Stimulants, also known as Uppers, are a category of drugs that are used for increasing alertness, activity and energy. Many stimulant drugs are used in prescription medications to alleviate disorders or illnesses that affect the nervous system. Overuse or abuse of stimulant drugs can lead to addiction, resulting in a host of other physical and mental reactions and disorders.

How do Stimulants Work?

Stimulants speed up processes in the brain and the body by releasing large amounts of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine in a short amount of time. When used under a physician’s care, stimulants may be prescribed for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some forms of sleep disorders. But upon prolonged use stimulants can result in severe side effects that can become chronic over time. 


Long term abuse of stimulants can also damage the brain by decreasing the number of neurons and glial cells leading to a decrease in white matter. Over time, it leads to depletion of self-generated levels of dopamine and serotonin, while increasing neurotoxins in the brain. 

5 Classes of Stimulants

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant drug present in substances such as coffee and some sodas. Because it is a stimulant it speeds up the messages between the brain and the body. It is also addictive, which means it can cause withdrawal symptoms when a regular intake is not available.

2. Nicotine

Nicotine, mainly present in tobacco used in cigarettes, cigars, e-cigarettes and other tobacco-based products is another widely used addictive stimulant. Excessive use and long term use may cause premature death, roughly 1 out of 5 deaths in the United States. It is a highly addictive substance causing dopamine floods to the brain, high blood sugar and a host of vascular diseases.

3. Cocaine

Cocaine, present in Coca bush leaves, is another stimulant drug that may be ingested in various ways such as smoking, snorting, inhaling, chewing, and injecting. It is illegal in the United States but it is still one of the most abused drugs. Long term use of cocaine may create a range of effects in the body and the brain, such as insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety, paranoia, and violent behavior. Overdosing on cocaine may lead to panic attacks, hallucinations, kidney failure, seizures, stroke, and heart attack.

4. Methamphetamine

Meth, or methamphetamine, is an extremely addictive psychostimulant drug similar to prescription amphetamines. It can be consumed in various ways such as smoking, snorting, inhaling, ingesting, and injecting. It is illegal in the United States but is rapidly expanding its reach over substance-abusing population.  Overdosing on methamphetamine may lead to kidney failure, convulsions, passing out, stroke, heart attack and death.

5. Prescription Stimulants

Prescription stimulants are psychoactive drugs that are commonly used in prescription medications such as Adderall, Ritalin and Concerta for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to help patients with their ability to focus and to control their impulses. Long term abuse of these medications can lead to depression, nausea, anxiety, manic states, and cardiovascular complications.

Short-term Side Effects of Stimulants

Long-term Risks and Dangers

Is Stimulant Addiction Curable?

Long term use of stimulant drugs damages the central nervous system (CNS) by acting on the neurotransmitters in the brain, which creates an imbalance of neurotransmitters. To combat the effects of these dangerously addictive substances may not be easy, but you can overcome your addiction with treatment if you have the commitment to do so.

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.