Understanding the Severity of Amphetamine Side Effects

What are the short and long-term amphetamine side effects? Find out in this informative article.

What is Amphetamine?

Amphetamine has been used clinically to manage different medical conditions for a long time. Many studies have found that long-term amphetamine use can cause severe health problems.1 Keep reading to learn about the benefits of amphetamine medication and the risks of amphetamine side effects. You will also learn about the different treatment options available for amphetamine addiction.

Amphetamine is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is important to be cautious when using this drug because researchers have found significant amphetamine side effects.


Uses of Amphetamine

Amphetamine is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Using amphetamine increases the number of neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. This sends faster messages between the brain and body. A doctor will prescribe amphetamines to improve communication between the brain and the cells that help the body function. It is an FDA-approved medication for ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity.

Recreational amphetamine use is also common. A person may illegally take amphetamine without a prescription to get high and produce euphoric feelings, or to feel more confident. Taking amphetamine recreationally is illegal and may result in severe amphetamine side effects.

Types of Amphetamine

There are a few amphetamine derivatives that are legally and illegally available on the market, including:
  • Dextroamphetamine: This type of amphetamine is typically used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It stimulates the body by increasing dopamine and serotonin production in the central nervous system. 
  • Levoamphetamine: This amphetamine derivative helps to increase attentiveness and alertness. It also causes a decreased appetite and weight loss, making it useful for people with obesity who want to lose weight.  
  • Methamphetamine: Commonly known as “meth,” this is a powerful, illegal amphetamine that is often used recreationally. Long-term use of this drug may lead to adverse amphetamine side effects. It is made in illegal, unsafe laboratories. 
  • Methamphetamine hydrochloride: This is a liquid form of amphetamine that can be prescribed by a doctor. 

Risk Factors for Amphetamine Addiction

Doctors prescribe amphetamine to help manage medical conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. Some people use amphetamine without a legal prescription. People use amphetamine recreationally in the form of oils, salts, or pills. Misusing this drug can cause significant amphetamine side effects and lead to addiction.

Factors That Can Increase Risk of Addiction

Risk factors for amphetamine addiction include:
  • Genetics: There is evidence that suggests a genetic predisposition to amphetamine addiction. People with family members who have previously struggled with substance abuse are more likely to become addicted themselves.
  • Mental health: Individuals who have a co-occurring mental health disorder are more likely to become addicted to amphetamine. They may turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication in an attempt to cope with difficult emotions or stressful situations.
  • Stress: Individuals who experience high levels of stress in their life are more likely to become addicted to amphetamine. This is because they may turn to the drug as a form of escape from the pressures and anxieties they are facing.
  • Environment: Those who live in an environment that encourages or condones drug use are more likely to fall prey to amphetamine addiction. This includes individuals who have easy access to drugs, as well as friends or family members who engage in substance abuse.

Overview of Side Effects

Amphetamine can boost wakefulness, keep the body physically active, and boost performance. The drug increases the release of dopamine and serotonin in the central nervous system, which regulate mood, movement, and thinking.2
You may experience pleasurable or unpleasant amphetamine side effects, depending on which drug you take and how it’s consumed.

Short-term Side Effects

Amphetamines have the potential to become addictive because they act on the central nervous system. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person may feel the following short-term amphetamine side effects after using the drug:3
  • Quick emotional reaction 
  • Excitement 
  • Euphoric feelings 
  • Increased attentiveness and alertness 
  • Extreme agitation 
  • Confusion 
  • Persistent use 
  • Hallucinations 
  • Paranoia 
  • Violent outbursts 
Studies have also shown that the short-term side effects of recreational amphetamine use may cause fatal problems if left unattended.

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term amphetamine misuse puts a person in danger of overdose and other fatal medical complications. These amphetamine side effects become more intense after a person uses the drug for a long time.

People who use amphetamine recreationally for an extended period risk long-term amphetamine side effects such as:
  • Mental disorders
  • Heart problems 
  • Liver damage 
  • Skin diseases
  • Weight loss 
  • Changes in brain chemistry

Mild Side Effects

When you start taking amphetamines for the first time, it may take time for your body to build tolerance for the drug. You may notice mild side effects such as headache, drowsiness, nausea, sweating, fatigue, and confusion. These side effects may clear up as your body starts to build tolerance for the drug.

Severe Side Effects

Leaving amphetamine side effects unattended can cause major health risks. The long-term side effects may lead to worse complications such as:
  • Heart disease 
  • Erectile dysfunction 
  • Swelling of blood vessels 
  • Respiratory issues 
  • Liver problems 
  • Cardiac arrhythmias 
  • Severe mental changes

One of the major signs of amphetamine dependence is that it becomes harder to quit. If you try to quit, you might experience withdrawal symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, fever, nausea, and general sickness. Quitting abruptly can be dangerous without proper medical supervision.

Amphetamine Side Effects

Treatment Options for Amphetamine Addiction

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 4.8 million people in the US abused prescription amphetamine medications that year.4 Over the last several years, the number of prescription drug overdoses has also increased. Many people try to quit all at once but experience severe withdrawal symptoms that eventually lead to relapse. It is important to get proper medical treatment to manage amphetamine side effects.

If you or a loved one are addicted to amphetamine, consider professional treatment for your recovery. This section covers the main treatment options for amphetamine side effects and addiction.

Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy helps people unlearn harmful behaviors and patterns. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) addresses how your thoughts and beliefs influence your feelings.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Another option for treating amphetamine addiction is medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT combines therapy with medication to reduce cravings and the risk of relapse. This treatment can help manage withdrawal symptoms and amphetamine side effects.

Support Groups and Recovery Programs

Support groups can help with long-term recovery from amphetamine addiction. Healing through social or peer support helps people form a sobriety network. To find support, you may visit an anonymous support group in your local area or visit an addiction treatment facility.

Get the Support You Need at Essence Healthcare

Essence Healthcare offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs, tailored to fit individual needs. Our team of licensed doctors and clinical psychologists can help manage amphetamine side effects. You don’t have to be alone in your journey to recovery: contact us today!

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.