Amphetamine is a class of central nervous system stimulants that include methylphenidate, diethylpropion and brand name formulations like Ritalin, Adderall and Dexedrine. Though the medication treats health issues like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, some people take amphetamines for nonmedical reasons such as to gain an academic or athletic advantage, rapidly lose weight or pursue euphoric highs. Amphetamine abuse can affect the brain reward system in ways similar to illicit stimulants like cocaine and crystal meth, and findings from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) show that millions of people abuse amphetamines each year. The medication falls within one of the most restricted classes of controlled substances, Schedule II, due to its addiction potential. For those who abuse the drug, professional rehabilitation is the most effective treatment option to break a physical addiction.
Physical Addiction to Amphetamines
Amphetamines have a similar chemical structure to the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, and they are able to enter presynaptic neurons through dopamine transporters and act directly on the neural membrane itself. The drug pushes dopamine into the synaptic gaps, reduces the body’s ability to reabsorb it and possibly impairs inhibiting effects that might otherwise limit excitability. In addition to playing a key role in brain reward, dopamine is also involved in motor control, motivation and concentration, among other functions. Amphetamines also increase the synaptic levels of other neural chemicals, including biogenic amines, norepinephrine and serotonin.
With extended amphetamine abuse, the excessive dopamine concentrations cause the body to reduce its natural production, desensitize receptors and develop a physical need in which the person’s neurobiology comes to depend on stimulant drugs. Amphetamine abuse can produce toxic psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias, convulsions, palpitations and respiratory issues, yet the physical dependence causes withdrawal symptoms whenever addicts attempt to quit. As the physical dependence becomes worse, the addict often experiences obsessive behavior, compulsive cravings, consuming thoughts, social strains and the onset or acceleration of mental health disorder symptoms. A physical addiction to amphetamines is a high-risk disease that progressively worsens if left untreated, but rehab centers are equipped with numerous treatments to affect positive recovery outcomes.
Rehab Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Depending on the patient’s particular needs, most rehab centers offer full-time inpatient or part-time outpatient care utilizing a variety of potential therapies. After initiating a supervised detoxification, rehab staff typically screen for co-occurring mental health disorders, past traumas and other potential risk factors and then formulate personalized recovery plans based on the patient profile. The therapies applied will differ between patients, though several types are commonly used, including the following:
- Behavioral therapies that help reduce negative beliefs and maladaptive thought patterns
- Dialectical therapies that balance self-acceptance and the need to make changes
- An examination of the underlying motivations behind the amphetamine abuse
- Motivational therapies that empower patients to find personal catalysts for change
- One-on-one counseling to address unresolved trauma and deeper personal issues
- Strategies to identify, avoid and neutralize cues that trigger amphetamine cravings
- Optional holistic therapies such as acupuncture, hypnosis, herbalism and massage
Many amphetamine addicts have co-occurring mental health disorders like depression, anxiety and bipolar, and in such cases, rehab centers typically utilize integrated therapies that can treat co-occurring disorders at the same time.
Amphetamine Abuse Hotline
Call our toll-free helpline if you or a loved one struggles with amphetamine addiction. Our admissions coordinators can answer questions, provide information, recommend facilities and even check health insurance policies for rehab benefits. We are available to help 24 hours a day so please call now.