Any drug that excites any bodily function; usually one that stimulates the central nervous system, inducing alertness, elevated mood, wakefulness, increased speech and motor activity, and decreased appetite. Their mood-elevating effects make some stimulants (e.g., amphetamines, caffeine and its relatives, cocaine, nicotine) potent drugs of abuse (see drug addiction). Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit disorder in children, is a mild stimulant.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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