How Amphetamine Addiction Affects the Brain

How Amphetamine Addiction Affects the BrainAmphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant and an appetite suppressant. The drug is most commonly prescribed for narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As a stimulant, amphetamine generates a surge of energy for both the mind and body. It works directly on the brain, stimulating areas that control alertness, mood and heart performance. The drug is responsible for altering nerve endings in the brain that release chemicals including dopamine and norepinephrine. The release of these chemicals is what causes a change in mood, appetite and energy levels.

Long-Term Psychological Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

When abused long term, amphetamines can cause a person to build a tolerance, dependency or even addiction. A person may no longer consciously choose to abuse the drug, but now act out of a biological and psychological compulsion. There are many health risks that can occur with long-term use or abuse of amphetamine including overdose and death. Because the drug directly affects the central nervous system, the brain is exposed to a number of adverse side effects. Long-term psychological effects of amphetamine abuse include the following symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Impaired judgment
  • Severe, violent, hostile mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hypomania or mania
  • Irrational and distorted sense of reality
  • Psychosis
  • Suicidal thoughts

How Amphetamine Abuse Affects the Brain

Amphetamines cause the brain to produce a higher level of dopamine and over time the brain becomes used to these new levels. A person will develop cravings for the drug in order to maintain the same feeling of wellbeing and avoid going into withdrawal. Amphetamine abuse causes permanent damage to neurons in the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for cognitive function associated with memory, decision making and impulse control. It is believed that the damage inflicted from adolescent drug abuse permanently interferes with the body’s reaction to dopamine levels.

Quitting Amphetamines and Amphetamine Withdrawal Help

The repercussions of amphetamine abuse are both physically and psychologically damaging. The damage can be severe and increase significantly the longer the drug is abused. Quitting amphetamines can be difficult because of the withdrawal symptoms that occur immediately after the drug leaves the body. Withdrawal symptoms can be physically painful as well as cause extreme mental and emotional hardship. Mood and behavioral changes are common among amphetamine addicts and quitting the drug often requires help from rehab professionals. Rehab can provide a safe and structured environment for addicts to undergo detox and withdrawal. Physicians can monitor their patients 24 hours a day, ensuring the best possible chance at a safe and successful recovery. Counselors and therapists are involved in the rehab process as well to treat the psychological symptoms that may have resulted from abuse.

Finding Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine abuse can lead to permanent physical and psychological damage. The sooner treatment is found for amphetamine abuse, the better chance a person has at a safe, successful recovery. Call our toll-free helpline now to speak with a counselor about the treatment options that are right for you. Our helpline is open 24 hours a day and your call is completely confidential. So pick up the phone and call us now, your future depends on it.