Amphetamine Addiction and Abuse
Amphetamine is a chemical compound used medically to stimulate the central nervous system (CNS) and, in various forms (often illegal), recreationally to produce feelings of euphoria, heightened sensation and extra energy.
In legal circumstances it is usually prescribed by doctors for the treatment of narcolepsy, asthma and attention hyper deficit disorder (ADHD) or hyperactivity. Two common examples of legal forms of amphetamine are Ritalin and Adderall. Although prescribed by doctors, they are often misused (especially by young adults) for their appetite-suppressing properties and their ability to stave off exhaustion. For example, people who take these drugs to lose weight or stay awake (for studies) often get caught in the web of abuse and dependence.
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that cause the user to feel awake, alert and euphoric. They are sometimes prescribed to people who have brain disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Just as with many other drugs, amphetamines can be misused and addictions can form. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options available to anyone struggling with the amphetamine addiction.
What Are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines usually come as small, dark or light-blue tablets. Some individuals may cut these tablets in half or in quarters. They are almost always debossed with text for identification. For example, 5 mg Adderall tablets — which are light blue — say “M A5” to denote the formulation. Amphetamines are used to manage the symptoms of ADHD because the drug stimulates the ability to focus and pay attention. Doctors also prescribe amphetamines to people with narcolepsy. Since amphetamines “wake up” the brain, they can sometimes help narcoleptics counter the symptoms of their disorder.
You may have heard the term “amphetamine salts” and wondered if that differs from regular amphetamine drugs. The former refers to the amphetamine mixture that makes up generic Adderall. This is because the combination of substances used to create medical-grade Adderall is chemically considered salt. Due to amphetamines’ ability to boost levels of certain “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, they are frequently misused. Although college students are known to misuse Adderall, an amphetamine, to increase their ability to focus, they are far from the only demographic that misuses the drug. People of all ages can misuse amphetamine and develop an amphetamine addiction.
Alternative Names for Amphetamines
Like many other drugs, amphetamines have multiple nicknames. People who sell or misuse amphetamines frequently use these nicknames to avoid bringing attention to themselves. If you hear someone use a drug’s nickname, it may be an indication that they are misusing amphetamines. Some of the most common nicknames associated with amphetamine drugs are:
- Wake Ups
- Pep pills
Types of Amphetamines
There are several different formulations of amphetamines, each of which contains either the chemical dextroamphetamine, levoamphetamine or both. Regardless of formulation, all prescription amphetamines currently in the United States market are oral medications. Most amphetamines have been around long enough that they have generic equivalents. However, some newer drugs such as Vyvanse, are still only available under their brand-name formulas. Only about six percent of amphetamine users with a prescription use the brand-name medications, which means the remaining 94 percent opt for generic versions of these drugs. These are the most popular amphetamine brand-names and their delivery methods:
- Adderall – Available as an oral tablet
- Adderall XR – Available as an oral extended-release capsule
- Desoxyn – Available as an oral tablet
- Dexedrine – Available as an oral tablet
- Dexedrine Spansule – Available as an oral extended-release capsule
- DextroStat – Available as an oral tablet
- Ritalin – Available as an oral capsule and a chewable tablet
- ProCentra – Available as an oral solution
- Vyvanse – Available as an oral capsule
- Zenzedi – Available as an oral tablet
Amphetamine’s Back Story: a Worldwide Abuse Problem
Amphetamine was first discovered in 1887, and was commonly used as a nasal decongestant at the time. In the Second World War, amphetamines were administered to soldiers to increase their endurance, boost alertness and enhance moods. Through the years, the drugs have been used as an athletic performance booster, cognitive enhancer, weight-loss assistant and an aphrodisiac.
Increasingly, amphetamine became abused recreationally, and it became obvious that its side-effects are often damaging to the mind and body. Chronic users often end up becoming addicted. There are ongoing efforts to educate people and stop worldwide indiscriminate use.
Are Amphetamines Addictive?
Amphetamine addiction is always possible. Amphetamines are among the most addictive drugs in the world. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies amphetamines as Schedule II drugs, which means that they have limited medical use and a high potential for generating dependency and addiction. Due to the potential for amphetamine addiction, the DEA mandates that these prescriptions cannot be refilled. Rather, a new prescription is needed every time you want to fill a bottle of amphetamines. The prescription must be a hard copy, printed on specially watermarked paper with a doctor’s signature. Additionally, your doctor must call your pharmacy and confirm the validity of your prescription. Despite these barriers to obtaining illicit amphetamines, people still manage to acquire the drugs.
It is very easy to become dependent and develop an amphetamine addiction — even if they are used under a doctor’s supervision. Studies have found that people with ADHD are just as likely than those without the condition to develop an amphetamine addiction. Whether amphetamines are taken medically or illicitly, regular use puts an individual at a greater risk for developing an amphetamine addiction. This increased likelihood is because amphetamine addiction is a brain disease, and these drugs can change the brain’s structure. Over time, the changes in the brain’s chemical makeup can cause lasting effects.
Amphetamine Abuse Causes
Many addictions don’t have one specific cause. Amphetamine abuse is attributed to various inter-related factors, including:
Genetic: Children who live with a genetically pre-disposed relative that struggles with amphetamine addiction are more likely to develop an addiction in future.
Biological: Research has shown that people with certain irregularities in the brain’s reward pathway tend to actively seek out pleasurable substances like amphetamine to feel more normal.
Environmental: Impressionable children can learn addictive behaviour by simply watching addicted people around them. In certain households where amphetamine is abused, teens may pick up the habit. Similarly, peer pressure constitutes an environmental cause for abuse.
Psychological: It is possible for people who are addicted to stimulants to suffer from undiagnosed and untreated psychological disorders. For instance, perfectionists who want to overperform and over-deliver may abuse the drug to remain on top of their game.
Mixing Amphetamines with Other Drugs
Even if a person uses amphetamines with a legitimate prescription, there can be fatal consequences with mixing amphetamines with other drugs. This is especially true if the person struggles with an amphetamine addiction. For example, some antidepressants, such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), react poorly with amphetamines and produce a toxic effect on the nerves. Mixing amphetamines with other substances is never a good idea unless a person has spoken with their doctor and they have given their approval.
Mixing amphetamines and alcohol are not a healthy combination, along with mixing Xanax and Adderall. Both alcohol and Xanax are depressants, which means that they slow down the central nervous system and mixing them together for recreational purposes increases the likelihood of an addiction formingAmphetamines are made to speed up the central nervous system. Combining these disparate substances can result in dangerous consequences such as extremely high blood pressure and body temperature. Among the most distressing results of drug mixing is the risk of overdose.
This occurs because of the amphetamine or “upper” camouflage the fact that a person has taken too much of the “downer” drug, which may be alcohol or Xanax. By the time a user recognizes that they have taken too much of the owner and are in trouble, it may be too late to get help. In too many tragic cases, the user dies before they even recognize that they were in grave danger.
Signs, Symptoms and Effects of Amphetamine Addiction
When someone becomes addicted to amphetamines, there can be noticeable changes in their behavior and attitude. For example, individuals can experience:
- Personality changes
- Decreased appetite and/or weight loss
- Bouts of unexplained euphoria followed by a “crash” in energy
- Frequent discussion of amphetamines
- Prematurely aged appearance
Individuals misusing amphetamines may also experience more serious effects when the drug is used long term. Vertigo, ulcers, malnutrition, kidney complications, lung problems and an increased risk of cardiovascular symptoms are a few symptoms that can be experienced.
Short-Term Effects of Amphetamine Abuse
When amphetamine is abused, some harmful effects of the drug are noticed within a short period. Arresting the habit during this time is critical for full recovery.
Mood Psychological: Unnecessary mood swings; happy and excited one minute, sad and depressed the next. Inconsistent demeanour in social settings.
Physical: Constant cravings, increasing tolerance, frequent perspiration, reduced appetite, heightened alertness and pin-point pupils.
Behavioural: Taking more than the recommended dose, struggling to quit, losing interest in things you love, inability to perform simple tasks and so on.
Long-Term Effects of Amphetamine Abuse
When amphetamine abuse occurs over a prolonged period, the effects can be devastating. Besides changes in physical appearance, there are several health problems that could develop. Amphetamine abuse is primarily a psychological dependence, and its long-term effects affect the mind significantly.
Psychological: Paranoia, anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, amphetamine-induced psychosis.
Physical: Malnutrition, severe weight loss, convulsions, chronic chest pain, cardiac problems, constant headaches, skin disorders, breathing complications, coma, and death.
Behavioural/Social: Repetitive behaviour, poor social demeanour, inability to maintain relationships, anger outbursts, isolation and unwillingness to attend family events.
If you use amphetamine frequently, there’s a risk of overdose. An overdose occurs when someone suffers a medical emergency from deliberately or accidentally consuming a larger dose than is prescribed. Common signs of an overdose are:
- Chest pain
- Increased temperature (perspiration and fever)
- Severe anxiety
- Irregular heartbeat
- Violent outbursts
- Poor muscle coordination
The Effects of Amphetamine Addiction
Amphetamine abuse eventually leads to addiction. An addiction occurs when your body can no longer function without the drug. Since the brain has built a dependence on amphetamine, its absence registers as an anomaly. Your body starts reacting negatively, as it believes something is ‘missing’. This withdrawal causes you to seek the drug for relief. Other damaging effects of amphetamine abuse include:
- Permanent cognitive impairment
- Brain structural anomalies
- Emotional instabilities
- Physical health issues
- Social problems (isolation from family gatherings)
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you know is suffering from amphetamine addiction, it is important to get help immediately. Dependence can be treated. The sooner you begin, the less complicated it will be.
Commitment to recovery is essential; unless you make up your mind to quit the drug, full recovery may never happen. For this reason, physicians conduct a short consultation session to ascertain your level of commitment. During the meeting, they will suggest the type of facility you will need. There are two major types:
- Inpatient rehab facility
- Outpatient rehab facility
The type of facility you choose will depend on your level of dependence and overall schedule.
Choosing the Best Inpatient Amphetamine Rehab Center
Amphetamines are often used to treat attention deficit disorder, narcolepsy, chronic fatigue syndrome, and breathing disorders. In some cases, they are even used to aid in weight loss. These drugs are classified as stimulants and can be extremely addictive. When amphetamines are abused, a person's body develops a high tolerance for the drugs and creates a desire to use higher and more frequent doses. This high tolerance usually leads to addiction. If you or someone you care about is suffering from an amphetamine addiction, you should seek professional help from an amphetamine rehab facility right away. There are programs all across the nation that can give you the help you need.
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Facilities
You may be wondering whether you should seek help from an inpatient amphetamine rehabilitation center or from an outpatient clinic. An inpatient facility can provide treatment around the clock. At these kinds of centers, professionals are able to provide patients with 24-hour care. Rehab patients that attend an outpatient clinic will typically be required to come into the facility a few times a week to get treatment. An inpatient or residential center generally provides a more structured and intense rehab program.
An addiction to amphetamines can be a hard one to break. Amphetamine users experience a series of effects while high on the drug, including feelings of euphoria, elation, strength, and confidence. Once the high wears off, these feelings are often replaced with anxiety and depression, which can lead to a strong desire to use the drug again. This is what makes recovering from an addiction so difficult. For this reason, it is a good idea to consider getting help from an inpatient amphetamine rehab facility. An inpatient treatment center has a staff of professionals who can provide the constant care this kind of addiction often requires.
Tolerance vs. Dependence
The process of addiction usually starts when drug users become dependent on a substance. This typically means they feel they must have the drug in order to relax, function or feel good. Dependence then leads to tolerance, and they start using the substance more and more in order to get the same effect from the drug. As the abuser's tolerance level increases, addiction sets in. If you need help kicking an amphetamine drug addiction, call us today. We can connect you with an inpatient treatment program in your area right away. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), in 2009, at least 16 million Americans ages 12 and up had taken a prescription drug for reasons that were not related to medical purposes. Stimulants and amphetamines were among these drugs. These numbers are sound evidence that there is a serious need for amphetamine rehab facilities throughout the nation.
"...at least 16 million Americans ages 12 and up had taken a prescription drug for reasons that were not related to medical purposes."
Are Amphetamine Rehabs Private and Confidential?
Drug rehab facilities are a private and confidential way to get treatment for an addiction problem. Most treatment centers make their patients well aware of the fact that they do not share patient information with any outside sources unless the patient asks them to. The general practice of many residential facilities is to give their patients the comforts of a private room while they go through the rehab process. Other facilities have patients share a room.
I Want to Find an Executive or Luxury Rehab Center
If corporate responsibilities have kept you or your loved one from getting help for a substance abuse problem or behavioral addiction, executive rehab programs are the answer. By combining great substance addiction and behavior treatments with the flexibility of computer and cell phone access, an executive or CEO can get healthy in privacy and style.
Many modern drug abuse and behavioral addiction treatment centers offer the luxury amenities one would only expect in the nation's finest hotels, with your success and comfort being the top priorities. From private rooms and 5-star chef-prepared meals to fine linens and gym facilities, you can get the best addiction treatment for yourself or your loved one while relaxing in style. For a hand in locating the greatest luxury treatment facilities for Amphetamine addiction, call our toll-free helpline today.
How Long Does Treatment Last?
Getting long-term care is the best option for anyone who is serious about his or her recovery. Patients who opt to get treated in a program that is at least 30 days long have a greater chance for success at rehab. There are 30-day programs and others that last 45 to 90 days. Some inpatient amphetamine rehab facilities have programs that last up to 120 days. Once a person has completed their inpatient treatment program, the rehab process often continues by way of counseling and therapy sessions. These sessions can last up to six months, a year or even two years.
The Treatment Process
Taking the first step to getting help can be scary. For some people, a lot of this fear stems from not knowing what the treatment process will be like. In general, residential treatment facilities conduct an intake interview with each patient on their first day at the center. This helps facility workers get more information about the addiction and allows them to devise a plan of attack for treatment. After the intake interview, patients can expect to be assigned to a comfortable and possibly private room, where they will live for the duration of their stay. At this point, treatment begins with a series of meetings and visits with the center's team of professional staff that includes doctors, counselors, and psychiatrists. Some of the services provided at inpatient amphetamine rehab facilities include:
- Individual counseling
- Group counseling
- Individual and family therapy sessions
- Doctor examinations and medical treatment
The staff members at qualified inpatient care centers are professionally trained to deal with the medical, emotional and mental aspects of drug addiction recovery. Start the process of getting your life back on track by calling us.
Detoxing from Amphetamines
The first step of treatment is detoxification. Not all facilities have a detox center. If that is the case, you can detox at a hospital or clinic before checking into rehab for complete recovery.
Amphetamine detox is the removal of every trace of the drug from your body. To achieve this, you must go through withdrawal. It’s not going to be an easy process, because withdrawal can be an extremely unpleasant experience.
Detox may last any time from a few hours to a number of days. This varies with different individuals because people’s dependence levels differ according to their history, usage patterns, body mass index, metabolism, and other individual factors.
Effects of Withdrawal
People who are addicted to amphetamines often display severe physical and psychological discomfort. Abrupt cessation of the drug produces unpleasant effects. They include:
- Depression (fatigue, inactivity, mood swings)
- Poor sleep patterns (several hours)
- Increased appetite
- Irritability and lack of focus
Detox from amphetamines should be conducted in the presence of trained medical professionals in a controlled environment. Accredited rehab facilities provide patients with 24-hour medical care to make withdrawal bearable. Treatment may involve analgesics and sleep medication to ease the pain.
Paying for Treatment
Most facilities offer patients a variety of options to pay for treatment. There is usually the option to pay with medical insurance or by credit card, cash or check. If a patient has medical insurance that will cover payments, they need to be clear about whether the insurance will pay for the entire cost. If only a portion of the treatment is covered, then the patient will be expected to pay the balance. Most inpatient amphetamine rehab facilities are eager and willing to resolve any financial issues as quickly as possible, so patients can focus on the process of recovering from the addiction.
After patients check out of inpatient care, they will likely need to continue with therapy and counseling in order to help avoid relapse. Some facilities provide this ongoing service, while others do not. Patients who have completed their residential care may want to know more about these services:
- Sober living after amphetamine rehab
- Rehab aftercare counseling services
- Individual therapy after recovery
- Family therapy during and after inpatient care
It's a good idea to speak with facility workers at your amphetamine rehab facility before leaving inpatient care to find out more about where these services are offered in your local area. Get connected with a center by calling us.
Building a New, Sober Life
After rehab, you will be released into society as a clean, sober person. It is always a good feeling to start afresh, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Temptations will come, and you will experience cravings now and then. It’s up to you to practice the techniques you learned in rehab to fight off the urge. Fortunately, you won’t be doing so on your own. With a strong support network, you’ll always have somebody to talk to when you feel challenges coming.
Sobriety is an everyday effort, but recovery groups are designed to ensure you have the support you need. It is also advisable to avoid being alone; isolation breeds grounds for relapse. Stay with a trusted friend or family member in the early weeks of sobriety.
Prescription Stimulants https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-stimulants
Management of substance abuse http://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/psychoactives/en/