Amphetamine Dependence and Addiction

Amphetamine Dependence and Addiction

Amphetamine Dependence and Addiction

Amphetamine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that can be used in the treatment of health conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity.

Prescription amphetamines include Adderall, methylphenidate (Ritalin), dextroamphetamine, or the inactive prodrug lisdexamfetamine. The street names for amphetamines include uppers, wake ups, whizz, whites, crystal meth, crank, glass, Tina, Christine, and ice.

At therapeutic doses, amphetamines cause:

  • Emotional and cognitive effects – such as euphoria, change in desire for sex, increased wakefulness and alertness, enhanced cognition, improved self-confidence and sociability, mood swings, insomnia and/or decreased sense of fatigue.
  • The physical effects of amphetamine – include improved reaction time and increased energy and muscle strength. For these reasons, an amphetamine can also be used as an athletic performance enhancer and as an agent that bolsters cognitive functioning.

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction:

Amphetamine addiction is characterized by:

  • Intense cravings
  • Mental dependence
  • Loss of control of the amount consumed
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance – more is needed to get the desired effect or “hit”
  • Continued use, despite an awareness of the negative consequences it can have

Risks of Amphetamine dependence:

Amphetamine overdose can potentially be life threatening. There is also the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses such as HIV with needle sharing in those who inject.

Recreational doses are generally much larger than prescribed therapeutic doses and carry a far greater risk of serious adverse effects. Heavy recreational use of amphetamines can lead to addiction, but this is unlikely to occur from long-term medical use at therapeutic doses.
Amphetamine addiction can cause impairment in academic, social, and occupational functioning. It can have profound effects on interpersonal relationships, and the person affected can encounter financial difficulty due to the amount of money spent on funding their destructive habit.

Adverse effects of amphetamine addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Chest and abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Tachycardia – fast heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Malnourishment
  • Emaciation
  • Larger doses of amphetamine may compromise cognition and induce rapid muscle breakdown.
  • Very high doses can result in psychosis – delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations — although this is rare.
    Amphetamines can be snorted, injected, ingested orally, or smoked.

Amphetamine Dependency and Addiction Treatment:

Treatment options for amphetamine addiction include detoxification and rehab.

  • Detox – should be done in a healthcare setting under the supervision of trained specialists.
  • Rehab – Once a detox programme has been completed, a person is referred for rehabilitation which includes:

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • One-to-one counseling
    • Group therapy
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Family therapy

The aim of rehabilitation is to identify the cause of the addictive behavior and to learn ways to deal with triggers and cravings. Harm reduction is also part of rehabilitation.

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction:

Amphetamine addiction is characterized by:

  • Intense cravings
  • Mental dependence
  • Loss of control of the amount consumed
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Tolerance – more is needed to get the desired effect or “hit”
  • Continued use, despite an awareness of the negative consequences it can have

Risks of Amphetamine Dependence:

Amphetamine overdose can potentially be life threatening. There is also the risk of contracting blood-borne viruses such as HIV with needle sharing in those who inject.

Recreational doses are generally much larger than prescribed therapeutic doses and carry a far greater risk of serious adverse effects. Heavy recreational use of amphetamines can lead to addiction, but this is unlikely to occur from long-term medical use at therapeutic doses.
Amphetamine addiction can cause impairment in academic, social, and occupational functioning. It can have profound effects on interpersonal relationships, and the person affected can encounter financial difficulty due to the amount of money spent on funding their destructive habit.

Adverse effects of amphetamine addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Chest and abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches
  • Tachycardia – fast heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • High blood pressure
  • Malnourishment
  • Emaciation
  • Larger doses of amphetamine may compromise cognition and induce rapid muscle breakdown.
  • Very high doses can result in psychosis – delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations — although this is rare.
    Amphetamines can be snorted, injected, ingested orally, or smoked.

Amphetamine Dependency and Addiction Treatment:

Treatment options for amphetamine addiction include detoxification and rehab.

  • Detox – should be done in a healthcare setting under the supervision of trained specialists.
  • Rehab – Once a detox programme has been completed, a person is referred for rehabilitation which includes:

    • Cognitive behavioral therapy
    • One-to-one counseling
    • Group therapy
    • Motivational interviewing
    • Family therapy