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How to Help an Amphetamine Addict

Amphetamine addiction is a serious issue; stimulants have the potential to adversely affect the personality and behavior of individuals abusing these drugs. Some methods of amphetamine abuse may also be related to increased risks of bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.

The physiological and neurobiological effects of amphetamine abuse may also culminate with increased risk of cardiovascular and neurological conditions.

Heavy or prolonged use may also be linked to psychosocial changes over time. People close to amphetamine addicts may notice changes in their behavior and personalities. Amphetamine abuse may also be related to reduced socioeconomic functions, e.g. the ability to gain or keep employment. Fortunately, with the right type of treatment, recovery from this addiction is possible.

What Are Amphetamines Used For?

Brand Names for Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulants that can be used medicinally for conditions such as:

  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
  • Narcolepsy.
  • Obesity.

Prescription amphetamines like Ritalin and Adderall can be very beneficial and, when used correctly, they have the potential to:

  • Enhance focus.
  • Increase attention.
  • Help maintain alertness.
  • Manage some sleep disorders.

The amphetamine class of drugs encompasses varying substances, such as:

  • Prescription medication like Adderall.
  • Illicit drugs like methamphetamine and ecstasy, which are highly addictive.

Amphetamines act by ramping up the activity of certain brain chemicals—known as neurotransmitters. Some types of neurotransmitters play a role in reinforcing pleasurable behaviors via increased activity within the brain’s reward system. Activation of reward pathways can result in feelings of increased pleasure and satisfaction. However, prolonged and frequent exposure to these molecules is not healthy for the brain and can lead to addictive behaviors in the individual. It’s important to understand that even prescription use can lead to dependence.

Learn more about the effects of amphetamine use.

Help for Amphetamine Addicts

The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that one of the most effective treatments for amphetamine addiction is the use of a Matrix Model which heavily emphasizes behavioral therapy.

Many recovery programs include varying forms of care, including:

It’s important to remember, however, that treatment is not one-size-fits-all. What works for one person may not work for another. For example, it may be vital to one person that their treatment occurs in an inpatient facility, while another may need outpatient treatment or intensive hospitalization.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to amphetamines, it’s essential to find a program that fits your needs. Call American Addiction Centers free at to speak with someone about treatment options today.

Are Amphetamines Addictive?

Studies have shown that abuse of amphetamines—like that of most drugs in the stimulant class—can, over time, lead to changes in brain structure and function.

There is evidence that the use of these substances is associated with changes in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, an area related to cognition. Drugs such as amphetamines can ‘remodel’ the structure of these brain regions, which may have profound effects on behavior over time.

Due to their mode of action within the brain, amphetamines are very addictive, especially when taken at doses other than those prescribed by a doctor.

Additionally, some amphetamines, such as methamphetamine, are potentially more addictive because they are capable of stimulating higher levels of neurotransmitters and/or produce an effect that lasts for much longer periods of time. However, as with most addictive drugs, over time, the body’s tolerance level for amphetamines increases. This means that higher levels of amphetamines are required to achieve the desired effects.

Statistics on overdoses related to the illegal or non-prescription use of amphetamines are limited. However, data from the National Poison Data System indicated that there were more than 23,000 toxic exposures to prescription amphetamines from 2007 to 2012.

Signs of Amphetamine Addiction

There are many signs of amphetamine addiction. If you know someone you believe is struggling with amphetamine dependence, watch for both physical and mental signs of substance abuse.

  • Decreased appetite/weight loss.
  • Increase body temperature.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Convulsions.
  • Skin disorders.
  • Chest pains.
  • Dry mouth.

Psychological signs and symptoms may include:

  • Euphoria.
  • Hostility.
  • Paranoia.
  • Aggressiveness.
  • Altered sexual behavior.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Personality changes.

Stimulant Addiction Treatment


Amphetamine detoxification, or ‘detox,’ can be supervised medically (i.e. in the presence of a healthcare professional). Detox frequently takes place in a specialized addiction treatment facility.

Unlike several other substance abuse programs, there are no approved medication-assisted treatments shown to be effective in counteracting withdrawal symptoms specific to amphetamine abuse or aiding in the control of cravings.

Still, supportive care can be administered throughout the detox period, and some medications may be provided to minimize discomforts of withdrawal that may be experienced.

After the completion of the detox process, the patient will typically commence either inpatient or outpatient stimulant abuse treatment.

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment can be extremely beneficial for those with severe addictions, and/or those who lack the support needed at home to navigate the recovery process. One of the benefits of inpatient rehab is that it takes the patient out of his or her everyday environment and minimizes some of the temptations that might be encountered in this environment. Those enrolled in inpatient or residential rehabilitation programs can place their sole focus on their recovery.

Inpatient treatment does require that the patient lives at the facility and can be more expensive than outpatient options, so it’s important to consider your personal obligations and budget when choosing a residential rehab facility.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment incorporates many of the features of inpatient treatment, such as counseling and therapy, but allows the patient to live at home and continue fulfilling personal obligations while seeking treatment. This option is often considerably cheaper, but it may not be enough for those struggling with significant amphetamine abuse issues.

An addiction treatment professional can help make his or her recommendation for the best treatment type—be it inpatient or outpatient—for your situation. Before making a decision on the right type of treatment for you, evaluation by such a professional can help with devising a plan that will increase your chances of success and decrease your risk of relapse.

Find Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

Treatment is an important step in recovery from amphetamine abuse. Recovery may reduce your chances of developing health problems or eliciting behavioral changes that alienate you from friends or family.

Taking steps toward recovery may seem impossible, but it becomes easier when you are committed to seeking help. Appropriate treatments, as outlined above, are typically the best routes to recovery. Rehab programs are located throughout the U.S., and many offer specialized treatment that can cater to individual needs. You can use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Services Locator to search for treatment centers. Many state government websites will also provide local drug and alcohol resources to those in need. To find your state government’s website, do a web search for your state name and ‘.gov.’ Once your state website is located, substance use resources shouldn’t be hard to find, and they should provide further phone contacts for your assistance.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leading provider of addiction treatment programs and has trusted rehab facilities across the country. If you are ready to stop suffering or you want to help someone you love, please call AAC free at and speak with someone who can help explain your options for recovery today. You can also quickly and easily check your insurance coverage for free by filling out the form below.


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