What is Amphetamine?
It is a common misconception that amphetamines are less harmful than drugs like heroin and cocaine, whose addictive qualities are generally known. However, abuse of amphetamines can be just as physically and psychologically damaging to the user.
Amphetamines like Adderall and Ritalin are stimulant drugs, commonly used to treat conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy, as they improve concentration and increase energy levels. However, many people choose to use amphetamines as performance enhancers when they need to meet professional or academic deadlines, or in an effort to lose weight due to the appetite-suppressing properties of amphetamines. Others use amphetamines as ‘party drugs’ to increase their energy, as an effect of intake is accelerated brain function and energy. This type of behavior is dangerous as it can lead to dependence if the intake does not produce the desired results. Typically a person will continue to use, or use higher doses, to achieve their goals, but this makes the body become reliant on the drug, which is known as dependence. Dependence on amphetamines can cause serious physical and psychological harm to the user.
At Brazos Recovery Services we offer an assessment to evaluate your addiction and can provide treatment in a residential or outpatient setting, consisting of medical detox and a number of effective therapies to help you overcome your addiction.
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
At Brazos Recovery Services we can provide you or your loved one with an individually tailored treatment program to break the hold that amphetamine addiction has on you or your loved one’s life. We begin treatment with a full health assessment to identify psychological health conditions that may have previously been unidentified and could be a causal factor in the development of the addiction.
We provide a full medically supervised detox and assist with managing symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal, like depression, fatigue, aches and pains, increased agitation, irritability, and bodily convulsions.
Following detox and withdrawal patients can benefit greatly from supportive therapies with our professional psychiatrists, psychologist, counselors, and therapists, who provide one-to-one and group sessions to make therapy as comprehensive as possible. Throughout a typical residential stay, patients will learn more about themselves, their addiction, and how to manage it. A stay may be extended depending on the individual needs of the patient.
Outpatient treatment is also an option for treating amphetamine addiction at Brazos Recovery Services for those who would prefer or need to continue with responsibilities outside of treatment.
Effects of Amphetamines
Though amphetamines seem to provide many benefits in the short term, like increased energy and focus, excitement, talkative, an increased sex drive, and even euphoria, the long term consequences of use far outweigh the short term benefits.
Amphetamine use in the long term has been found to cause damage to the brain’s reward system, reducing its ability to release dopamine and find pleasure in nature, daily activities like exercise, socializing, eating, and sex. Because of this, a user is more likely to continue with use and further exacerbate the damage, as we naturally seek out ways of making ourselves feel good.
In the days following amphetamine use, it is common for a user to experience mood swings and irritability, headaches and muscle pain, restlessness and exhaustion, paranoia, confusion, and even hallucinations. Recreational use of amphetamines is often accompanied by the intake of depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines in dealing with the comedown, which is an unhealthy behavior as it encourages dependence not only on amphetamines but on other drugs too.
Frequent use of amphetamines also has harmful long term effects on one’s physical and psychological health. Following frequent use, a person is likely to have restless sleep on a regular basis, depression and anxiety, dental problems, paranoia, an increased risk of heart conditions, and work and socially related problems due to behavior changes.
What are the dangers of amphetamines?
Though they are most commonly swallowed in the form of Adderall and Ritalin tablets, amphetamines can also be snorted or injected. The snorting of these drugs can cause damage to the nasal passage and result in nosebleeds. Intravenous intake of amphetamines is highly dangerous, as the use of needles increases one’s risk of contracting hepatitis B and C, HIV, and AIDS. The injection of drugs using needles can also cause infection and collapsed veins.
The use of amphetamines also poses the risk of overdose if used in large amounts. Potential warning signs of overdose on amphetamines include breathing difficulties, a racing heartbeat, inability to urinate, chills, convulsion or fits, and heart attack or stroke.
Problems associated with Amphetamine Addiction
Addiction to amphetamines can happen quickly. They are inherently highly physically addictive, so it doesn't take long for dependence to develop and become a full addiction.
Such an addiction has a number of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms. There may be a shift in one’s personality, intense mood swings, delusional thinking, significantly decreased ability to focus and concentrate without the use of the drug, feelings of anxiety and paranoia, gastrointestinal problems, and increased heart and blood pressure.
In a social context, changes in an individual that result from an amphetamine addiction include the rise of tension within interpersonal relationships, prioritizing amphetamine use over other responsibilities, buying amphetamines from illegal dealers as opposed to acquiring them through prescription, and withdrawal from events in order to recover from excessive amphetamine use.
Such behaviors can be quite distressing to family members and loved ones, especially if they are unaware of the addiction.
Care and Support for Amphetamine Addiction
It can be devastating to see a loved one develop an addiction. Family members or other loved ones often feel helpless and sometimes even responsible when their loved one is addicted. However, professional help is available for amphetamine addiction, and full recovery and return to normality is possible. Substance Use Disorder therapies are effective in addressing the root cause of the issue, which is often an underlying psychological health condition. At Brazos Recovery Services our team of professionals is compassionate and diligent in treating patients struggling with substance use disorders and aims to restore patients to full health and provide them with effective tools and guidance on how to continue with recovery after treatment and stay on that path.