Amphetamines are psycho-stimulants that increase the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants and are categorized as Schedule II drugs. This means they have a high potential for abuse, are available for medical use under strong restrictions and they can easily cause psychological and physiological dependence.
Street Names and Illegal Uses of Amphetamines
The street names for amphetamines are many, from speed, fast, up and uppers to louie, goey and whiz. Many people who abuse amphetamines swallow, inject, smoke or snort the drugs to force wakefulness beyond a reasonable period, but also to control their weight by diminishing appetite.
Effects of Amphetamines
When taken as prescribed, amphetamines risk side effects even with short-term use. These effects may include the following problems:
- Euphoria, excitement and a sense of wellbeing
- Increased confidence, motivation and a sense of power and superiority
- Feeling more awake and alert, a reduced need for sleep and difficulty sleeping
- Increased talkativeness
- Nervousness, anxiety, agitation and panic
- Increased libido
- Irritability, hostility and aggression
- Headaches and dizziness
- Abrupt shifts in thought and speech that can make people difficult to understand
- Dilated pupils and dry mouth
- Increased breathing rate, heart rate and blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Reduced appetite
- Stomach cramps
- Increased body temperature
These effects may vary for each user and depend on factors such as size, weight, health, prior drug use and how much of the drug someone takes.
Signs of Amphetamine Overdose
Just as people react differently to amphetamine abuse, there is also no specific formula for what dose will cause overdose. An overdose occurs when people can no longer cope with the drug, and not knowing the strength or purity of the drug increases the risk of overdose. When someone takes more of the drug than she can handle, she may experience the following problems:
- Blurred vision
- Irregular breathing
- Loss of coordination
- A rapid, pounding heart
- Violent or aggressive behavior
Injecting amphetamines increases the risk of overdose because large amounts of the drug enter the blood stream and quickly travel to the brain.
Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, (DSM IV –TR), amphetamine withdrawal is a mental health issue if it meets the following criteria:
- Someone is quitting long-term and heavy amphetamine abuse
- It causes dysphoria, or unbearable emotional and mental states
- Two (or more) of the following physiological changes: fatigue, vivid and unpleasant dreams, insomnia, increased appetite, psychomotor retardation and agitation that impairs social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
In addition to these criteria, the symptoms cannot stem from a medical condition or another mental health disorder.
Help for Amphetamine Addiction
The next time you use amphetamines may cause an overdose, but do not risk your life on drugs. Call our toll-free helpline now, where our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about amphetamine addiction treatment. We are here to help when you are ready to reach out.