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The Effects of Dextroamphetamine Use: Short-Term, Long-Term, Side Effects, and Treatment

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What Is Dextroamphetamine?

Dextroamphetamine is a prescription stimulant used in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Dextroamphetamine is commonly found under the brand names Dexedrine and ProCentra, as well as a more recently approved immediate-release formulation, Zenzedi. In addition, Adderall is the trade name for a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine.

Is Dextroamphetamine Harmful?

When dextroamphetamine is properly prescribed and taken accordingly, the drug can be safe and highly effective; however, when this stimulant is used for nonmedical purposes or taken in doses or methods other than prescribed, it can be extremely harmful.

Abuse of dextroamphetamine can:

According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug use and Health, an estimated 1.6 million Americans over age 12 were misusing medications like dextroamphetamine at the time of the survey. The dangers of stimulant abuse are seen in a 2013 SAMHSA report, which shows that emergency room visits involving prescription stimulants increased from about 13,000 to more than 31,000 between 2005 and 2010.

Dextroamphetamine Short-Term Effects

Dextroamphetamine and other prescription stimulants intensify the effects of key neurotransmitters in the brain (e.g. dopamine and norepinephrine) to produce effects such as the following:

  • A euphoric high with increased heart rate, blood pressure, and energy.
  • Increased feelings of self-confidence.
  • Increased sociability.
  • Suppressed appetite and weight loss.

Due to its alertness and energy-boosting stimulant effects, this substance is often abused to enhance performance in school or in sports.

Dextroamphetamine Side Effects

Dextroamphetamine has a wide array of potential side effects, ranging from mild to life-threatening. The effects of dextroamphetamine use include:

  • Headaches.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Restlessness.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Weight loss.
  • Circulation problems.
  • Tremors.
  • Fever.
  • Nausea/vomiting.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Dizziness.
  • Difficulty thinking clearly.
  • Manic behavior.
  • Aggressive behavior.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Psychotic symptoms.
  • Trouble breathing.
  • Seizures.

The risk of experiencing side effects is increased when dextroamphetamine is taken in larger doses than prescribed, taken for long periods of time, taken without a prescription, or combined with other substances.

Long-Term Effects of Abusing Dextroamphetamine

Long-term use of this substance can lead to mood changes and depression. Chronic misuse can also give rise to psychotic symptoms such as paranoia. In fact, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that an effect of chronic abuse is psychosis that is “clinically indistinguishable from schizophrenia.”

Blood circulation problems and blocked arteries

Long-term dextroamphetamine abuse may also cause numerous persistent issues, like:

  • Malnutrition and significant weight loss.
  • Memory problems.
  • Impaired thinking.
  • Mood and behavioral changes.
  • Tooth decay from dry mouth.
  • Sleep disturbances.
  • Circulatory problems.
  • Cardiovascular problems such as arrhythmias.

Injection use of dextroamphetamine introduces an entirely different set of dangers, such as the risk of HIV, hepatitis, and serious skin infections.

Dextroamphetamine Dependence

The pleasurable, stimulating effects elicited by this substance may encourage abuse, which can ultimately lead to addiction.

Individuals who chronically misuse dextroamphetamine are likely to develop a tolerance, requiring larger and larger doses to achieve the same effects or high. Both physical and psychological dextroamphetamine dependence often develop, leading users to require dextroamphetamine or similar stimulants to get through the day as normal. This can lead to other issues, such as stealing, resorting to illegally obtaining dextroamphetamine by buying diverted prescriptions, or even using similar substances, such as methamphetamine, to avoid uncomfortable and unpleasant stimulant withdrawal symptoms.

Continuing to misuse dextroamphetamine can lead to addiction. Signs of dextroamphetamine addiction include:

  • Craving the substance.
  • Inability to stop or cut down use in lieu of repeated attempts.
  • Compulsively using despite mounting negative consequences.
  • Prioritizing the drug above obligations or hobbies.
  • Needing increasing doses to feel the same effects.
  • Spending excessive amounts of time in finding and using the drug.
  • Experiencing withdrawal when not using.

Dextroamphetamine abuse can quickly become an all-consuming problem, but if you or someone you know is suffering, you are not alone. Learn how you can help a dextroamphetamine addict.

Dextroamphetamine Withdrawal Treatment

Dextroamphetamine withdrawal can be an uncomfortable and unpleasant experience and may produce symptoms such as:

  • Strong cravings.
  • Inability to concentrate.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Changes in sleep patterns.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Increased appetite.
  • Mood swings.
  • Depression.
  • Hallucinations.

Detoxification from dextroamphetamine can be uncomfortable enough to trigger relapse.

Dextroamphetamine Addiction Treatment Programs

A comprehensive recovery regimen will consist of ongoing addiction treatment efforts once detox is completed. This additional treatment may be either inpatient or outpatient and will typically incorporate sober support groups to help ease the transition to a sober lifestyle.

Treatment can start anyone battling addiction on the path to a happier and healthier life. Rehab facilities 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 rehab 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. Please call us free at today to find a program that will provide you with the guidance you need to quit dextroamphetamine for good.

Dextroamphetamine Addiction Treatment Levels of Care

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