Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

Widespread amphetamine use began in the mid-20th century. Prescribed to soldiers during World War II, abuse grew in the 1960s and ‘70s. Despite regulatory controls, amphetamine addiction has persisted in the United States as new forms and illicit production methods have become available. Learn more about amphetamine addiction, its signs and symptoms, and how you or your loved one can get treatment with the below content.

What are amphetamines

Amphetamines are a category of stimulants that affect the central nervous system, creating a sense of alertness, energy and attention. They come in many forms, from methamphetamine to attention deficit pharmaceuticals like Adderall and Ritalin.

Production of illicit amphetamines can take various forms, often through the processing of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine. This has resulted in strong restrictions on over-the-counter medications containing these substances. Production methods often involve volatile or flammable substances which pose their own health risk.

Historically amphetamines have been used in the treatment of various conditions, including asthma and obesity. However, due to the high potential for addiction and abuse, they are are prescribed more rarely and for fewer conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. Recreationally, stimulants are taken for energy, focus and euphoric sensations.

Effects of amphetamines

Amphetamines affect the brain by increasing the effect of neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Use of such stimulants can have both physical and mental side effects.

Physical side effects

Stimulants can induce an energized or “fight or flight” type reaction in the body. Effects often include:

  • Increased or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Increased body temperature
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sweating

Long-term use can also produce more severe symptoms, including risk of seizures or stroke and weight loss.

Psychological side effects

Amphetamines affect chemicals like dopamine that act as the brain’s reward system. The boosting of these chemicals contributes to the highly addictive nature of such stimulants. In addition, amphetamine use can have other mental and behavioral implications:

  • Euphoria or dysphoria
  • Insomnia
  • Repetitive or obsessive behavior
  • Aggression and irritability
  • Paranoia

Signs of abuse

How can you tell if someone you know may be abusing stimulants? It is important to be aware physical and psychological side effects mentioned above. Concerns of abuse may be warranted when multiple symptoms are present at once, or there is a marked change in someone’s behavior. In particular, be mindful of signs of the binging and crashing pattern of stimulant use, such as:

  • Long periods of wakefulness
  • Increased excited or restless behavior
  • Decline in eating
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Mood swings or depression
  • Fatigue or lethargy

Withdrawal symptoms

Those engaging in amphetamine abuse will develop withdrawal symptoms when they cease using the drug. The nature of withdrawal symptoms will depend in part on the severity and duration of the user’s drug use, but can last from weeks to months. Symptoms can include:
Depression

    • Anxiety
    • Fatigue
    • Hallucinations
    • Delusions
    • Violent or aggressive behavior
    • Insomnia and sleep disturbances

In addition to symptoms directly from the withdrawal, users may also be suffering from health consequences of long-term abuse, such as malnourishment.

Treatment and therapies

Treatment for amphetamine addiction requires addressing both physical dependence and behavioral patterns that contribute to the abuse.

Detox

The first step in treating amphetamine addiction is the detox process. This treatment focuses on steps to clean the substance from the body safely, such as:

  • Mitigating withdrawal symptoms
  • Managing drug cravings
  • Medication therapy to treat pain and discomfort
  • Nutritional and hydration replacement
  • Ongoing medical monitoring

Inpatient therapy

When a patient is able, they begin a residential inpatient treatment program to help them continue their physical rehabilitation while learning the behavioral and lifestyle tools to help them succeed long-term. Residential services may include:

  • Individual and group therapy sessions
  • Medication management
  • Nutritional and fitness therapy
  • Support groups
  • Life skills classes
  • Treatment for co-occurring mental illness
  • Ongoing recovery

    Following inpatient treatment, there are ongoing opportunities based on an individual’s needs, including:

    • Partial Hospitalization Programs
    • Outpatient Programs
    • Aftercare support groups, meetings and classes
    • Sober housing and other transitional opportunities
    • Outpatient Programs
    • Aftercare support groups, meetings and classes
    • Sober housing and other transitional opportunities

    Getting treatment for your loved one

    If you or someone you love needs help overcoming amphetamine or stimulant addiction, recovery is possible. The Recovery Village will find the treatment that works for you. Contact us today to help you get started.

    Call for a free assessment.   352.771.2700

    Amphetamine Addiction Treatment was last modified: October 27th, 2016 by The Recovery Village