Amphetamine addiction is a serious issue; stimulants have the potential to adversely affect the personality and behavior of the 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.
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?
Brand Names for Adderall
Some common prescription amphetamines are found under the names:
- Adderall® (amphetamine/dextroamfetamine).
- Dexedrine® (dextroamfetamine).
- Ritalin® (methylphenidate).
- Vyvanse® (lisdexamfetamine)
Amphetamines are stimulants that can be used medicinally for conditions such as:
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
- 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 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.
Help for Amphetamine Addict
The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that one of the most effective treatments for amphetamine addiction are programs that utilize a Matrix Model that heavily emphasizes behavioral therapy.
Many recovery programs include varying forms of care including:
- Individual counseling.
- Family and group therapy.
- 12-step program integration.
- Relapse prevention education.
- Aftercare planning.
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 to speak with someone about treatment options today.Hear from others who have loved ones struggling with substance abuse.
Are Amphetamines Addictive?
Studies have shown that abuse of amphetamines, like 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 period of times. However, as with most addictive drugs, over time the body’s tolerance level for the drug increases. This means that higher levels of amphetamines are required to achieve the desired effect.
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.
Am I Addicted to Amphetamines?
If you’re concerned about your use of amphetamines, even if they have been prescribed to you, check yourself for the following signs of abuse:
- You regularly increase your dose of amphetamines to get the same feeling you got when you began taking them.
- You use amphetamines more frequently than when you first began.
- You have overwhelming urges to amphetamines despite the problems they have been causing.
- You no longer have interest in spending time with family and friends.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using amphetamines, such as fatigue, insomnia, depression, and suicidal thoughts.
- Decreased appetite/weight loss.
- Increase body temperature.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Dilated pupils.
- Skin disorders.
- Chest pains.
- Dry mouth.
Psychological signs and symptoms may include:
- Altered sexual behavior.
- 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 treatment facility.
Unlike several other substance abuse addiction programs, there are no approved medication-assisted treatments shown to be effective in counteracting withdrawal symptoms specific to amphetamine abuse or to aid in the control of cravings.
Still supportive care can be administered throughout the detox period, and some medications may be provided to minimize some of the discomforts of withdrawal that may be experienced.
After the completion of the detox process, the patient will typically commence either inpatient or outpatient 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 his everyday environment and minimizes some of the temptations that might be encountered in that environment. Those enrolled in an inpatient or residential rehabilitation program can place their sole focus on their recovery.
Inpatient treatment does require that the patient live 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 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 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.
American Addiction Centers maintains a strong partnership with a large group of insurance companies at our addiction treatment facilities. Start the journey to recovery and find out instantly if your insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab and associated therapies.
Call Our Hotline Today
Treatment is an important step in recovery from amphetamine abuse. Recovery may reduce your chances of developing health problems or of 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. If you are ready to stop suffering or you want to help someone you love, call and speak with someone who can help explain your options for recovery today.