Table of Contents
What exactly is a central nervous system stimulant?
Central nervous system stimulants are medications that speed up brain activity, causing an increase in alertness and attention. Some of these stimulants target the central nervous system (CNS) more specifically than others; CNS-specific stimulants tend to have fewer side effects than their non-CNS counterparts.
A Sample List of Central Nervous System Stimulant Drugs
Examples of drugs that act as CNS stimulants and their common brand names include:
- Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine)
- Concerta (methylphenidate)
- Focalin (dexmethylphenidate)
- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Vyvanse (Pro)
- Adipex-P (Pro)
Though each of these drugs is classified as a CNS stimulant, they all work differently in the body. For example, methylphenidate is the active ingredient in both Concerta and Ritalin; however, because Concerta uses an extended-release formula, it lasts longer and only needs to be taken once a day. Ritalin also contains methylphenidate but comes in a shorter-acting formula so it must be given multiple times throughout the day.
While CNS stimulants are used to treat people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and certain sleep disorders including sleep apnea they can also be miulsused by healthy individuals seeking increased energy or improved cognitive performstimance (because these types of drugs give an instant boost that is not necessarily sustainable). Misuse can lead to addiction; therefore, all CNS stimulants are classifi-ed as controlled substances, meaning that prescriptions for them must be written by lisystemcensed physicians and dispensed by certified pharmacists.
Abuse Of Central Nervous System Stimulants
Previous studies have shown that the abuse of central nervous system stimulant drugs is associated with accelerated neurodegeneration in specific brain regions, leading to dementia. Among these are methamphetamine, 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), MDMA analogs such as methylone and mephedrone, and synthetic cathinone found in bath salts. These findings suggest that similar mechanisms may underlie the neurotoxicity induced by these different classes of amphetamine derivatives. However, additional information is needed about the pharmacology of these agents at central nervous system targets relevant to neurotoxicity in order to better understand drug action and aid in developing effective treatment strategies for patients suffering from psychostimulant addiction or dependence.
Method We review several lines of evidence that implicate dopamine in the neurotoxic actions of psychostimulants, focusing on methamphetamine and MDMA because these agents have been studied most extensively. We discuss how amphetamines may increase reactive oxygen species production in striatal projection neurons through several potential mechanisms: by directly releasing sequestered iron in a non-vesicular manner, by increasing neuronal calcium ion flux in a vesicular manner in response to dopamine or norepinephrine release, or by inhibiting proper mitochondria function, leading to elevated intracellular calcium levels. Finally, we consider how regulation of brain glutathione homeostasis might be implicated in drug-mediated toxicity, and review data supporting this hypothesis.
Why are central nervous system stimulating drugs used to treat ADHD?
ADHD is a neurobehavioral disorder of inattention and hyperactivity which affects 3-5% of all children and adolescents. Stimulants such as methylphenidate (Ritalin) and dexamphetamine (Dexedrine), when appropriately prescribed, can greatly benefit these children by helping them concentrate on schoolwork and develop more appropriate social behaviors.
Because ADHD severely impairs a child’s academic, social, familial, and vocational development, parents may be willing to try almost any treatment that has even the slightest possibility of relieving their child’s suffering. But many physicians are hesitant to prescribe stimulant medication for ADHD because they fear the risks associated with it: addiction, cardiovascular events, psychiatric problems, and unfounded ideas about growth suppression.
The most common side effects of stimulants are loss of appetite, insomnia, and stomach aches. Long-term use is associated with decreased physical activity and slowed growth in children. Stimulants can also cause mild irritability, nausea, nervousness, and mood swings. The physician must inform the parents that these medications do not produce a “high” or untoward psychological change in their child’s behavior. This article discusses why over prescription and nonmedical use of stimulants to treat ADHD has been so prevalent among teenagers and college students; how these adolescents minimize the risks associated with taking stimulant medication; the differing opinions about addiction potential between adolescents and adults; the possibility of using non-stimulants for ADHD treatment.
How central nervous system stimulant increases energy?
Successfully increased energy is the key. It is the starting point of all activities, both mental and physical. The lack of it can cause even an able man to become inefficient in his everyday life. We try to increase it by taking food that contains more calories (energy) or by increasing physical activity (workouts). However, there are certain stimulants that act more directly on brain cells and increase their metabolic rate without inducing any unwanted side effects. These drugs are called Central Nervous System (CNS) Stimulants.
Central nervous system stimulants are chemical compounds capable of temporarily warding off fatigue, restoring alertness, improving concentration, mood, and cognitive performance. They may be used medically for treating neurological disorders like depression, narcolepsy, and even obesity.
Take a look at the following list of CNS stimulants: Caffeine, Amphetamine, Methylphenidate, Modafinil etc. Notice something in common? These drugs all belong to the Phenethylamine class and more precisely its derivatives: PEA or β-PEA (beta-phenylethylamine), Epinephrine (adrenaline), Norepinephrine (noradrenaline). The latter two neurotransmitters are produced naturally in the body during periods of stress/danger and cause that sense of ‘rush’ we experience when fully engaged. The former one on the other hand is synthetically created and has similar effects on cognitive functions. These three chemicals have a very similar molecular structure – Phenylethylamine.
Phenylethylamines, as CNS stimulants, exert their action by increasing the amounts of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine in synapses (nerve-cell junctions) by blocking the reuptake of those neurotransmitters from the synaptic cleft. They can also inhibit monoamine oxidase enzymes (MAO) that break down monoamines like dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. By slowing down their degradation they stay active for longer periods and increase the availability of those neurotransmitters in brain cells.
The list of benefits resulting from an increased level of these chemicals is large: greater alertness and awareness; improved concentration; better memory recall; increased energy; reduced fatigue; faster reaction times, etc. These effects are directly translated into our performance in everything that requires mental-physical effort: sports, working, studying, learning new things, flirting with others…
Central nervous system stimulants can be used for different purposes. The most popular one is to stay awake and alert when all your body wants is rest (insomnia) or take a study drug before an exam. Productive companies often require their employees to take CNS stimulants during night shifts or when the workload becomes too demanding for regular human capabilities. They increase motivation and drive at least in a short-term perspective!
The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Central Nervous System Stimulant
What is another term for central nervous system stimulant?
Another term for central nervous system stimulants can also be called psychostimulants. This term has been used since at least 1965 by some scholars. It can be seen in this excerpt from an article on drug abuse: “Psychostimulants are drugs that elevate mood or increase physical activity.”
There are many types of medicines that are considered to be psychostimulants including caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamine.
What is the most effective natural cns stimulant?
I’ll let others figure out how to make caffein (coffee), methamphetamine (Adderall) or cocaine work for them; below I will share with you some supplements which have been known to work well as cognitive enhancers. They won’t be as powerful as Adderall or Modafinil by any means but they’re probably much less risky than the highly addictive and highly dangerous alternatives listed above (and yes, caffeine addiction can be real).
What is the preferred central nervous system stimulant for the treatment of narcolepsy?
One might wonder why I’d bother including any substances here that aren’t as potent or dangerous as Adderall or cocaine when those would do better for anyone that knew how to use them safely. My answer is simply this: safety first… because not everyone knows how to use these drugs responsibly so I’d prefer to promote legal alternatives that are much less likely to cause harm to anyone.
Caffeine is probably the most widely used CNS stimulant in human history, so it’s natural for us to wonder how it affects our brains. Caffein blocks adenosine receptors, which are inhibitory nervous system regulators. By blocking those signals, caffein causes increased neuron firing rates and improved signal-to-noise ratios which results in enhanced mood activation through norepinephrine stimulation. It also increases dopamine release but the effects here are not as well studied or documented as its effect on other neurotransmitters like norepinephrine (which works directly on adrenaline).
Methylphenidate can be used as first-line therapy for narcolepsy patients without prior amphetamine exposure or tolerance. It is sometimes prescribed off-label for chronic fatigue syndrome with excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS). Modafinil is another potential option for EDS and was recently approved by the FDA to treat shift work disorder in 20013. The most common adverse effects reported with modafinil include insomnia, headache, nausea, and anxiety.
Amphetamine is an FDA-approved treatment for EDS. However, amphetamine carries a high risk of addiction and abuse associated with this class of medications.
An alternative to the psychostimulants that have been approved by the FDA for narcolepsy therapy is atomoxetine. Atomoxetine was recently approved as a nonstimulant medication option for ADHD in adults and children over six years old. It has been found to reduce excessive sleepiness without adversely affecting nighttime sleep or other major functions. In addition to being beneficial during the day, atomoxetine does not increase blood pressure or pulse rate at rest or during, which eliminates potential cardiovascular complications. The most common side effects associated with atomoxetine are dry mouth, nausea, insomnia, decreased appetite, and headaches.
A number of alternative therapies have been investigated for the treatment of EDS in narcolepsy. These include sodium oxybate (sodium gamma-hydroxybutyrate) which is FDA-approved for the treatment of cataplexy associated with narcolepsy. Other medications that have shown some benefit for sleepiness are antidepressants such as mirtazapine and trazodone, along with several other off-label agents including SSRIs, tricyclic antidepressants, α2-agonists, dopamine agonists, GABAergic agents, cholinergic drugs, neurokinin 3 antagonists.
What is the purpose of central nervous system stimulant?
Central nervous system stimulants are medications that are prescribed to people who have been diagnosed with ADHD, ADD or narcolepsy. They help increase attention span and alertness by stimulating the central nervous system.
Most often these kinds of medications are used in combination with another medication such as a non-stimulant to treat ADHD. These types of combinations can be very effective for treating symptoms associated with ADHD and also reduce the risk of side effects.
Though there is no research on whether or not they can improve test scores or academic performance, it has been shown that many students without diagnoses use them to concentrate better when studying, especially when tests and grades weigh heavily on their futures. There is much debate over whether or not this is ethical. No matter your opinion on the issue, it is clear that there are many forces inside and outside of school that influence students to use these medications as tools to achieve better academic performance.
The way stimulants work in the brain can be understood by looking at how neurons communicate with each other. Neurons communicate with each other through neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Stimulants increase levels of these neurotransmitters which leads to an enhancement in our mood and focus abilities. This increase typically starts within 20 minutes and reaches a peak level within an hour or two after administration. The effects last for somewhere between 4-6 hours depending on the medication used and how much was administered. the situation, one should always consider the use of these medications with care and caution.
What are Symptoms of severe CNS depression include?
decreased heart rate
a low breathing rate of less than ten breaths per minute
acute perplexity or memory loss
vomiting and nausea
lips or fingers that are blue
irritation and hostility
skin that is clammy or chilly
mood swings that are abrupt and strong
Reaction times are sluggish.
If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should seek medical attention right away. Severe symptoms might eventually result in unresponsiveness, coma, and death.