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What Are the Different Types of Stimulants?

Nicotine, found in cigarettes and other tobacco products, is a stimulant.
Caffeine is a stimulant.
A doctor should be consulted before taking any stimulant.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 July 2014
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There are several different types of stimulants available, including natural, medical, and illegal. Examples of natural stimulants include caffeine, nicotine, and ephedra. Prescription stimulants are often used to treat medical conditions such as narcolepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Among the illegal types are cocaine and methamphetamine. There are possible side effects and drug interactions associated with the use of all of the different types of stimulants, so a doctor should be consulted if there are any specific questions or concerns.

Ephedra, caffeine, and nicotine are types of natural stimulants. Ma huang, more commonly known as ephedra, is a plant that posses natural stimulant properties and is used to treat respiratory disorders such as hay fever and asthma. Caffeine is produced naturally by several different plants and is found in products such as tea, soft drinks, and chocolate. Nicotine is found in plants such as the tobacco plant and is a primary constituent of cigarettes.

Medical stimulants are synthetic drugs that are designed to improve focus or provide energy. These medications are often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, is primarily diagnosed in children and is characterized by difficulty focusing and controlling impulses. Narcolepsy is a type of neurological disorder that results in interruptions of normal sleep cycles.

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Illegal stimulants include drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. These drugs are highly addictive and often allow the user to stay awake for several days at a time. Illegal drugs are very dangerous and can prove to be fatal, even at small doses. In some cases, these types of stimulants are created from a combination of over-the-counter medications and household chemicals, adding to the potential dangers.

There are potential side effects of all of the different types of stimulants, some of which can be life threatening. Stimulants are known to increase the heart rate and may lead to serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke. Additional side effects of these drugs include insomnia, loss of appetite, and an enhanced ability to focus. Those with certain medical conditions may not be advised to use stimulants, so a doctor should be consulted before taking any of these drugs. Some medications may not work properly when combined with certain types of stimulants, making it important to notify the doctor of any over-the-counter or prescription medications being used.

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