Can Amphetamine Make People Violent?

Can Amphetamine Make People Violent?
Irritation, aggression and violence are common effects of amphetamine use

Amphetamines are one of the most common drugs used in the United States. While many people use this drug appropriately for medical conditions, many others abuse it for a quick high or an academic advantage. It may seem harmless to use this prescription drug until adverse effects present. Sometimes, amphetamine users may begin acting more aggressively and become violent. Many people try to attribute this violence to other factors in their lives, though it very well could be a direct effect of using this particular drug.

Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

Amphetamine is a stimulant drug, meaning that it temporarily boosts activity in the brain. This is why it is prescribed to treat disorders like narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The use of this drug can result in many side effects, which may include the following:

  • Restlessness
  • Alertness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased pulse
  • Increased respirations
  • Aggression and violence

Many of these amphetamine effects are noticed only by the person abusing the drug. Aggression and violence, however, are easily noted by others and can quickly escalate to an unsafe situation.

Amphetamine and Violence

Those who use amphetamines risk experiencing aggression as a normal side effect of the drug, whether they are taking it with a valid prescription or not. Long-term users, however, are even more likely to act violently. This is due to the development of amphetamine psychosis, which occurs with consistent, long-term use. Amphetamine psychosis may present with delusions or hallucinations. The related paranoia may lead those with this condition to act violently out of fear and worry.

Amphetamine use and abuse can lead those who are usually level-headed to develop a dangerous temper. However, those with a history of violence may be at a greater risk of displaying aggression under the influence of amphetamines. For this reason, special precautions should be taken when around an amphetamine user who has previously committed acts of violence.

Dealing with Amphetamine-Related Violence

If a loved one uses amphetamine, it is important to have a plan in mind in case he or she begins to act aggressively. Many people mistakenly believe that they can reason with an amphetamine user who has become violent. It is essential that you remind yourself that the violent person is under the influence of a substance that is affecting how the brain operates. You likely will not be able to have a rational discussion once irritation has progressed to aggression. For this reason, you should always consider your own safety above everything else. Be ready to leave the area with any children or pets that are also under threat.

If for some reason you are unable to distance yourself from the violent person, you should remain calm and confident to prevent further escalation. Reciprocating the amphetamine user’s anger and violence will only show him or her that it is acceptable. Instead, speak in a low and gentle voice, giving special attention to your body language. Avoid quick, sudden movements that may trigger paranoia. Once the violent person has calmed down and is no longer under the influence of amphetamines, you should consider discussing substance abuse and addiction treatment.

Get Help for Amphetamine Addiction

If you or someone you know has become addicted to amphetamines, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about amphetamine addiction treatment.