Amphetamines are a class of drugs that affect the central nervous system. They can be legal or illegal. When prescribed by a doctor, amphetamines are legal and can treat health problems like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy or obesity. Amphetamines are illegal when people get them off the street to get high or improve their performance. For the most part, amphetamines are safe when prescribed for the right reasons and used under the supervision of a doctor. However, these drugs are addictive and can have serious side effects for those who misuse them. Unfortunately, amphetamine abuse and amphetamine addiction have become extremely common in recent years.
Amphetamine Abuse Statistics
It’s hard to get a clear picture of amphetamine abuse because it’s under-reported. Between the availability of these drugs and how many people are being treated for disorders like ADHD, it’s possible that amphetamine drug users may surpass opiate and cocaine users. Also, because so many young people are treated for ADHD, drug rehabs in Phoenix are seeing amphetamine misuse in children younger and younger.
Abuse of amphetamines dates back to the 1940s when WWII American soldiers were prescribed Benzedrine to keep them alert and awake while flying planes. Another wave of abuse started in the 1960s when people began abusing speed, and this is around the time that the negative effects of these drugs became noticeable.
What Are the Effects of Amphetamine Abuse?
Amphetamines have a lengthy list of side effects. They affect the central nervous system and have the ability to disrupt the way the brain communicates with the rest of the body. As a result, amphetamines can cause a lot of problems, particularly when they’re not used properly or when they are combined with other drugs or alcohol.
The short-term effects are why people become addicted to amphetamines in the first place. Users often report feeling a “rush” sensation that leads them craving more. Not to mention, the effects of amphetamines are often desirable, allowing people to stay awake, stay focused and improve their performance in work, school or sports.
The short term effects of taking methamphetamines are:
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Rapid breathing
- Dry mouth and jaw clenching
- Dilated pupils and sweating
When the “rush” is over, users usually experience a crash or comedown. Amphetamines also have long-lasting effects on the brain and body, leading to long-term consequences like the following:
- High blood pressure
- Mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Heart palpitations
Why are Amphetamines So Hard on the Body?
Amphetamine drugs like Adderall activate receptors in the brain and increase the activity of various neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and norepinephrine. When these chemicals are released, they cause heart rate, blood flow and mental alertness to increase. People feel good and less fatigued, but this only lasts for a short amount of time.
When the drug wears off, users end up feeling worse and this is what starts the cycle of tolerance, dependence and addiction. It’s also possible to overdose on amphetamines, especially if you combine them with other legal or illegal drugs like alcohol, antidepressants, cannabis or sleeping medication.
Coming down from amphetamines can take days, probably because they stay in your system. They’re usually detected in the blood for 4 to 8 hours after use and in the urine for 2 to 5 days after use. When you’re coming down, you may experience:
- Sleep difficulties
- Muscle twitching
- Irritability and mood swings
- Paranoia and confusion
- Changes in body temperature
What Are the Signs of an Amphetamine Addiction?
If you’re currently taking amphetamines as directed by your doctor, you shouldn’t get addicted. Your doctor knows what dosage is safe for your condition. Addiction happens when you misuse amphetamines to get high or improve performance. Eventually, you won’t be able to control your use and you’ll rely on these drugs to get through your day.
Addiction also leads to tolerance, which means you need more and more of the drug to feel the same effects. And if you try to stop using the drugs, you will experience withdrawal effects. This is what makes it difficult to stop on your own. Thankfully, most people respond well to detox and intensive outpatient treatment in Phoenix.
Some of the signs that you may be addicted to stimulants are:
- Strong cravings for the drug
- Need higher doses to get the same effects
- Not being able to concentrate
- Panic attacks
- Psychotic episodes
- Extreme tiredness
- Loss of appetite
Treatment Options for Amphetamine Addiction
Treatment begins with recognizing that there is a problem. Sometimes, people are slower to acknowledge an addiction to stimulants because they can be legally prescribed by a doctor. But once you recognize your problem, the next step is to get help and support.
If you have been taking amphetamines for a long time, you’ll need to go through detox. At Continuum Recovery Center, we recommend an outpatient or inpatient medical detox program where you’ll have access to around-the-clock supervision, medications and alternative therapies. All of these things will keep you comfortable during detox so that you can be successful.
Once you are clean, you can start a treatment program. Continuum Recovery Center provides intensive outpatient and standard outpatient rehab in Phoenix AZ. We offer holistic therapies, EMDR therapy, family education and much more. We have experience treating amphetamine addiction and can provide you and your family with the care and support you need.
Recover from Amphetamine Addiction Today
Contact Continuum Recovery Center to learn more about your options for treating amphetamine abuse. It might feel like you’re running out of options, but we want to assure you that methamphetamine addiction is treatable. If you have an underlying mental health problem as well, we can treat it at our holistic outpatient treatment facility. Don’t let fear stop you from getting the help you need.