The Benefits and Risks of Taking Amphetamine

Amphetamine is a stimulant drug that may be prescribed by a doctor or used recreationally. Keep reading to learn more about amphetamine use.

Overview of Amphetamine

Amphetamine is a prescription medication that is used to stimulate the central nervous system. It is legally approved by the US Food and Drug Administration to be given to treat different medical conditions. The drug works by increasing the number of neurotransmitters in the brain to send faster messages from the brain to the body.1

Some of the neurotransmitters released by the drug include Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Serotonin. These neurotransmitters send messages to the cells in the body, reminding them to do their job. As a result, it provides a burst of energy, causing one to stay alert and be physically active. It is commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Are Amphetamines Dangerous?

Although amphetamines are generally safe and effective for various medical conditions, they can become dangerous if abused. Some people misuse it by taking them to get high or boost athletic performance, which is highly illegal. The effects of the drug will depend on the dosage, the type of drug, and the method of consumption.

Types of Amphetamine

There are different kinds of Amphetamine medications that are prescribed for different health conditions, including:

  • Dextroamphetamine: This is a legal stimulant that is usually prescribed for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. It is a CNS (Central Nervous System) stimulant that athletes may use to enhance performance and cognitive abilities.
  • Levoamphetamine: This drug also assists in stimulating the CNS. It primarily focuses on increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to improve concentration. The stimulant is legally approved to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. However, it’s associated with a decreased appetite which can help reduce obesity.
  • Lisdexamfetamine: This is another legally-produced CNS stimulant that is used to treat the symptoms of ADHD in adults and children. It is also used to treat cases of binge eating disorder.
  • Methamphetamine hydrochloride: It is a rare medication that is prescribed for treating ADHD and obesity. However, most physicians avoid giving out this treatment due to the dangerous side effects.
  • Methamphetamine: This is a street drug that is currently illegal in the United States. It comes in a solid crystal form and is also known under the street names ‘ice,’ ‘crystal meth,’ ‘fast,’ and many more. It may provide euphoric feelings, increased energy, and general stimulating effects. However, it is a dangerous drug and can leave a lot of unpleasant side effects

Are Amphetamines Prescribed?

Generally, Amphetamine is an FDA-approved medication that may be prescribed by a doctor after proper assessment to manage various medical conditions. The common brand names for the drug include Adderall, Concerta, Dexedrine, Focalin, Metadate, Methylin, and Ritalin.

Uses For Medical Purposes

Amphetamine is a CNS stimulant that works by increasing the number of neurotransmitters in the brain to enhance performance, focus and regulate behavioral issues. In a review of 20 studies, researchers found that stimulants like amphetamine can help treat people with ADHD.2


In addition, a 2011 review published in Cochrane found that adults with ADHD may get help with short-term use of amphetamine. However, it is speculated that long-term treatment use can cause adverse side effects.3


Although less common than their other uses, the drug has been used to treat obesity. In 2015, a small clinical study discovered that dextroamphetamine, a derivative, might be safe and effective for weight loss. There have also been rare cases where it has been prescribed alongside antidepressants to help manage depression.4

Recreational Uses

Typically, these kinds of stimulants are often used for recreational and non-medical purposes. There are many illegal derivatives in the market operating under street names such as ‘ice,’ ‘crystal meth,’ ‘glass,’ ‘wax,’ etc. However, these illegal drugs are highly unsafe and can cause adverse effects on the body. They may be used by smoking or snorting, injecting into a vein, or orally.

Feelings Associated with Use

Amphetamines are stimulating drugs and can affect the body in several different ways. Although it is there to help, there are some side effects to be aware of when taking it. You may expect these positive and negative feelings after using this drug.

Positive Feelings from Amphetamine Use

When this drug is used as prescribed, it may create positive effects due to the release of dopamine and serotonin in the central nervous system. Some of the effects may include but are not exclusive to:

  • Feeling a rush of excitement and euphoria
  • Feeling clear-headed and general attentiveness
  • Feeling sociable and comfortable in social situations
  • Feeling a spark of energy and increased performance

Negative Feelings from Amphetamine Use

With positive effects, there are also adverse effects. Frequent use may trigger unhappy thoughts and unpleasant effects such as:

  • Hyperactivity and restlessness (inability to sit still)
  • Feelings of nervousness and paranoia
  • Feeling a false sense of wellbeing
  • Overreacting in certain situations

Risk Factors and Short-Term Risks

This section will address the risk factors, specifically short-term risks, that may arise from amphetamine use.

Increased Risk Factors of Amphetamine Use

Following the doctor’s prescribed dosage is generally crucial to ensure well-being. Otherwise, amphetamine misuse can lead to adverse side effects and cause severe damage to a person’s mental and physical health. Some factors that may increase the risk of amphetamine use include:

  • Taking illegal amphetamines
  • Mixing with other substances like alcohol, opioids, etc.
  • Taking high doses that are inconsistent with the doctor’s prescription

Short-Term Risks Associated with Amphetamine Use

Some common short-term side effects that may result from amphetamine use include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Mood imbalance
  • Painful urination
  • Depression
  • Lower backache
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Decreased appetite and weight loss

Long-Term Effects and Treatment Options

Researchers have suggested that long-term and heavy amphetamine use can cause:

  • Heart problems
  • Violent outbursts
  • Memory loss
  • Lack of bladder control
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Respiratory issues
  • Withdrawal symptoms include dizziness, hallucinations, diarrhea, nausea, fever, hives, etc.

Treatment Options

Amphetamines are legal prescription stimulants that help to enhance the central nervous system. However, studies have found that long-term and consistent use can result in a possible addiction. They provide rapid, stimulating effects that increase cravings for more after each use.

Therefore, abusing this drug is highly unsafe and increases the risks of its use. Suppose you suspect a loved one or relative might be addicted to amphetamines. In that case, it is crucial to get help immediately. You may consider the following treatment plans such as:

  • 12-step or peer support groups
  • Behavioral therapy (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, motivational interviewing, etc.)
  • Medically assisted treatment (MAT)
  • Inpatient programs – living at a residential rehabilitation site
  • Outpatient programs – living at home with a support system and commuting to a treatment location

Get The Best Treatment Help at Essence Healthcare

At Essence Healthcare, we care very much about where each of our patients stands and focus on what matters most: enabling patients to recover quickly from substance use disorder and seamlessly return to their families and lives once treatment is given.

If you find yourself exhibiting the aforementioned signs of amphetamine addiction, or facing a different mental health challenge or substance use disorder altogether, know that you are not alone. We are here for you to give you the tools and techniques necessary to find lasting recovery.

Receive the Treatment You Deserve – We’re Here For You

Receiving treatment at a professional rehab facility is essential in the long run to ensure long-term recovery from addiction. At Essence Healthcare, we will be able to provide unique and personalized addiction treatment for you or your loved one, enabling you to achieve sustainable wellness and sobriety. Contact us for the proper support today – we look forward to meeting you!

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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.