Examining Symptoms of Stimulant Misuse and Community Support Among Members of a Recovery-Oriented Online Community

Erin Kasson, Lindsey M. Filiatreau, Kevin Davet, Nina Kaiser, Georgi Sirko, Mehaly Bekele, Patricia Cavazos-Rehg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Misuse of prescription and non-prescription stimulants and related overdose deaths represent a growing public health crisis that warrants immediate intervention. We examined 100 posts and their respective comments from a public, recovery-oriented Reddit community in January 2021 to explore content related to DSM-V stimulant use disorder symptoms, access and barriers to recovery, and peer support. Using inductive and deductive methods, a codebook was developed with the following primary themes: 1) DSM-V Symptoms and Risk Factors, 2) Stigma/Shame, 3) Seeking Advice or Information, 4) Supportive or Unsupportive Comments. In 37% of posts community members reported taking high doses and engaging in prolonged misuse of stimulants. Nearly half of posts in the sample (46%) were seeking advice for recovery, but 42% noted fear of withdrawal symptoms or a loss of productivity (18%) as barriers to abstinence or a reduction in use. Concerns related to stigma, shame, hiding use from others (30%), and comorbid mental health conditions (34%) were also noted. Social media content analysis allows for insight into information about lived experiences of individuals struggling with substance use disorders. Future online interventions should address recovery barriers related to stigma and shame as well as fears associated with the physical and psychological impact of quitting stimulant misuse.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Psychoactive Drugs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • DSM-V Stimulant Use Disorder Symptoms
  • Online Community
  • Online Support
  • Reddit
  • Stimulant Use
  • Substance-Use Disorder


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