Amphetamine is a powerful stimulant that causes both physical and psychological addiction. It is found in certain prescription medications and is distilled into methamphetamine and other “speed” drugs. Some people become addicted after using a legitimate prescription for a medication, such as Adderall, while others find illicit supplies from street dealers. Social factors and the influence of friends, co-workers, family members and others have a strong relationship to amphetamine use and to amphetamine recovery.
Prescription Amphetamine Use
Millions of American children are prescribed amphetamine-based medications as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) each year. Despite the drug’s normal stimulant effects, these stimulants actually provide a calming effect for individuals with chemical imbalances that cause hyperactivity and an inability to concentrate. Many people with ADHD take a low dose of amphetamine well into adulthood to help them concentrate at work or school. Social pressures, including behavioral expectations, frustrated school teachers and exasperated parents, may lead a young person to start using prescription amphetamine.
Illicit Amphetamine Abuse
When amphetamine is used by people who do not have ADHD, it provides the following effects:
- Hyper vigilance
- Little or no need for sleep
- An ability to focus on a task much longer than usual
- Increased heart rate and breathing
- Decreased appetite
These effects have caused amphetamine to be very commonly abused by people feeling pressure to perform or compete, including the following:
- College students desiring an “edge” in their studies
- Professional and amateur athletes looking for an advantage on the field of play
- Lawyers, doctors or other individuals in high-pressure workplaces
Some street forms of amphetamine are illegally “cooked” by chemically isolating the active ingredients in over-the-counter cold medicine. The resulting substance is much more powerful than Ritalin or other prescription medications. These recreational versions of amphetamine cause feelings of intense euphoria, ecstasy and self-confidence. Since they are relatively inexpensive and readily available from street dealers, these drugs are commonly abused in rural areas and by young people lacking supervision, care and healthy stimulation. Peer pressure can be a powerful cause of amphetamine abuse among young people who are bored or feel no hope for a bright future.
Understanding Amphetamine Addiction
Amphetamine causes a massive spike of dopamine to be released by the brain. In addition to stimulating feelings of ecstasy and energy, dopamine blocks any underlying emotional issues, such as depression, anxiety disorders, insecurity, poor self-esteem or hopelessness. It is this emotional relief that sparks psychological dependence. While the physical symptoms of withdrawal tend to fade in a matter of days or weeks, the psychological effects can last for months or years. Even when an addict has managed to stay clean for several months, social pressures, life stresses and other people’s expectations can easily cause an amphetamine addict to relapse.
How Can an Amphetamine Addict Get Clean for Good?
The key to effective amphetamine addiction recovery is comprehensive treatment of all physical and psychological effects. This involves a carefully customized combination of the following elements:
- Individual counseling
- Medically supervised detox
- Support group gatherings
- The cultivation of coping skills
- Preparation for long-term sobriety and aftercare
It is nearly impossible for an amphetamine addict to get clean without focused, professional help. If you are ready to end your addiction to amphetamine, call our toll-free helpline right now. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day with confidential advice and access to the best treatment available. Call now.