Are Amphetamines Addictive? | 7 Signs Of Amphetamine Addiction
- Physical Changes
- Mental Health Changes
- Social Withdrawal
- Intense Cravings
- Misusing Amphetamines
- Dependence & Withdrawal
- High-Risk Behavior
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that are likely abused because they increase energy, focus, and alertness.
Prescription amphetamines are commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) but have also been used to treat narcolepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
Common prescription amphetamines include:
- Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine)
- Ritalin (methylphenidate)
- Adderall (dextroamphetamine/amphetamine)
Although most amphetamines can be legally prescribed by a doctor, they still have a high risk of abuse and addiction. When someone develops a drug addiction, also known as a substance use disorder (SUD), they may experience intense cravings and find it difficult to stop on their own.
Here are 7 signs of amphetamine addiction:
1. Physical Changes
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that increase activity in the central nervous system (CNS).
Physical side effects of amphetamines include increased blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and body temperature. In addition, amphetamines can also suppress appetite and cause teeth grinding and clenching in the short term.
All of these side effects can be harmful to a person after long-term drug use.
The most visible long-term effects may include weight loss, malnutrition, and dental problems. Crystal methamphetamine, an illicit smokable drug similar to amphetamines, is associated with severe dental decay.
Amphetamine addiction also increases the risk of overdose, which can cause:
- irregular heartbeat
- heart attack
2. Mental Health Changes
Long-term substance abuse can change how the brain functions and may produce symptoms of mental illness like psychosis, paranoia, or violent behavior. Psychosis can occur from using the drug but may also occur during withdrawal.
Psychosis may cause:
- decreased concentration
- auditory hallucinations
Amphetamine-induced psychosis likely improves once the person stops using the drug.
3. Social Withdrawal
Addiction is an isolating disease. It is associated with a number of negative behaviors, including lying, cheating, stealing, and manipulating. Performance at school or work may suffer, which can lead to financial difficulties and other problems.
In turn, these behaviors may push family and friends away and cause the person suffering to feel alone and disconnected. In addition, their addiction may lead them to new groups of friends that engage in the same behaviors.
However, people suffering from addiction are likely hurting inside, including feelings of shame, guilt, and fear. Inpatient or outpatient treatment programs, as well as family therapy, is vital in helping a loved one learn to build healthy relationships and behaviors.
4. Intense Cravings
One of the telltale signs of addiction is continued use despite social, financial, and occupational consequences. People who suffer from addiction may experience intense cravings that lead to a loss of control over how much and how frequently they use amphetamines.
Addiction treatment centers can help you learn healthy coping strategies for dealing with cravings and other addiction-related behaviors.
5. Misusing Amphetamines
Someone who was prescribed amphetamines might progress to illicit drugs if they build a tolerance to the drug. Most prescription amphetamines are administered in capsule or tablet form and meant to be taken orally.
People may misuse amphetamines by crushing, snorting, or injecting the drug. Although snorting and injecting causes faster and more intense effects, it can be significantly more dangerous.
Misuse of amphetamines increases the risk of:
- chronic sinus infections
- hepatitis C
- hepatitis B
6. Dependence & Withdrawal
Amphetamines stimulate dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin receptors in the brain. Regularly using amphetamines causes a surge of these neurotransmitters in your brain that cause you to feel euphoric, more energetic, talkative, and confident.
Frequent drug use can cause your body to become dependent. When you stop using amphetamines, your brain has to adjust to functioning without them.
You may feel lethargic, depressed, and anxious. You might also experience cravings to continue using drugs to relieve amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.
Someone who is addicted might have a difficult time stopping on their own. A detox program provides a safe and supportive environment for someone to begin the addiction recovery process.
7. High-Risk Behavior
Drug abuse is associated with high-risk behaviors, including unprotected sex and criminal behavior. One study found that drugs like methamphetamine may interfere with the brain’s cognitive functions. This can lead to impulsivity, aggression, and self-harm behaviors.
High-risk behaviors associated with amphetamine abuse:
- driving under the influence
- sexual activity
- criminal activity
Qualified treatment facilities offer services like therapy and peer support groups to help address these behaviors. If you or a loved one suffers from amphetamine addiction, please contact us today to speak with a specialist about treatment options.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
Australian Government Department Of Health - The Amphetamine Withdrawal Syndrome
Department Of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Amphetamine Drug Fact Sheet
BMC Psychiatry - Amphetamine-Induced Psychosis- A Separate Diagnostic Entity Or Primary Psychosis Triggered In The Vulnerable?
Journal Of Adolescent Health - The Co-Occurrence Of Substance Use And High-Risk Behaviors
National Institute On Drug Abuse (NIDA) - Prescription Stimulant DrugFacts
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