In the middle of the night, a 25 year old female, named Sylvie, comes to the emergency department complaining of retrosternal chest pain that began a couple of hours ago. Earlier that night, she was at a party, where she and her friends consumed alcohol.
Upon further questioning, Sylvie reveals that she also consumed an illicit drug. She is otherwise healthy, has no history of cardiac disease, and does not take any medications.
On physical examination, Sylvie is sweating profusely. In addition, her pupils are dilated, and the nasal septum is atrophic.
Vital signs reveal a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celsius, a heart rate of 110 beats per minute, and a blood pressure of 160 over 90 millimeters of mercury.
Some days later, you meet a 36 year old male, named Hunter, who comes in due to recurrent headaches associated with trouble concentrating and irritability.
Hunter adds that he feels like he can’t stop eating, and as a consequence, he’s gained about 3 kilograms, or about 7 pounds, over the last two weeks.
When you ask about his habits, Hunter admits to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes daily for the last 10 years, but stopped smoking about two weeks ago.
Based on the initial presentation, both Sylvie and Hunter seem to have a form of stimulant intoxication or withdrawal.
Stimulants are a group of substances that, when consumed, typically lead to increased activity in the body and brain.
Stimulants include legal substances like caffeine, nicotine, and some amphetamines that can be prescribed for medical treatment; as well as illegal substances, such as cocaine and other amphetamines like MDMA.