Since the late 1920s, amphetamines have been a part of the American culture. These drugs were first used to treat a variety of illnesses, such as epilepsy, schizophrenia, alcoholism, opiate addiction, migraines, head injuries and irradiation sickness. Ironically, while amphetamines were initially thought to be a viable treatment for opiate addiction, amphetamines have become one of the most abused drugs today.
Today amphetamines are most often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), traumatic brain injuries and the daytime drowsiness symptoms of narcolepsy. Often referred to as uppers, amphetamines are psychostimulants that increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These increases give people the sense of being more wakeful and focused, which produces a significant, yet temporary, improvement in both mental and physical abilities. Continuous abuse of amphetamines often occurs when people are trying to stay awake beyond a reasonable period or using the drug to diminish appetite for weight loss purposes.
According to the Drug and Alcohol Services Information System (DASIS) sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the primary amphetamine treatment admissions were more likely to have the following characteristics:
- Being male
- Being white or Hispanic
- Living in the western part of the United States
- Being referred by the criminal justice system
These characteristics provide geographic and demographic information that tends to influence the abuse of amphetamines.
How Culture Influences Amphetamine Abuse
When one thinks of cultural influence, one may think of race and ethnicity. However, there are many other cultural influences, including the following:
- Social status
- Educational background
- Sexual orientation
- Geographic region
- Rural or urban residency
- National origin
- Disability status
- Military or veteran status
- Medical status
- Mental health status
- Personality characteristics
- Citizenship status
- Legal status, including status as a convicted felon
Because of the wide scope of parameters that define cultural influence, it is often difficult to define a specific set of cultural influences that increase amphetamine abuse.
Treatment for Amphetamine Abuse
Clearly, one aspect of a person’s culture is his or her family. The family can play a powerful role in helping an amphetamine abuser get the help that he or she needs. If you suspect that a family member is abusing amphetamines, the best thing that you can do is prepare yourself to discuss this abuse candidly with your family member. Learn about addiction, know the warning signs of amphetamine abuse and learn how to have an informal intervention with your loved one. These steps might be all that is needed to help your family member seek treatment.
Get Help for Amphetamine Addiction
If you have questions about amphetamine use, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day, and we want to help you find the right treatment program to handle amphetamine addiction. We can provide you with options, information about insurance and resources. We are here to help.