Last Updated July 30, 2020

Amphetamines come in a variety of forms – both legal and illicit – and constitute one of America’s most significant drug problems. For those who want help, though, recovery is possible. 

America has long dealt with substance abuse disorders, but few of these problems are as widespread as amphetamine addiction. Amphetamines describe a group of related drugs classified as stimulants. Their use speeds up central nervous system activity and affects several of our brain’s neurotransmitters – including serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Amphetamine use is done both legally and illicitly. Several amphetamines are available for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), asthma and narcolepsy. Other drugs in this class – such as crystal meth – are created for the sole purpose of recreational use. The one consistent factor between all these is the risk of amphetamine addiction. 

If you or a loved one is addicted to amphetamines, the time to act is now. In addition to the difficulties these drugs create and the long-term health consequences, it only takes one bad experience to result in an overdose. The following guide will give you more information on the dangers of amphetamine abuse and how you can overcome addiction. 

Amphetamine Addiction Symptoms

Amphetamines create a wide range of side effects and symptoms in those who become addicted to them. Teeth grinding, loss of appetite, increased heart rate and euphoria are some of the immediate effects upon taking these drugs. None of these necessarily mean, however, that an addiction has developed. 

Considering the wide range of drugs that fall under the amphetamine addiction umbrella, there are innumerable symptoms that could point towards a substance abuse disorder. For instance, an addiction to Adderall can have very different physical effects compared to methamphetamine abuse. There are some symptoms, however, typical of all amphetamine use. 

If you experience these issues, it’s time to seek help: 

  • Inability to stop or decrease use of the drug. 
  • Suffering withdrawal symptoms when not using. 
  • Lying to friends and family about using.
  • Spending large amounts of time acquiring, using, or recovering after use. 
  • Continued use of amphetamines after negative repercussions. 
  • Illegal or deceptive acquiring of drugs (e.g. visiting multiple doctors). 
  • Choosing to take drugs rather than doing things you once enjoyed. 
  • Repeatedly putting yourself in dangerous situations to acquire/take drugs.
  • Requiring higher dosages to achieve similar effects (i.e. “tolerance”). 
  • Using prescription amphetamines in a non-prescribed way. 

While it is possible to abuse these drugs without developing an amphetamine addiction, misuse will typically lead to addictive behavior. This is because the drugs have a low tolerance level – meaning your body adapts to dosages quickly. The intensity and fleeting nature of the “high” also increase the likelihood that an individual will need more of the drug in one sitting. 

Body chemistry, the type of drug being used, and several other factors can affect your likelihood of developing an addiction. If you’re unsure whether you have a substance abuse disorder, one of the most telling signs is the existence of withdrawal symptoms. While physical dependence doesn’t develop, physical reactions still occur during the cessation of use. 

Experiencing any of the following when not using is a sign of withdrawal and amphetamine addiction:

  • Extreme fatigue. 
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Disturbed sleep patterns. 
  • Suicidal ideation. 
  • Paranoia and confusion. 
  • Vivid nightmares. 
  • Irritability 
  • Muscular pain and aches.

These symptoms occur because your body has become accustomed to whatever drug you were taking. Even though dependence is psychological, your body will still respond to a sudden absence of the drug. Many of these symptoms will go away within a week, and a month is typically enough for the body to fully return to normal. 

Unfortunately, most people are unable to go through this process on their own. Amphetamine addiction creates extreme dependence, and the withdrawal symptoms are typically enough to make an individual relapse. At Transformations Treatment Center, our treatment plans focused on proven methods for overcoming drug addiction. Contact us today for help on moving forward. 

Signs of Amphetamine Addiction 

There are several challenges that people encounter if their loved ones are abusing amphetamines. Since many of these substances are given as prescriptions, for instance, someone misusing them could rationalize their behavior as having doctor approval. The biggest problem that’s typically encountered, though, is individuals simply lying about their use. 

Lying and manipulation during active addiction is a serious problem when trying to help a loved one overcome substance abuse. No matter how hard someone tries to hide their amphetamine addiction, though, there are some signs they simply can’t sweep under the rug. If you notice any of the following signs in a friend or family member, it’s likely they’re abusing amphetamines:

  • Sudden loss of financial stability. 
  • Major changes in behavior or demeanor. 
  • Strained relationships with friends, family and significant others.
  • Becoming uncharacteristically reclusive. 
  • No longer engaging in activities they once enjoyed. 
  • Disappearing (e.g. no phone calls) for long periods of time. 
  • Personal hygiene suffers. 
  • Quick or extreme weight loss.
  • Paranoid or anxious behaviors. 
  • Rotten teeth or other dental problems. 
  • Failing to live up to work, school, or home responsibilities. 

These signs are very characteristic of amphetamine addiction, but some could also occur due to the abuse of other drugs or untreated mental health issues. One thing is true regardless of the underlying cause: your loved one is in trouble. It’s important that they find help for whatever is going on, and this journey can begin by you simply reaching out to let them know you care. 

When the deception that’s common with substance abuse is combined with the difficulty that many people experience even broaching such a subject, it can become difficult to have a serious conversation. At Transformations Treatment Center, we understand it’s hard to get the ball rolling. That’s why we created a Family Member Support Guide to help you get started. 

When someone is suffering from amphetamine addiction, they might not reach out for help themselves. Sometimes it’s up to the rest of us to start the important conversations. 

Amphetamine Addiction Statistics

Getting a general view of addiction statistics related to amphetamines can be difficult. That’s because several of these substances – even methamphetamine – have legitimate medical uses. The wide array of drugs that fall into this category can also make it difficult to maintain a dedicated measure of abuse. 

The statistics that have been collected over the years, however, show a dangerous problem that’s become a serious epidemic in America: 

  • America has the highest rate of amphetamine overdoses of any country. The rate was twice as high as the second-highest country in 2017. 
  • 1 in 5 college students abuses prescription amphetamines and other prescription stimulants. 
  • 5 million American adults misuse prescription amphetamines and other prescription stimulants at some point in a given year. 
  • From 2012 to 2018, workplace drug tests that showed amphetamine use increased 33 percent. 
  • In 2016, 1.7 million people over the age of 12 were current abusers of prescription amphetamines and other prescription stimulants. 
  • 5.4 percent of current prescription amphetamine and stimulant abusers are between the ages of 12 and 17. 
  • Amphetamines are the second most used drug – only edged out by cannabis – in the world. 
  • Between 2012 and 2018, abuse of amphetamines and other psychostimulants increased 30 percent every year. 

These statistics show that amphetamine addiction is a serious issue around the world, but America is the epicenter for this public health nightmare. The highly addictive nature of these drugs explains why the problem only seems to be getting worse. If you or a loved one is going up against this addiction, it’s important to have as much support as possible. 

Transformations Treatment Center utilizes treatment, rehabilitation and recovery strategies backed by scientific research. Our goal is to give you or your loved one the best chance at beating substance abuse. Contact us today to start building a customized plan for recovery. 

Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

Treatment for substance abuse disorders involving amphetamines typically starts with detox. Your body will go through a “crash” phase during the initial stages of withdrawal, and the symptoms during this time can be particularly severe. While there’s no single recommended medication to minimize this, tapering off the drug and treating specific symptoms can help. 

This process would ideally be undertaken in a medically-supervised detox program. This will ensure a person makes it through withdrawal both safely and comfortably. This is especially important since initial symptoms could include psychotic delusions and hallucinations. Most symptoms will subside within a week, but how long this takes depends on several factors:

  • Age, size, gender and other medical factors. 
  • The overall health of the individual. 
  • How long the drug has been abused. 
  • Typical dosage amount. 
  • Other drugs being concurrently used. 

Even if all other withdrawal symptoms are gone within a week, mood swings and depression could last longer if amphetamine addiction was particularly severe. In a medically-supervised detox program, the client could be given medicine to help combat these emotional issues. It’s also important to treat any existing co-occurring disorders that are currently present as well. 

Amphetamine Addiction Recovery

Once amphetamines have left the body, the road to recovery can begin. Since these drugs do not create a physical dependency, a variety of behavioral therapies are used rather than medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) are just two of the options available to help with recovery. 

At Transformations Treatment Center, we make sure our clients have access to a variety of treatment, rehab and recovery options. This is because no two people or their addictions are identical. Any treatment plan must focus on the individual, and attention must be given to a holistic recovery that treats the mind, body and spirit. 

These are just a few of the therapies, treatments, and recovery options we offer to overcome amphetamine addiction:

  • Partial hospitalization (PHP). 
  • Outpatient and intensive outpatient programs. 
  • Experiential services (e.g. Adventure Therapy). 
  • Therapy in individual, group or family settings. 
  • Treatment of mental health issues. 
  • Faith-based programs are available. 

All treatment and recovery plans for amphetamine addiction could include a mix of these therapies. The overall focus is to find the combination of strategies that work for the individual. Of course, we never just send our alumni off into the world alone. Our continuous aftercare program ensures consistent support for avoiding relapse. 

Don’t Fight Alone

Amphetamine abuse is a growing problem in America, and once someone has fallen victim to this, they face a struggle to reach recovery. At Transformations Treatment Center, we’re here to help in that journey. Our first-rate facilities and certified staff of professionals were brought together with you in mind. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from amphetamine addiction or other substance abuse disorders, contact us today to learn how we can help on the road to recovery. 

References

U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency

https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2018-11/DIR-032-18%202018%20NDTA%20final%20low%20resolution.pdf

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

https://ourworldindata.org/illicit-drug-use#specific-drug-use-disorders

USA Today

https://www.usatoday.com/story/college/2014/11/19/survey-shows-1-in-5-college-students-abuse-prescription-stimulants/37398613/

National Institute on Drug Abuse

https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/news-releases/2018/04/five-million-american-adults-misusing-prescription-stimulants

World Health Organization

https://www.who.int/substance_abuse/facts/psychoactives/en/

Centers for Disease Control

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db356.htm

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