Josh Chandler | April 9, 2021

Methamphetamine vs. Amphetamine: What’s the Difference?

Is there a difference between methamphetamine vs. amphetamine? Find out how these drugs compare and how that difference can affect you.

Every year, approximately 1.2 million people use methamphetamine. Many more Americans use prescription amphetamines, like Adderall or Ritalin, for non-medicinal purposes.

Did you know that there were that many people abusing these drugs? Did you even realize that there was a difference between methamphetamine and amphetamines?

If you’ve been wondering about the difference between methamphetamine vs. amphetamine, keep reading.

Explained below is all the information you need on these two different drugs.

Methamphetamine Vs. Amphetamine

First things first, let’s clarify the similarities and differences between methamphetamine and amphetamine drugs.

Many people use these terms interchangeably, and it’s true that they are similar. But, there are also some important differences between them.

The primary difference is the fact that amphetamine drugs are a class of drug. Methamphetamine is made from amphetamine drugs.


Methamphetamine and amphetamine drugs are both stimulants. When you consume them, your heart rate increases and your blood pressure rises. Your metabolism speeds up and body temperature increases, too.

These effects are often accompanied by a sense of euphoria, an increase in energy, and an improved ability to focus.

Both methamphetamine and amphetamines are addictive. But, people tend to develop an addiction to methamphetamine more quickly.


Methamphetamine and amphetamines have very similar chemical structures, too.

The primary difference is that methamphetamine is able to enter the brain quicker than other amphetamine drugs. For people who abuse meth, the sense of euphoria and other effects are quick and intense.

Another important difference between these two drugs is the fact that you can get a prescription for one but not the other.

Amphetamine drugs have medicinal benefits, especially to individuals who suffer from ADD or ADHD.

Methamphetamine, on the other hand, is too dangerous for medicinal use.

Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse

If someone is abusing methamphetamine, they will often exhibit a wide range of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of methamphetamine abuse include:

  • Dramatic weight loss and a thin or frail body
  • Acne or sores on the face
  • Rotting teeth
  • Loose, droopy facial skin
  • A decreased immune system function
  • Damage to the liver
  • Increased libido
  • Itchy skin and frequent scratching

In severe cases, methamphetamine abuse can also lead to seizures and strokes.

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms associated with methamphetamine abuse include:

  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty learning new skills
  • Impaired visual memory
  • Psychosis (delusions, hallucinations, paranoia, etc.)
  • Irritability or mood swings

Insomnia is also common among people who abuse methamphetamine. They may even experience bouts of insomnia that last for days or weeks at a time.

Behavioral Symptoms

You may also notice behavioral changes. Methamphetamine addicts often begin to neglect family, school, or work-related responsibilities.

They may also begin to isolate themselves from friends or family or avoid activities they once enjoyed. Theft or selling possessions to afford more of the drug is common, too.

Signs of Amphetamine Abuse

There are many similarities between the signs of amphetamine abuse and the signs of methamphetamine abuse. But, there are also key differences of which you ought to be aware.

Common symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive distress
  • Mood swings or increased aggression
  • Paranoia or anxiety
  • An inability to keep up with responsibilities at work, home, or school
  • Changes in friend groups
  • Relationship difficulties
  • A loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities

People who are abusing or addicted to amphetamines often do not exhibit the same physical signs associated with methamphetamine abuse (sores, itching skin, rotting teeth, etc.). The psychological and behavioral symptoms are similar, though.

Students often abuse amphetamines, as do individuals who have busy, high-stress jobs.

Risks of Long-Term Abuse

Whether an individual is abusing methamphetamine or amphetamine drugs, it’s important to be aware of the long-term health risks that they may face if they’re not careful.

Common conditions associated with the abuse of either of these drugs include:

  • Chronically elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Chronically elevated body temperature
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Long-term sleep disturbances
  • Severe dental issues
  • Skin infections related to uncontrolled scratching of the skin
  • Low appetite and uncontrolled weight loss
  • Depression and chronic fatigue when drug use stops
  • High risk of developing HIV and other infections

The longer an individual uses methamphetamine or amphetamines, the worse their health is likely to become.

For example, chronic high blood pressure can lead to heart and blood vessel damage. Long-term body temperature elevation can lead to tissue and organ damage. Frequent undereating and extreme weight loss can lead to malnutrition.

Overcoming Addiction

Clearly, abuse of methamphetamine and amphetamine drugs is a serious problem. But, how should one go about trying to overcome an addiction to either of these drugs?

There are many different types of treatment someone can use to overcome their addiction. Some of the most common types of addiction treatment used to help amphetamine addicts include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Addiction education
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Family counseling
  • Group therapy

Some amphetamine addicts have to go through an inpatient rehabilitation program, while others can benefit from a less-intensive, outpatient approach.

Inpatient  therapy is beneficial to those who do not have a lot of outside support from family or friends. Those who have a lot of triggers or spend a lot of time in an environment that promotes drug use can also benefit from inpatient treatment.

Outpatient Rehab Los Angeles is a good option for those who have a lot of support from family and friends. It’s also good for those who work full-time or cannot leave their families to extended periods of time.

Get Help Today

Now that you know more about the difference between methamphetamine vs. amphetamine, it’s time to take action.

Is someone you love struggling with methamphetamine or amphetamine abuse or addiction?

Long-term abuse of these drugs can lead to serious consequences. If someone you love is abusing them, it’s imperative that they get help right away.

Not sure where to turn for help? If you live in or around the Los Angeles area, contact us at Muse Treatment today to learn more about our addiction recovery programs and the Los Angeles drug rehab.

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Josh Chandler
Josh Chandler
After growing up in Chicago and North Carolina, Josh chose to get help with substance use disorder and mental health in California because of the state's reputation for top-tier treatment. There, he found the treatment he needed to achieve more than five years of recovery. He's been in the drug and alcohol addiction rehab industry for four years and now serves as the Director of Admissions for Resurgence Behavioral Health. Josh remains passionate about the field because he understands that one phone call can alter the course of a person's life.

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