In the second half of the 1990s, a global
trend of escalating stimulant misuse was observed across a number
of EU countries (stimulants such as cocaine, amphetamine,
methamphetamine, methylenedioxymethamphetamine/ MDMA, cathinone
When reorganising statutory and non-statutory services to
cope with this increasingly widespread clinical issue, the
epidemiological approach is of paramount importance, and a clear
appreciation of the levels of stimulant misuse is necessary in
order to allocate the appropriate levels of resources.
Stimulant misuse is typically associated with an imbalance of
neurotransmitters, especially dopamine. Therefore, practising
psychiatrists need to be aware of the psychopathological
consequences related to substance misuse in order to refine
their own diagnostic and clinical management skills.