The act of arousing an organism to action.
A substance that raises levels of physiological or nervous activity in the body.
How I feel after watching early episodes of Bay Watch.
Wait a minute. Aren’t stimulants bad for me?! In a word, yes. And you never want to become dependant upon them, which is oh so easy to do. But there comes a time in the lives of all those living with CFS/ME when you just need that extra kick. When taking a nap just won’t cut it. You may be about to go on a first date, be making a speech as best man or attempting to remove your favourite Frisbee from a particularly large tree. So when you reach into the cupboard what should you pull out?
The Inaugral Super Stimulant Award nominees include
Ah yes, our old friend caffeine. Found in coffee, tea, cola and chocolate. It is the one psychoactive substance that has well and truly infiltrated modern society with an estimated 90% of the Western world consuming some form of caffeine each day.
Effects – . It’s effects usually last for around 3-4 hours. But in my case much longer. Over the years I’ve used and abused caffeine in the form of coffee and chai tea, especially before long board meetings. But I’ve finally come to the conclusion that it just ain’t worth it. For me cola is out the window straight away as its chocked full of sugar and has dubious production and marketing methods.
While I love a good cup of coffee the after effects of coming down, feeling jittery and jeopardising my sleep cycle simply aren’t worth the initial rush. Every now and again I’ll indulge in a soy chai latte or a quality green tea and on occasion I indulge in some dark chocolate, which can be especially useful in large quantities before making romance. But that’s about it…
Score– 6/10 Usually found in delicious substances. Can really make you fly. But has a particular strung out feeling to the come down and an ability to ruin a nights sleep, which for me is completely out of the question.
Glorious sugar. I’m largely referring to your refined sugars here found in most products in the supermarket aisle and usually just a hands grab away on most restaurant tables.
Effects – This stuff works fast and gives me a useful buzz. There have been periods when I’ve used it very strategically throughout the day to ensure I don’t crash too hard and this has been most useful. However this ain’t sustainable and I reckon you want to try and rule it out of your diet as much as possible.
Score- 8/10 Probably the cheapest and fastest acting of all the contenders. But also the most subtly addictive and evil on your teeth.
The king daddy of the herbal stimulant world is a berry originating from the Amazon. This humble fruit has now found its way into health food stores, chocolate bars and everything in between.
Effects – Guarana gives me more of a frenzied energy than the others and seems to be less predictable in it’s effects. For this reason I find harder to make use of and while it has the most natural credentials of the lot it’s after effects are equally discomforting.
Score – 5/10
Adderall, Dexedrine, MDMA, Provigil, Ritalin etc. Now we’re talking. But also starting to skirt the borders of legality. Dr. Lapp and Dr.Teitelbaum were both advocates of their use in the past though this may have changed now.
Effects – These are the Nuclear Weapons of the stimulant world and can wreak corresponding damage upon your body. You will feel filled with energy and rush around from one thing to the next like a headless chicken.
Score – 3/10 I personally wouldn’t consider using pharmaceutical uppers in my daily life. They do way too much damage to the body. But for special occasions maybe they have their place. You be the judge. Here is an article where Dr Paul Cheney shares why he thinks pharmaceutical stimulants ain’t so great for CFS/ME..
And the winner is……
Well what do you know. Sugar takes the cake. This could be influenced by the fact that I’ve just spent a few weeks in Belgium and had a couple of near sexual taste sensations after eating waffles with chocolate and cream. But at the end of the day sugar can be a lifesaver when you really need a quick pick me up. And when you replace it with eating honey it’s easy to feel a little less guilty.
In summary I don’t think stiumlants are all that useful if you’re going down the long, committed natural healing route. The low scores show that I’m still waiting to find that perfect stimulant. Man, sometimes I wish spinach really did turn you into Popeye…