Amphetamines are a class of stimulant drugs that primarily affect the central nervous system. There are several prescription amphetamines, including Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine and methamphetamine. Many of these are manipulated so that the user can smoke, snort or inject the drug. Despite the medicinal properties, amphetamines are often used recreationally. There are several potential motivations for illicit use, including the following:
- Exploitation of the euphoric elements to get high
- Energy to stay awake for late-night partying
- An academic or athletic edge
- A dangerous method of weight loss
Doctors prescribe certain types of amphetamines, but none are safe when abused. Ritalin, for example, has cocaine-like properties with more potent neural effects, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001.
Amphetamine Use Rates
As far as stimulant use among 18-25 year olds, the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides detailed data, including the following:
- The highest prevalence of amphetamine and stimulant use occurs in 18-25 year olds.
- Ritalin was the most commonly used amphetamine at 4.9 percent.
- The average age for first-time illicit use was 22.2 years old.
- Stimulant dependence in the past year reached 67,000 people for this age group.
- For all illicit drugs, this age group had the highest usage rate at 21.4 percent.
Illicit drug use among young adults is slightly up in recent years, but stimulant abuse is in decline. The survey listed 3.17 million users in this demographic for 2011, marking a steady year-to-year decline since 2002 when that number was 3.8 million.
Amphetamine Abuse Signs
Young adults may think their recreational use is safe and under control, but amphetamine addiction can ensnare the user with force. There are several behavioral signs that suggest a problem, including the following:
- Consuming more amphetamines or using them for a longer time than the doctor prescribed
- Taking legal and safety risks by acquiring amphetamines through illicit sellers
- Experiencing amphetamine cravings and obsessive behaviors between doses
- Experiencing lifestyle changes, such as withdrawing socially or regularly skipping work and school
Other warning signs involve amphetamine side effects, which include the following:
- Spikes in heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature
- Mood disorder symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and panic attacks
- Bouts of insomnia, nausea, irritability and paranoia
- Unexplained outbursts of aggression and rage
Long-term health risks include organ damage, eyesight problems, psychosis development and an increased likelihood of strokes, seizures and heart attacks.
Addiction Treatment for Amphetamines
Rehab facilities typically provide medically supervised detox, behavioral therapies, counseling, mental health screenings, optional holistic treatments and integrated care for any co-occurring conditions. There are also rehab programs that cater to young adult interests, including the following:
- Adventure therapy programs with action sports activities
- Facilities with locations that offer surfing, hiking and fitness
- Arts-based programs that include writing, painting and music
- Treatment programs in exotic locales throughout the world
Loved ones must often stage an intervention to encourage the young adult to seek treatment, and professional interventionists can help do it right. For example, choosing the right participants is very important for this age group as you don’t want the loved one to feel threatened, misunderstood or unnecessarily embarrassed by anyone’s presence.
Drug Abuse Helpline
Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to discuss treatment options, warning signs and any other concern you might have. We can also assist with an intervention, and if the person has health insurance, we can check the policy for rehab benefits. Our helpline is toll-free, so please call now.