Understanding the Severity of Amphetamine Side Effects
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
- 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
Factors That Can Increase Risk of Addiction
- 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
Short-term Side Effects
- Quick emotional reaction
- Euphoric feelings
- Increased attentiveness and alertness
- Extreme agitation
- Persistent use
- Violent outbursts
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.
- Mental disorders
- Heart problems
- Liver damage
- Skin diseases
- Weight loss
- Changes in brain chemistry
Mild Side Effects
Severe Side Effects
- 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.
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.
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.