnosed heart conditions have died suddenly after taking psychostimulants.