Amphetamine addiction has become a major problem in America. Whether the abuse stems from prescription stimulants like Dexedrine or Adderall or illicit stimulants like methamphetamines, these drugs are highly disruptive when people take them for recreational use.
Understanding more about these drugs and their effects on the body helps family and friends recognize the signs of addiction. Hopefully, widespread awareness can stem the tide and get people the help they need from facilities that offer evidence-based residential and inpatient addiction treatment programs.
What Are Amphetamines?
The FDA classifies amphetamines as synthetic drugs that people take to stimulate the central nervous system. When people use these drugs, amphetamines give them more energy, providing focus and to some degree, feelings of euphoria. People receive legitimate prescriptions to manage conditions such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Despite the fact that individuals are only supposed to take these drugs if a doctor prescribes them, some people also use them illicitly. The potent stimulant effects attract people to take amphetamines. Some effects are similar to what a person experiences from cocaine.
These drugs can potentially be psychologically and physiologically addictive.
What Causes Amphetamine Addiction?
Nerve cells and neurotransmitters communicate with each other in the brain by releasing chemicals. Amphetamine addiction occurs when the drug exerts influence on dopamine and norepinephrine. These key sets of neurotransmitters control motivation, reward, alertness, attention, blood flow, and motor control.
When people abuse amphetamines, these neurotransmitters induce feelings of euphoria. They also motivate people to keep using the drugs to continue to experience a rewarding feeling.
Regular use and failure to seek a substance abuse treatment program results in a tolerance to these drugs. The only way to continue achieving the same original effect is to increase the dose. This continues for as long as the person continues to take amphetamines. A cycle of amplified tolerance and compulsive use soon follows with prominent signs and symptoms.
Signs of Amphetamine Addiction
There are multiple signs and symptoms that prove a person has an amphetamine addiction.
Some common mental and physical symptoms include:
- Weight loss and decreases appetite
Some people who abuse these drugs may go on binges, taking amphetamines continuously. They won’t eat or sleep for at least a week before collapsing. Repeating this abusive pattern can lead to severe health problems.
Methods of Use
There are several ways that a person may take amphetamines. Some people choose to crush the pills to snort or inhale. This creates a rapid and stronger high. Oral consumption is a common method that can have profound effects on a person.
Injection of this drug is the most dangerous method. Almost immediately, it sends the drug to the brain and into the bloodstream. Not only does this expose people to intense effects, but reusing needles could expose them to other diseases. Needle injection can cause serious side effects, including death. People can also smoke amphetamines using a pipe or aluminum foil and a lighter.
Inpatient Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
There is a variety of therapies for amphetamine addiction. Initial inpatient amphetamine addiction treatment involves detoxification and may last for approximately two weeks. Direct care and monitoring at a professional detox center will ensure a safe environment to cleanse the body of this drug.
Treating this type of addiction can be challenging because the brain structure changes with chronic use. Addiction therapy services can help people recognize the triggers of drug abuse. They learn ways to adjust their behavior away from abusing the drug.
Rehabilitation is Available at Crestview Recovery
Our goal at Crestview Recovery is to give people suffering from amphetamine addiction the prescription drug abuse help they need after they finish detox. We want you to understand the disease of addiction and realize that you can live free from it.
Therapies we offer include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Family therapy
- 12-Step recovery
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
Since 2016, Dr. Merle Williamson, a graduate of Oregon Health Sciences University, has been the Medical Director at Crestview Recovery, bringing a rich background in addiction medicine from his time at Hazelden Treatment Center. He oversees outpatient drug and alcohol treatments, providing medical care, setting policies, detox protocols, and quality assurance measures. Before specializing in addiction medicine, he spent 25 years in anesthesiology, serving as Chair of Hospital Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee and Chief of Anesthesia at Kaiser Permanente. This experience gives him a unique perspective on treating prescription drug addiction.