Amphetamine Addiction Treatment, Effects & SympToms

Amphetamines are used in a variety of prescription medications to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, depression, and even weight loss. When abused, can have a severe psychological effect similar to that of schizophrenia. 

Introduction to Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulants with effects similar to cocaine but longer-lasting. It is primarily used for its ability to increase focus, energy, and confidence, create a feeling of euphoria. As such, it is commonly used in prescription medications for treaded narcolepsy, ADHD, and depression. Amphetamines are also known to decrease appetite and are sometimes used for weight loss as well. 

Amphetamines can be found in a variety of forms (powder, tablets, crystals, capsules or tablets) and be used in a variety of ways (swallowed, injected, smoked, or snorted). Even in their legal form, amphetamines 

How Do They Work? 

Amphetamines release catecholamines, a hormone made by adrenal glands in the kidneys, such as dopamine, and epinephrine. It can take up to 30 minutes for the effects to kick in, however, they may occur more quickly depending on how the method of administration.

Despite their status as legal prescription substances, instances of illicit abuse are common. In fact, amphetamines are the most widely abused prescription medication in North America. Recreational users are far more likely to use larger dosages which exponentially increases the likelihood of experiencing negative effects and developing a physical dependency. 

Amphetamines Side Effects

When amphetamines were initially introduced into mainstream pharmaceuticals it was considered a wonder drug. While the cognitive, emotional, and physical benefits are impressive, a too strong dosage can easily outweigh the good. Short-term side effects may occur 2-4 days after use and include:

  • Fluctuating temperatures or a slight fever
  • Headaches
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Increased tiredness
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, or confusion)
  • Restless sleep

The long-term effects are subtle but persistent and may lead to a persistent feeling of malaise:

  • Loss of appetite accompanied by extreme weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Dry mouth, grinding of the teeth, and other dental problems
  • High blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular illness
  • Weakened immune system (constantly having a cold or flu)
  • Restless sleep
  • Psychosis (intense delusions or hallucinations)

The Best Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

While an amphetamine addiction has many negative effects on the body, the most drastic (and most notable) are of a psychological nature. Heavy and long-term amphetamine abuse tends to produce a level of psychosis similar to schizophrenia. Addicts often undergo dramatic personality changes which include severe depression, anxiety, and aggression.

There is currently no known effective medical detox treatments for overcoming addiction itself, although it can be effective for mitigating the side effects. Behavioral treatments such as therapy or 12-step programs are found to be the most effective.

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