These are medications that make you more alert and focused. They raise your blood pressure, pulse and breathing rate. Your energy level rises, too. Stimulants are commonly used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (which we call "ADHD"). Stimulants can also be used for other disorders.

How They Work

Here's how stimulants work. There's a chemical in your brain called "dopamine." It's a neurotransmitter, which means it helps signals move from one nerve to another. Dopamine helps control the reward and pleasure centers in your brain. It plays a role in how you react to certain situations in life. But some people have too little dopamine. Stimulants increase your levels of dopamine. That can calm you and make you more focused.

Types of Medications

There are several types of stimulants, and they affect your brain in different ways. Your doctor may need to try a few different medications before finding the one that's right for you.


If you're taking a stimulant, follow all of your doctor's instructions and advice. Take it only as directed. Don't change your dose, and don't stop taking it without your doctor's advice. Talk to your doctor for more information about the safe use and possible side effects of stimulants.