Abusing amphetamines can lead to many adverse side effects including addiction, overdose, and chronic health problems. The good news is the flexible outpatient treatment programs offered at Meta Addiction Treatment can help you overcome addiction to these substances and get you on the road to long-term recovery.
Amphetamine addiction, which can be associated with prescription medications such as Adderall, Dexedrine, and Ritalin, or illicit drugs such as methamphetamine or ecstasy, can be difficult to overcome. However, evidence-based treatment, behavioral therapy, peer support groups, and supportive family members and friends help make recovery possible. Understanding amphetamine, how the substance affects the body, and the steps needed to overcome an amphetamine addiction can help change lives for the better, prevent relapse and support a long and lasting recovery.
What Is Amphetamine?
Amphetamine is a substance that stimulates activity in the central nervous system, resulting in increased energy, focus, and confidence. Even though amphetamine was created in Germany in the 1800s, the substance’s stimulating properties weren’t discovered until the 1930s. At that time, doctors used amphetamine to treat nasal congestion. Today, physicians use amphetamine to treat hyperactivity and narcolepsy, a condition that causes people to fall asleep suddenly. Doctors may use amphetamine to treat depression as well.
Some of the most commonly prescribed amphetamine-based medications include:
- Adderall. Adderall contains two substances: amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The medication, which doctors used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), changes the amount of certain substances in the brain. That interaction helps increase concentration and focus and works to control behavior problems. Adderall can also help improve organization and listening skills.
- Dexedrine. This medication works like Adderall. The stimulants in Dexedrine help individuals stay focused on an activity, listen intently, and control their hyperactivity.
- Ritalin. This medication works differently for adults and children. When adults take Ritalin, the medication stimulates their mind, allowing them to overcome symptoms of ADHD such as impulsivity, fidgeting, forgetfulness, absent-mindedness, difficulty focusing, and short attention span. When children take Ritalin, the medication helps them calm down.
- Concerta. Although similar to Adderall, Concerta is a longer-acting medication since it contains methylphenidate, another stimulant.
Taking these medications without a prescription, misusing them as a study aid, or simply using them to experience a euphoric high can lead to addiction, overdose, and chronic health problems.
Amphetamine is also in some street drugs. Some of the most common illicit drugs containing amphetamine include:
- Methamphetamine. Currently, methamphetamine has three different forms: “ice,” a crystalline form of methamphetamine also known as “crystal meth;” “speed,” which is usually a powder; and “base,” an oily, sticky, or waxy paste.
- Ecstasy (MDMA). Ecstasy contains methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), a derivative of amphetamine. Since most ecstasy pills only contain small amounts of MDMA, the effects of the drug are similar to the effects of amphetamine — increased energy, temporary confidence boost, euphoria, and quickened heart rate.
When used recreationally, amphetamines may be called “Whiz,” “Goey,” “Pep Pills,” and “Uppers.”
Signs of Amphetamine Abuse
Since amphetamine is mainly associated with prescription medication, recognizing the signs of amphetamine abuse can be challenging. However, some physical and mental symptoms and changes in behavior indicate amphetamine abuse. These signs can include:
- An inability to keep up with work, school, or home responsibilities
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations
- Sudden changes in friends
- Difficulties with relationships
- Loss of interest in previous activities
- Missing pills from a prescription
- Mood swings
Understanding Amphetamine Addiction
Amphetamine addiction generally happens when people use the substance to get high, improve their performance, or boost their confidence. But an amphetamine addiction doesn’t happen overnight. Most people don’t become addicted to prescription amphetamine if they follow their prescription.
Amphetamine destroys pleasure receptors in the brain, decreasing individuals’ ability to feel pleasure outside of the substance. When consumed, amphetamine enters the body and changes the way the brain functions. When this interference happens, people feel depressed, anxious, and sometimes even suicidal when they aren’t using the substance. In response, the body craves amphetamine, hoping more of the substance will solve the issue. Unfortunately, satisfying cravings for amphetamine makes quitting the substance more difficult.
When individuals become fully addicted to amphetamine, their minds and bodies depend on a constant supply. Most people addicted to amphetamine need the substance to function and can’t control how much of it they consume.
This pattern of behavior can lead to risky behavior and be incredibly harmful.
The Dangers and Risks Associated With Amphetamine Addiction
Being addicted to amphetamine can lead to many adverse side effects. Some of the physical risks include:
- Low or high blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Erectile dysfunction
- High body temperature
- Increased likelihood of seizures
- Loss of muscle control, muscle spasms, or tics
- Stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and other cardiovascular issues
Some of the psychological effects associated with amphetamine abuse and addiction include:
- Depression and fatigue
- Restlessness and paranoia
- Unexpected mood swings
- Obsessive behaviors
- Grandiosity, or an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance
Amphetamine addiction can also lead to an increased risk of injury associated with dangerous activities individuals tend to partake in because of increased confidence.
The good news is amphetamine addiction can be treated.
Our Treatment Solution For Amphetamine Addiction
Detoxification is the first step toward overcoming an addiction to amphetamine. When individuals first quit amphetamine, they may experience withdrawal symptoms that include:
- Aches and pains
- Mood swings
- Brain fog
Although uncomfortable, these symptoms will fade as the body becomes re-accustomed to functioning without amphetamine. When that happens, addiction treatment can begin. Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we provide outpatient addiction rehabilitation. Instead of living onsite at our center, individuals can live at home or in a sober living environment and maintain their daily routines while receiving treatment.
Our treatment services include:
- Partial hospitalization program (PHP), our highest level of care.
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP), which is ideal for individuals who have completed our PHP or a similar program at another provider.
- Outpatient program (OP), which helps individuals learn the skills and strategies they need to successfully re-enter everyday life.
We can help coordinate professional interventions and provide the following clinical services:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Case Management
- Peer Support
Real Recovery For Real People
Most people taking amphetamine medication don’t set out to become addicted, but it can happen. Fortunately, it can be treated. Here at Meta Addiction Treatment, we pride ourselves on providing real recovery for real people. People don’t have to quit their job or leave their families to overcome addiction. Outpatient treatment can help.
Contact us today to learn more.