Author(s):Professor Fabrizio Schifano and Dr Antonio Albanese
Stimulants are the most commonly used substances for recreational purposes worldwide.
Even occasional misuse may result in a number of detrimental effects, by increasing the risks of acute, chronic physical and mental health problems.
This module firstly summarises the biological mechanisms of action of stimulants and how their use can lead to chronic addiction and dependence. We then highlight how treatment approaches should mirror the clinical complexity of stimulant misuse, whilst incorporating psychiatric, medical and social management skills.
In structuring services for substance misuse, organisational strategies should take into account the specific needs of service users. Only a clear appreciation of the epidemiology of stimulant misuse and a better understanding of the new trends in drug scenarios will allow allocation of appropriate resources.
Although unfortunately therapeutic options with robust evidence of effectiveness are generally lacking, we will focus attention on those research findings that have the largest body of agreement between theory and treatment.
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