PED’s Examples
At Paracelsus Recovery, we understand that overcoming a psychostimulant dependency is difficult, and we are here to help. We will tailor-make a treatment programme to suit your specific needs. We aim to teach you robust strategies for coping with stress which does not require damaging your health.

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Psychostimulants (Smart Drugs)

Many people struggle with the pressure to get ahead in their profession. Psychostimulant PEDs (Smart Drugs) can sometimes seem like a means of working harder and getting ahead of the curve. However, the risks outweigh the benefits.

A psychostimulant is any kind of psychotropic substance that stimulates our central nervous system (CNS). Stimulants work by increasing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine. As a result, we feel more focused, energetic, attentive and confident.

Common Psychostimulant Drugs Include:


Prescription Medications

  • Amphetamine Salts (Benzedrine, Adderall, Vyvanse)
  • Methylphenidates (Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, Focalin)
  • Modafinil (Provigil, Sparlon)

Illegal Substance

  • Cocaine
  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy

Legal Psychostimulants

  • Caffeine
  • Tobacco
  • Creatine

All these drugs can be abused for performance-enhancing purposes and each is highly addictive.

How do Smart Drugs Work?

Cognitive PEDs increase the action of dopamine. This is a neurotransmitter involved in pleasure and attention span. CNS stimulants essentially block our brain’s reabsorption of dopamine, which allows us to experience an excess amount.

CNS prescription medication is often used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. This is because if someone suffers from a condition such as ADHD, they lack dopamine. By blocking our brain’s reabsorption, CNS stimulants help to rebalance their brain chemistry. But if someone misuses these drugs for non-medical reasons, they do the exact opposite. Excess dopamine will lead to unbalanced brain chemistry, and that brings risks with it.

Physical Side Effects Include:

  • Convulsions
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest (overdosing)
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Psychological Side Effects Include:

  • Depersonalisation
  • Increased anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mania
  • Risk-taking behaviour
  • Increased aggression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Addiction

Why are Psychostimulants so Addictive?

Any substance (or behaviour) which releases excessive amounts of dopamine in our brain is addictive. If we do not have any medical reason for using stimulant medication, then these drugs will drastically increase the amount of dopamine in circulation within the brain.

The increase in activity of these neurotransmitters induces a feeling of euphoria, which motivates continued use. However, these highs are followed by long periods of depression, irritability and agitation. This cycle of highs and lows sets the stage for addiction and mental health issues.

Signs of dependency include:


If prescribed, exceeding the recommended dosage.

  • Lying to doctors or exaggerating symptoms to obtain more of the medication.
  • Continuing to use the substance despite wanting to quit.
  • Needing more and more of a stimulant to get the desired effect (tolerance).
  • Experiencing cravings or physical symptoms when not using (withdrawal)

If you show any of these signs, you might be developing a dependency. If you continue to abuse these substances, it could damage your health, career and relationships. However, psychostimulant addiction can be effectively overcome via detoxification and intensive therapy.

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