Anxiety and Stimulant Drugs
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, particularly over an event or an unpredictable future outcome. Anxiety can cause individuals to feel jittery or “on edge”, and can result in having an upset stomach, sweaty palms, trouble concentrating, nausea, headaches, and more. Many people with anxiety visit a doctor to determine the best course of treatment for them. Treatment may involve therapy, support groups, medication, or all 3 – what’s most important is that the person finds the best way to cope with their symptoms and rationalize their fears in a healthy way.
Whether a person has decided to seek treatment for their anxiety or not – a lot of people attempt to self-medicate. This could include the person smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee or soda, consuming ginseng, or using theobromine in hopes that it will help the person relieve their anxious feelings and focus on being productive or doing something that will distract them. However, these methods used to self-medicate are stimulants, and can make the anxiety feeling increase. Other forms of stimulants are ADHD medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, methamphetamine (including crystal meth) and cocaine.
Stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy, and elevate a person’s blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Stimulant prescription medications are typically used for ADHD, depression, asthma, obesity concerns, and other ailments. By taking a stimulant, the person’s central nervous system becomes “excited” and releases more chemicals, sending more/faster messages throughout the body. In doing this, energy carried throughout the body can easily be turned into anxiety.
If someone is anxious, taking a stimulant can increase their person’s racing thoughts, fast heartbeat, and nervousness. A person should speak with a doctor to determine the best course of action. Doctors often recommend benzodiazepines, which produce the opposite effect of stimulants, to help calm the central nervous system and reduce the rate of activity in nerve cells.
By recognizing stimulants often used in daily life, we can become more mindful of what we are consuming throughout the day and how that affects our body. Anxious thoughts can cause excessive worry and we may feel the need to take immediate action to get rid of those feelings, but the best way to handle chronic anxiety is to reach out to a healthcare professional to begin treatment towards recovery. There are also many holistic ways that a person can overcome anxiety, and those tools can be learned in therapy. Anxiety is very common and there are many resources available for anyone who needs help.
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