Strategies to Help Highly Motivated Individuals Overcome Addiction

Businessman sitting at his office desk.

Strategies to Help Highly Motivated Individuals Overcome Addiction

Working in a high-pressure environment can be difficult. When the stress begins to mount, some people turn to stimulants to maintain the pace and create over-achieving results. However, these harmful stimulants can lead to addiction. Also, instead of promoting calm, these stimulants can perpetuate feelings of stress and anxiety.

How Do Stimulants Work?

Stimulants work by increasing dopamine levels in the brain to artificially drive motivation. People use stimulants to tackle difficult tasks and keep a laser-sharp focus. This may seem beneficial in the short term, but it can cause long-lasting problems.

The Effects of Stimulants on Physical and Mental Health

Although stimulants do help individuals get through the day, the use of stimulants can come with significant negative physical and mental health effects. Using stimulants perpetuate symptoms of stress and anxiety. What’s more, they can interfere with sleep schedules and quickly deteriorate a person’s quality of sleep and energy levels. 

Fortunately, various professional treatment options exist to help people overcome the effects of stimulant addiction. When people reach out for professional help, they can learn healthy strategies to cope with stress and improve their quality of life.

What Is Stimulant Use Disorder?

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (USDVA), stimulant use disorder occurs when an individual continues to use stimulants despite the harmful effects. Stimulants can include illicit street drugs or the misuse of legal prescription medications.

Stimulants can initially cause exhilaration, maximize physical and mental performance, and enhance self-esteem. They can increase one’s activity, extend wakefulness to get work done, and ultimately provide a strong sense of euphoria that the individual may have been seeking. Stimulants may include:

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Amphetamine
  • MDMA (also known as Molly or Ecstasy)
  • Ritalin
  • Adderall

As stated in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) guide
Treatment of Stimulant Use Disorders, it was estimated that approximately five million U.S. citizens aged 12 or older used cocaine in 2018. Within the same year, 1.9 million people in the same age range used methamphetamine. Stimulant use disorders display a prevalence in the U.S. population and have a negative impact on individuals and society as a whole.

Negative Effects of Addiction

Conforming to the Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration: Drug Fact Sheet, the effects of stimulants are greatly intensified when large doses are taken. Taking too much over time or taking a large dose at once can increase adverse side effects. If used in high doses, the stimulants may cause increased agitation, aggression, and hostility. Additional symptoms may include:

  • Tremors
  • Flushed skin
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dizziness

Overdose effects may include:

  • Convulsions
  • High fever
  • A cardiovascular collapse, which may precede death

Psychological dependence may occur as a person’s tolerance increases. Once the euphoria wears off, the individual may experience fatigue, depression, and extreme cravings.

Helpful Strategies for Staying Focused Without Stimulants

It can be difficult for an individual with a busy schedule to stay focused. A demanding workload can be stressful. Looking for a faster way to get results is a natural desire. However, instead of taking stimulants to increase one’s ability to focus, there are several helpful strategies that can help a person achieve their goals in a timely fashion.

A few tips include creating a clean workspace before jumping into work. It can also help to eliminate all distractions. Doing one thing at a time rather than multitasking, focusing on the present task, and setting priorities first can help one stay organized.

Taking short breaks can bring relief and practicing mindfulness and meditation can be highly beneficial. Of course, doing these things may not come with immediate results. However, once these strategies are put into action, over time, it gets easier and brings relief. 

Professional Treatment Options to Overcome Addiction

Although using these types of strategies may help an individual stay focused, they may not be enough to overcome stimulant addiction. Family and friends may offer additional support, but seeking professional help from mental healthcare specialists may be the best option. Professionals can help people overcome intense cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and co-occurring mental or physical conditions that led to the addiction.

It can be helpful to communicate concerns to a family practitioner to receive a referral to a psychiatrist. Once diagnosed, the next step is to reach out to a therapist and discuss an individualized treatment plan of care to achieve long-term sobriety.

Recommended Treatment Options

Based on the aforementioned SAMHSA guide, treatment options recommended for individuals with stimulant use disorder include:

It is always best to consult a professional who is trained in helping people develop coping techniques. With professional treatment, an individual can develop the mental agility needed to be better focused and ultimately overcome the effects of addiction. Those who pursue their well-being by seeking treatment gain the confidence needed to achieve maximum performance without stimulants.