Amphetamine Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Amphetamines Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsAmphetamines are central nervous system stimulants prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain types of sleeping problems (primarily a condition called narcolepsy). Some of the more well-known names for prescription amphetamines include Adderall, Adderall XR, Evekeo, Dexedrine and Adzenys XR-ODT1.

While amphetamines have recognized medical uses, many people use them for other reasons. For example, amphetamines can also be taken to help control appetite, enhance athletic performance or improve cognitive functioning, although you are unlikely to receive a prescription for amphetamines if you state any of these as your reason for wanting one. Amphetamines are used recreationally as well, based on their capacity as a stimulant to produce a rush of energy and euphoria.

Needless to say, those who use them for non-sanctioned purposes must obtain supplies illegally, or under false pretenses. In recent years the misuse of amphetamines has been especially common among high school and college students, who believe these drugs can improve focus, concentration and mental energy.

Amphetamines are powerful stimulants, but unfortunately they are also highly addictive. In 2016, approximately 1.7 million people misused stimulants, including amphetamines, and more than 500,000 people had an actual stimulant use disorder, which means nearly one in three who abused amphetamines were destined to become addicted2.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

Regardless of why you take them, stimulants will make you feel energized and full of life—at first.

But as tolerance for their effects grows, you’ll find you need to take more amphetamines to achieve the same effects, and soon even more symptoms of drug dependence will become obvious. These signs of abuse may be physical, psychological or behavioral, and all will likely worsen if you do nothing to address your situation.

The physical and psychological signs of amphetamine abuse include3:

  • Restlessness, agitation
  • Racing thoughts and speech
  • Elevated blood pressure and heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Teeth grinding
  • Digestive troubles
  • Appetite suppression and weight loss
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Irritability, possibly leading to aggressive behavior
  • Insomnia
  • Audio, visual or tactile hallucinations
  • Strong cravings for amphetamines

Behavioral Symptoms of Amphetamine Abuse

The latter symptom is a clear sign of addiction, and if you experience cravings you’ll likely demonstrate a range of behavioral symptoms that reflect your increasingly desperate need for amphetamines. These behaviors may include:

  • Lying to medical professionals to get additional supplies, purchasing amphetamines on the black market or stealing them from friends and family
  • Neglecting important family, work and personal responsibilities as a result of your preoccupation with amphetamines
  • Spending inordinate amounts of time searching for more amphetamines or recovering from their destructive and debilitating effects
  • Trying to quit amphetamines but repeatedly relapsing
  • Continuing to take amphetamines despite their negative effects on your physical and mental health and on important relationships
  • A pattern of taking more of these drugs than originally intended

Amphetamines are meant to be taken in pill form. However, those who abuse them often crush them before smoking, snorting or injecting them to get a faster, more concentrated effect. These activities will likely speed up the development of addiction and increase the possibility of an overdose, the latter of which will require immediate medical intervention to avoid serious long-term health complications.

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. Amphetamine.
  2. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  3. Newman, Tim. Uses and Risks of Amphetamine.
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