Amphetamine Dependence – Signs of Amphetamine Use Vs. Abuse, Tolerance
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- Is Amphetamine Addictive?
- Understanding Amphetamine Dependency and Tolerance
- Effects/Side Effects
- Withdrawal and Detoxification
- Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Is Amphetamine Addictive?
Speed, meth, ritalin, adderall and other uppers are drugs known as amphetamines. Amphetamines are injected, snorted or swallowed to achieve a stimulating high. Not all amphetamines are illicit drugs, however. Many are used to treat illness such as obesity, hyperactivity disorders and even Parkinson’s disease. Such drugs, like ritalin or adderall, are only addictive when they are abused. Fortunately, there are ways to tell if a person is addicted to amphetamines or simply using the prescription version to treat an illness. There is also a way to help the addicted.
How addictive is amphetamine? Well, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency categorizes amphetamine as a Schedule II Controlled Substance. It is listed alongside opium, barbiturates and codeine. When used in low doses as treatment, the amphetamine is helpful. Problems arise when the drug is taken in large doses or taken in a way that is not as prescribed. Once users understand the difference between addiction and medicinal treatment using amphetamine, they can take the steps to get help. Amphetamine addicts must know that they can find the help they need in many ways such as an inpatient or outpatient service.
Understanding Amphetamine Dependency and Tolerance
Drug and Alcohol Tolerance vs. Dependence
Drug and alcohol tolerance occurs when an individual’s body gets used to the presence of specific amounts of drugs or alcohol and responds or adapts accordingly. A person develops a high tolerance for drugs and alcohol when they use these substances excessively. Tolerance can develop after a person becomes physically addicted to drugs or alcohol, or tolerance can lead to addiction.
All amphetamines abuser risk becoming mentally and physically dependent on the drug. The amphetamine dependence is what drives the addiction. Doctors prescribing the drug realize this and only prescribe enough to help the patient. In fact, medicinal amphetamine is a relatively small dose compared to the amounts used by dependent users. Medicinal users do depend on the drug for treatment, but it does not provide a high. Instead it aides in fixing the problem for which the amphetamine was prescribed. For amphetamine dependent addicts, the drugs become important for survival, both physically and psychologically.
The physical and psychological dependence begins in the first misuse of the drug. When the legally prescribed pills are crushed and snorted or heated to form a liquid, they lose an important medicinal quality. That is sustained release. Prescription amphetamines are designed to release small doses of the drug into the body at intervals through a given period, usually six to twelve hours. The powdered or liquid form of the drug compromises the sustained release, giving the users the full effect of the drug at one time.
The body begins to quickly build a tolerance to high doses of amphetamine of any kind, illegal or prescription. Physically, the body requires more of the drug in order to reach the same high. Amphetamines cause weigh loss and an energy boost that lasts much longer than traditional caffeine. The tolerance to the drug makes reaching these and other effects very difficult. Mentally the user feels that the drug is required in order to function. Users convince themselves that the drug is vital to existence. Both the psychological and physical dependence can be overcome through outpatient treatment if it is caught early on. A step as simple as calling 1-888-803-9961 Who Answers? or filling out a contact form is enough to get on the track leading away from amphetamine addiction.
- Short-Term Effects of Amphetamine
The amphetamine high is a rush that users feel within minutes of injecting or snorting the drug directly into the body. The University of Maryland estimates that the drugs takes three to five minutes to take effect when snorted and 15 to 20 minutes to take effect after ingesting the pills. That initial rush combines with an energy burst and euphoric feeling that make up the amphetamine high. Users are alert, their fatigue dissipates and their blood pressure rises. The body’s temperature also rises, while the heart and breathing rates noticeably increase. The user becomes hostile, but alert and focused. They are often paranoid, have no appetite and can experience tremors or twitching in the hand and face muscles. Mentally, the user feels uninhibited and more clever and powerful than they were sober. Coming down from amphetamines, the user feels immense exhaustion, severe fatigue and depression. These after-effects of amphetamine lasts up to 2 days and usually spur another search for the drug high.
- Long-term Effects of Amphetamine
After several cycles of use and coming down, the body begins to show the long-term effects of amphetamine. The heart palpitations expand to a dangerous arrhythmia in some users. Other long-term effects include ulcers, breathing difficulties, skin problems, malnutrition from not eating, exhaustion and seizures. Long-term use also leads to mental disorders and psychosis. Fortunately, the long-term effects of amphetamine are managed carefully in drug treatment to help prevent permanent damage.The long-term effects differ from side effects experienced by medicinal users. Amphetamine side-effects include nervousness, dry mouth, constipation, weight loss, insomnia, tremors and even nausea. These side effects dissipate over time, unlike abused amphetamine use, which causes the long-term effects to worsen. If the the effects of the amphetamine seem to increase with use, you should seek inpatient or outpatient services to help with your addiction.
Withdrawal and Detoxification
The effects of amphetamine are enhanced in the withdrawal stage. Withdrawals are the symptoms experienced as the amphetamines leave the body permanently. The body tries to adjust to being without the stimulants. This causes a variety of different symptoms as the body tries to live without the drugs. Withdrawals from amphetamines include insomnia, mood swings, cravings for the drug, confusion, difficulty concentrating, irritability and depression.
These withdrawal symptoms begin two days after the taking the last dose of amphetamine. The symptoms peak between two and ten days, eventually disspating. The symptoms completely subside after a month to three months. The withdrawal period depends on the amount of time that the amphetamines were used and how much of the drug the user took in. The withdrawals are managed best under the care of a physician, in an outpatient or inpatient program.
Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Treatment begins with a call to 1-888-803-9961 Who Answers? or a request through the online contact form. Then, the amphetamine addict can get the help he needs. Abuse treatment can also ensure that cravings, withdrawal symptoms and long-term effects are handled appropriately and with the users best interests in mind. Understanding amphetamine abuse is the first step to getting help. Now that you know what amphetamine abuse entails, it is time to end the suffering.