Amphetamines are often legally prescribed medications used to treat various medical conditions. Because they are legally prescribed, many people do not realize the potential dangers associated with amphetamine misuse or abuse. Amphetamines are highly addictive, and many people use them for purposes outside those for which they are intended. Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that after cannabis, amphetamines are the second most commonly abused drug in the world. Without comprehensive addiction treatment, amphetamine addiction can lead to significant physical and mental health impacts.
What Are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system. This increases certain types of brain activity, leading to increased energy, improved focus, and increased confidence. Amphetamines were used in the 1930s to treat nasal infections. Today prescription amphetamines are used to reduce the severity and intensity of symptoms related to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy. In some instances, amphetamines are also prescribed as part of a treatment plan to manage depression.
Also, some students report using amphetamines (off-label) as a study aid. They indicate the high energy levels and improved focus improve test scores and study abilities. Despite consistent abuse of Adderall and Ritalin for this purpose, a University of Pennsylvania study indicated students misusing amphetamines did not do any better on tests than those who did not use it.
What Are the Amphetamine Abuse Symptoms to Look Out For?
The 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicates as many as 4.5 million people in the United States abused prescription amphetamine medications that year. This number is equivalent to just under 2% of the United States population ages 12 and over. Amphetamines are abused in a variety of ways and for several reasons outside of their prescribing instructions.
Depending on the route of use, amphetamines can create a significant, intense high. Without treatment, dependency and addiction to the effects of amphetamines can quickly develop.
Amphetamine abuse symptoms can present in various ways, including physical, mental health, and behavioral changes. Also, the effects of amphetamine abuse can be short or long-term depending on the severity and duration of misuse. Common physical symptoms may include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, stomach issue, weight loss, appetite changes, and difficulties sleeping.
Amphetamine misuse and abuse can also lead to new or worsening mental health symptoms. Changes to psychological health such as mood swings, paranoia, anxiety, aggression, and hallucinations may occur. Behavioral problems related to amphetamine abuse are similar to those experienced with many other substance use disorders such as difficulties at work or school, relationship problems, drug-seeking behaviors, changes to social circles, loss of interest in activities, and stealing (pills or money to buy pills) from friends and loved ones.
Amphetamines act on the body similarly to other drugs. With ongoing use, changes occur to the structural and functional behavior of the brain. The effects of amphetamine use can eventually alter how the brain responds to naturally occurring pleasure by destroying the pleasure receptors in the brain, reducing the ability to feel pleasure without using amphetamines. As a result, overwhelming depression and cravings can result, making it difficult to stop using without help.
Get Help With Drug Addiction at Ardmore Recovery
Recovering from amphetamine abuse can be difficult. Ongoing use of amphetamine drugs, whether prescribed or otherwise, significantly alter many aspects of the body and brain function. Pervasive and powerful feelings of depression that often occur when not using can also make avoiding relapse after quitting challenging. With help from an addiction treatment program like Ardmore Recovery, you can recover from amphetamine addiction and have the opportunity to learn and practice healthy ways to manage relapse triggers after treatment ends. If you or a loved one are ready to out amphetamine addiction in the past, contact us at Ardmore Recovery today.