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Amphetamine Abuse and Addiction
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, prescription stimulants are often misused by people looking to improve cognitive function. They’re very popular with college students and teenagers. Taking these “study drugs” enables them to stay up longer and boosts their ability to concentrate. But taking amphetamines, even for short periods of time, often leads to drug dependence and addiction.
If you or a loved one needs help treating alcohol and drug addiction, call the specialists at Muse Treatment today. We can help you towards a better, sober way of living.
What are Amphetamines?
Schedule II stimulants, including amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, are widely used in treating patients suffering from narcolepsy or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They’re prescribed under Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate, Methylene, Ritalin, and Vyvanse. Once amphetamines hit the streets, they’re commonly known as uppers, speed, bennies, black beauties, crank, or dexies.
They’re manufactured as fast-acting pills, time-release tablets, and in liquid form. Unaltered, these are most often swallowed or injected. Drug addicts looking for a faster, more potent high adopt alternative drug administration methods. Crushing the pills and tablets allows you to snort amphetamines as a powder, or apply it directly to your gums. It’s also quickly cooked down into a liquid for smoking or injection.
Amphetamines work by stimulating the specific brain activities that control dopamine and norepinephrine. If you’re narcoleptic, prescription stimulants help you stay awake. Ironically, the effects on people with ADHD result in a greater capacity to focus and concentrate and diminished restlessness.
Taken illegally, amphetamines fill the substance abuser with a sense of euphoria and radical self-confidence. They may become hyper-focused, uninhibited, aggressive, or super chatty and sociable. And they will have energy, lots and lots of energy.
Depending on the delivery method and your personal details, the onset, duration, and intensity of the effects will vary greatly. Onset via smoking and injection is almost immediate, and the effects are most intense, but at 3 to 5 minutes, they also have the shortest duration. Snorting amphetamines hits you within 5 minutes and lasts anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes. Swallowing can take up to 20 minutes before you feel anything, but the effects last longer than other methods, depending on how much is taken.
Signs of Amphetamine Abuse and Addiction
It’s often easier to identify the signs of drug and alcohol abuse in others. Knowing how to spot addictive behaviors early on may spare someone, including yourself, a great deal of misery since drug abusers are apt to continue using despite any negative consequences. If you or a loved one exhibits the following behaviors, it may be time to seek help from a qualified drug abuse treatment center:
- Bloody nose
- Bursts of energy followed by extreme fatigue
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Headaches and dry mouth
- Increased heart rate and breathing
- Increased sex drive
- Lack of interest in prior activities
- Needle marks on arms or legs
- Obsessive cravings
- Presence of drug paraphernalia – mirrors, tightly rolled bills or straws, scorched metal spoons, a glass pipe
- Rapid and excessive talking – more than normal
- Restlessness – leg shaking, constant picking or scratching at the skin
- Taking more than the prescribed dose
- Unexplained aggression or anxiety
Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Because of amphetamine’s effects on brain structures and functions, the body will quickly develop a physical dependence on the added influx of dopamine. Drug and alcohol detox centers offer programs to help you through the withdrawal process. Qualified medical professionals, specializing in recovery from substance abuse, monitor your progress and, depending on their severity, may administer medication that reduces drug withdrawal symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Dizziness and blurry vision
- Excessive sweating
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Insomnia and restless sleep
- Intense cravings
- Lack of concentration
- Mood swings
- Muscle tension or aches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slow body movements
- Suicidal ideation
- Vivid, unpleasant dreams
- Weight gain
Long Term Side Effects of Amphetamine Abuse
Some lasting effects of chronic amphetamine abuse, while significant, will improve over time. Others may be permanent and potentially lead to diminished brain function. Symptoms of frequent substance abuse may lead to:
- Behavioral disorders
- Cardiovascular problems – stroke, heart attack, etc.
- Chronic insomnia
- Electrolyte imbalance from dehydration
- Inability to concentrate
- Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis from sharing needles
- Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies
- Paranoid personality disorder
- Repetitive movements
- Severe depression
- Severe weight loss
- Skin infections and open sores
- Tooth decay and loss
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
The nation’s opioid crisis may be the focus of attention, but addiction rates are on the rise across all drug categories, and getting help is more vital than ever. Treating drug addiction, whether it’s amphetamines, cocaine addiction, methamphetamine addiction, heroin addiction, or any other substance use disorder, doesn’t have to be complicated or uncomfortable.
The addiction specialists at Muse Treatment are ready to help. Call today and learn how our programs can set you on the path to a life free from addiction.