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What are the treatments for Stimulant-Related Disorders?

Treatment of stimulant-related disorders first requires patients to remain abstinent from the drug. Treatment of specific amphetamine-induced disorders (e.g., psychotic disorder, anxiety disorder) with antipsychotic drugs and anxiolytics may be necessary on a short-term basis. Antipsychotics may be prescribed for the first few days. If there are no symptoms of psychosis, diazepam (Valium) is useful to treat patients’ agitation and hyperactivity. Coexisting conditions, such as depression, may respond to antidepressant medication. Bupropion (Wellbutrin) may be of use after patients have withdrawn from amphetamine use.

Patients withdrawing from cocaine typically experience fatigue, dysphoria, disturbed sleep, and some craving; many experience depression. No pharmacological agents reliably reduce the intensity of withdrawal, but recovery over a week or two is generally uneventful. Because of the cocaine user’s intense craving for the drug, attaining abstinence can be difficult. It may require complete or partial hospitalization to remove a patient from the usual settings in which they had obtained or used cocaine.

Stimulant addiction treatment involves non-confrontational behavioral counseling that provides general information about the addiction process and specifics about the individual treatment plan. Counseling may be offered to family and significant others. In addition to initial individual counseling, a treatment plan for a stimulant-related disorder usually includes setting up abstinence goals, attending group therapy, encouraging family support, and establishing long-term support and follow-up.

Mental Health Library Sources:

Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.


Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.

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