Stimulants such as cocaine, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, nicotine and ‘Ecstasy’ are just some of the drugs on the market which affect the brain and body, creating feelings of euphoria. Learn more about how stimulants interact with the body system and impact functioning of the brain and body.


How Stimulants Work

A small dose of stimulants may create a sense of energy, euphoria, talkativeness and mental alertness. Sight, sound and touch sensations are heightened for a time and the body forgets to feel hunger or fatigue. As the body temperature rises, the heart pumps more quickly to keep blood flowing through the veins. In larger doses, stimulants can cause a person to act erratically or violently, causing harm to oneself or others.


Brain and Body

The brain experiences changes when stimulants enter the system. Nerve cell communication changes as a buildup of dopamine occurs in the brain. People who take stimulants will feel intense pleasure and increased energy while others may feel anxious and paranoid. Every person experiences stimulants differently. Stimulants can also interfere with serotonin and block nerve impulses. Repeated use of stimulants can disrupt the functioning of the brain’s dopamine system. People may try to compensate by taking more of the drug to experience the same pleasurable feelings, leading to tolerance and even addiction (needing more stimulants to experience the effects) causing a dangerous buildup of toxic substances in the brain and body which can lead to overdose or even death.


Absorption of Stimulants

Stimulants are absorbed relatively quickly when smoked, snorted or used intravenously. The faster the absorption of stimulants, the more intense and rapid the high. Injection of stimulants produces an effect within 15-30 seconds. One hit of crack, when smoked, may produce an almost immediate effect and intense experience but ends within 5-15 minutes. If snorted, stimulants create an effect in the body almost immediately but a person will feel the high for approximately 15 to 30 minutes.



Single, low doses of stimulants may improve mental and motor control performance in people who experience lethargy. Stimulants do not necessarily enhance an average person’s daily work or ability in completing complex tasks such as driving. Most studies conducted on the use of stimulants focus on low dosage amounts. The dosing requirements result in better attention span but have shown no effect on cognitive processes such as learning. Stimulants can provide powerful psycho-active effects for individuals who take the drugs but also have addictive properties. Most stimulants are sold on the streets and are injected with other substances which can change the purity and safety of the product.


Stimulants have addictive properties which can have devastating consequences on an individual’s mental and physical wellbeing. If you or a loved one are struggling to quit using stimulants, contact Hired Power for information and resources on recovery.