Although amphetamine is a powerful stimulant, when it is taken as prescribed for people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) it actually has a calming effect on the user. Many students who struggle to focus on their classes and independent studies are significantly helped by amphetamine-based drugs like Ritalin and Adderall. Amphetamine is also sometimes used to treat narcolepsy.
Abuse of amphetamine-based medications is disturbingly common. Millions of people, especially college students and young professionals in high-pressure work environments, use amphetamine illegally in order to boost their ability to study and stay awake. This type of abuse has shown an alarming tendency to lead to full-blown addiction with increased use. Amphetamine addiction always progresses. As the body develops a tolerance to the drug the user will require larger and more frequent doses in order to feel the desired effects.
Understanding the Effects of Amphetamine
Amphetamine causes an increase in the naturally occurring brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin. These substances provide people with energy, focus and optimism. Deficiencies in these chemicals can cause a wide range of psychological issues, including the following:
Amphetamine boosts the level of these chemicals in the brain, but over time the body’s ability to manufacture them naturally can be compromised. This means that when a person who has been abusing amphetamine decides to quit, his body may not be able to produce an adequate supply of dopamine and serotonin. It is this imbalance that causes the withdrawal symptoms that can be extremely unpleasant and even dangerous. The brain will crave the relief offered by the drug and will use every tool at its disposal to keep it coming.
Amphetamine Tolerance and Escalation
The body develops a tolerance for amphetamine relatively quickly, requiring larger and more frequent doses in order to feel the same euphoric high. At first this will likely mean taking more pills that prescribed. But some people crush Ritalin or Adderall tablets and snort the powder for a more intense and fast-acting high. Amphetamine tolerance can also lead an addict to turn to harder street forms of the chemical such as crystal meth. These drugs are extremely intense, providing an overwhelming high at first use and are extremely difficult to quit. It is common for addicts at this stage to combine amphetamine with other drugs such as cocaine, hallucinogens, opiates or alcohol to intensify the high.
The body can only handle this kind of abuse for so long. Amphetamine overdose is a very real consequence of abuse. The signs of amphetamine overdose include the following:
- Heart attack
- Irregular heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
If you or someone you know are experiencing these symptoms please call 911 immediately. Amphetamine overdose can cause lifelong damage and can be fatal. If you have not yet overdosed please call our toll-free helpline any time of night or day for amphetamine addiction recovery assistance.
Successful Amphetamine Treatment
The most effective amphetamine treatment programs treat all aspects of a patient’s physical and emotional health. By identifying all underlying psychological issues they can develop an integrated and holistic treatment for each individual that includes the appropriate types of counseling, education and medical treatment. Call our toll-free helpline today, counselors are available 24 hours a day.