What is an Amphetamine?
An amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that was first synthesized in the late nineteenth century. In recent years, it has become most popular in the treatment of ADD/ADHD. The most popular prescription amphetamine medications include Adderall, Desoxyn, and Vyvanse. Often prescribed for ADHD, these pills are also commonly taken by college students and athletes.
Side Effects of Amphetamine Abuse
These effects make it especially popular for abuse among students, as the pills allow the user to study for long hours and retain large amounts of information. Athletes abuse amphetamines in order to increase their stamina and not fatigue as easily. Another popular abuse of amphetamine is for weight loss, as amphetamine substantially decreases hunger. People who take amphetamines can go days at a time on little or no food.
- Inhibition of hunger
- Increased alertness
- Prolonged stamina
Amphetamine also produces psychological effects such as increased libido, euphoria, and heightened sociability. Heavy drinkers may use amphetamine in order to increase their maximum alcohol intake, as the amphetamine prevents fatigue and increases alertness. The increased self-esteem created by amphetamine intake lends itself to dependency very well.
Health Effects of Amphetamines Abuse
There are several short-term and long-term problems associated with amphetamine abuse and its effects on the body, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, including:
- Increased pulse and blood pressure
- Loss of muscle tissue or muscle cramps
- Poor sleep
- Low self-esteem
These symptoms worsen in the long run. High blood pressure can damage blood vessels and the heart, and high body temperature can damage organs and arteries. Lack of hunger can lead to poor health and nutritional balance, which can also affect the body and brain.
With methamphetamine, these problems can get worse, resulting in serious dental disease due to poor nutrition and lack of saliva, leading to serious illness and tooth loss, as described by the American Dental Association. Besides, the use of methamphetamine can cause skin damage due to symptoms of “creeping” under the skin, forcing people to pick up ulcers that cannot be easily cured due to blood problems.
Addiction to Amphetamine Prescription Medication
Many people who are not prescribed amphetamine by a doctor end up developing an addiction. When used in the correct way, amphetamine is helpful to those struggling with attention disorders and concentration problems. However, frequent abuse of amphetamine leads to a rapidly increasing tolerance.
Ingesting more and more amphetamine in order to achieve the desired effects often leads the user to snort, smoke, or inject the drug. As addiction develops, the user often struggles deeply with quitting, as withdrawal effects are physically and emotionally painful.
Treatments of Amphetamine Addiction
There many ways that an individual can fight an amphetamine addiction. Withdrawal symptoms from amphetamine are not physically endangering, but can lead to constant relapse. Fatigue, depression, inability to experience excitement, and overeating are common symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal. The discomfort created by withdrawal can lead users to relapse during this period of time.
A detox program at a treatment center may provide necessary care for the withdrawing amphetamine addict. A detox facility provides medical professionals that are trained to make the withdrawal process as comfortable as possible.
Residential treatment centers offer a safe setting for recovering addicts to begin their new life. Residential programs are staffed by people who are often recovering addicts themselves. There is staff available at all hours to accommodate any needs a client may have.
Therapists and counselors provide individual sessions and group meetings in order to discuss relapse prevention techniques, possible triggers for relapse, and to begin discovering the root cause of the client’s amphetamine addiction.
Although treatment centers are an extremely good start to recovery, continuing care is recommended by many professionals. Sober living homes are available across the nation to aid the newly recovering addict in transitioning back into their normal life. They live at the facility with other recovering addicts and are able to carry on daily activities such as attending work or school.