Amphetamine is a class of prescription stimulants used to treat medical issues like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy and obesity. Chemist Lazar Edeleanu synthesized the first amphetamine in Germany in 1887, and the drug made its retail debut in the 1930s as a decongestant inhaler. The use of amphetamines greatly expanded by the 1950s, and modern variations include methylphenidate, diethylpropion, fenfluramine and more familiar brand name formulations like Ritalin, Adderall, Dexedrine and Concerta. Despite its medical use, amphetamine falls within the most restricted class of controlled substances, Schedule II, and the rate of abuse is particularly high. Per the American Journal of Public Health in 2008, current use surpassed the drug’s 1960s peak in 2005, and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that millions of people use the drug each year for nonmedical reasons. Amphetamine abuse is a widespread problem that causes significant physical, mental and social health problems. Addiction is a progressive disease that will only get worse, and individuals should address and treat the problem as soon as possible.
Importance of Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
Basic amphetamine side effects include nausea, headaches, high body temperatures and palpitations, while extended use can cause behavioral disorders, toxic psychosis, cardiac arrhythmias, convulsions and respiratory problems. When an addiction develops, the ramifications include several more potential issues, including the following:
- Neurobiological changes that create dysfunction in brain circuitry and transmissions
- Excessive dopamine levels that alter natural production and desensitize receptors
- Obsessive thoughts consumed with acquiring and using more amphetamines
- The unmasking or acceleration of mental health and/or personality disorders
- Impaired decision making and awareness that can strain relationships and harm others
- Willingness to take risks that compromise financial, family and workplace security
- Potential legal consequences for acquiring or using amphetamines illicitly
- Difficulties feeling happy or content without the use of amphetamine drugs
Amphetamine addiction degrades the user’s physical and mental health, and the neurobiological changes affect numerous levels of basic human functioning. In many cases, the cognitive impact is such that addicts struggle to see the consequences despite the immense damage caused by the addiction. Furthermore, amphetamines can cause a potentially fatal overdose both on their own and when taken with depressants. In terms of mixing stimulants and sedatives, amphetamines can cause respiratory fatigue that limits the body’s ability to fight off central nervous system depressions (such as slowed heart rate and breathing) caused by excessive depressant use.
Amphetamine Abuse Treatment
Amphetamine addicts should wait no longer than necessary to get treatment. If left untreated, the addiction will cause more severe neurobiological changes, cognitive dysfunction, painful mood swings and obsessive compulsions. Physical and mental health problems get worse, basic life skills break down, more relationships are strained and extreme risks have a greater chance of becoming realities. Recovery can also be easier and less painful if the addiction is treated sooner rather than later.
By seeking treatment as soon as possible, amphetamine addicts can limit the potential damage and improve the recovery’s trajectory. Rehab centers customize treatment plans for each patient, but they typically involve comprehensive approaches that address every area of life that the addiction might have affected. This can include everything from integrated mental health therapies to restoring positive relationships harmed by the addiction.
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