Amphetamines are powerful stimulants that are highly addictive. Habitual, repeated use of amphetamines results in amphetamine addiction.
Amphetamines excite the central nervous system. They cause an overall sense of well-being for a varying length of time depending on the type of amphetamine used and the method of ingestion (smoking, snorting, injecting). This period is followed by agitation that can cause violent behavior.
Repeated use increases an individual's tolerance to the drug. As tolerance builds, more of the drug is needed to achieve a desired effect by the user. Classic signs of addiction are present with amphetamine use. When the drug is stopped, withdrawal symptoms appear.
Someone who is under the influence of amphetamines may show the following symptoms: decreased appetitedecreased fatigueeuphoriahyperthermia, or increased body temperatureincreased activity and attentionincreased breathing rate
A dependent individual may have the following symptoms: decreased appetite and weight lossdisregard for consequences of negative behaviorsfeelings of isolationfeelings of well-beinghallucinationsirritability and mood swingslegal problemsparanoiaravenous appetiterecurrent failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or homesleep disordersuse of amphetamines when it is dangerous, such as while driving
Someone who is addicted to amphetamines may show the symptoms of dependence, as well as these additional symptoms: anxietydepressionexcessive sweatingheadachelethargy and fatiguemuscle and stomach crampstremors
Risk factors for amphetamine addiction include the following: being 12 to 25 years of agefrequent exposure to situations that encourage drug abuseparental dependence on a mood-altering substancepeer pressure
Education for those at risk is critical and needs to start during childhood. This way, healthy attitudes and knowledge of the risks can be learned at an early age. Parents who do not tolerate drug use can be a deterrent.
Diagnosis of amphetamine addiction begins with a medical history and physical exam. A urinalysis or blood tests will show if a person has used the drugs recently.
Amphetamine abuse causes long-term changes in the brain that interfere with memory and coordination. People who abuse amphetamines increase their risk of stroke. Other long-term effects of amphetamine abuse include: being out of touch with realitydepression, leading to a high risk for suicideexposure to HIV, the virus that causes AIDSheart problemshepatitis B and C from contaminated equipmentlead poisoning, from contaminants in the drugmalnutrition as a result of low food intakeparanoiapsychotic disordersviolent behavior
Amphetamine use reduces judgment and impulse control. An abuser puts others at risk for physical and emotional injuries, both intentional and unintentional. Amphetamine use during pregnancy can cause complications before, during, and after delivery. A child born to a woman who is abusing amphetamines can have developmental problems.
Treatment begins by helping the person admit there is a problem. Overcoming an individual's denial of his or her amphetamine addiction is the first step. Treatment options include: cognitive behavioral therapy to help the individual change his or her attitudes and behaviors regarding drug abuserecovery programs to teach coping skills and life-management strategies12-step self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous
There is no medication to treat amphetamine addiction. Abstinence from amphetamines is the key to a cure.
There are few side effects to the treatment.
Those who complete treatment often continue with counseling or self-help groups.
The condition is monitored by the addicted person, significant others, and healthcare professionals. Any new or worsening symptoms should be reported to the healthcare professional.