Amphetamines represent a class of synthetic drugs that has psychoactive effects on the Central Nervous System (CNS). They are also stimulants, more commonly known as uppers.
Although, they are primarily used in treating ADHD syndrome (attention deficit hyperactive disorder) and narcolepsy, they have found their, somewhat different, use in everyday lives of at least 13 million Americans – students, musicians, sportsmen, even scientists; in a word, those who deal with the hectic tempo of life on an everyday basis.
When misused or chemically altered, Amphetamines are addictive substances with severe side-effects.
Amphetamine is short for alpha-methilphenethylamine and is structurally related to adrenaline and ephedrine, a stimulant of herbal origin (which was used to treat asthma for centuries in China).
Aside from prescribed amphetamines in the form of tablets or capsules, you can also come across those synthesized in ‘underground labs’ and illegally distributed. These can be swallowed, snorted or injected, even smoked.
Prescribed amphetamines include:
When you use them in prescribed doses, amphetamines are not habit-forming; but excessive use leads to addiction.
You may come across dozens of street names for amphetamines (some of them are quite picturesque):
The effects of amphetamines are said to be similar to those of cocaine, with one distinct difference – they last longer. Both are considered to be ‘uppers’, which basically means that they trigger certain energy-boost, hence their appeal.
Unfortunately, these, so appealing effects of amphetamines don’t come cheap. Abusers develop a tolerance to amphetamines rather quickly, and with it – the addiction. Very soon you wouldn’t be able to get through the day without your daily dose, and while this is happening, the drug makes serious damages to your body and mental health, some of them even permanent. It also requires a drug detox program in order to come off the drug safely.
Some of the short-term symptoms include these:
The reason amphetamines are so dangerous lies in their potentially fatal outcome, even from the very first use; they act on your blood pressure increasing it and on the heart; this can easily result in stroke and it is not uncommon.
Long-term use of amphetamines is known to impair both, physical and mental health equally; it affects all the major body organs and systems and causes permanent brain damages. As you may notice on numerous forums, there are thousands of people suffering from adverse effects of amphetamines, desperately seeking help and support in how to recover from addiction.
Amphetamine overdose can be fatal, and it is in many cases. It happens due to a built-up tolerance, where the body ‘asks’ for more and more of the drug; a person simply gets carried away and takes a much higher dose.
If you notice any of these signs, contact your physician immediately:
People with high blood pressure or any other heart condition are in somewhat greater danger of experiencing severe side effects.
Although, the effect of amphetamines on the fetus has not yet been observed; it is known that the amphetamine can be passed to a child through breast milk. Therefore, it is highly advised to avoid breastfeeding when on amphetamines.
Those who are under antidepressant treatment should avoid taking amphetamines, because the combination can cause a fatal outcome. This especially refers to MAOI (Monoamine oxidase inhibitors).
Also, if you suffer from hyperthyroidism, you should avoid using amphetamines at all cost; high blood pressure (hypertension) and your condition caused by the overactive thyroid, don’t go well together and can have severe consequences.
Depending on the level of the addiction, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be quite serious, ranging from:
Where there’s a danger from more severe withdrawals, it is recommended in-patient treatment option, which is heavily supervised by medical experts.
Out-patient treatment program is devised to provide support and counseling services to recovering addicts, and it may be the best option for those who suffer from somewhat milder withdrawal symptoms.
Also available is dual diagnosis treatment. It is recommended to those who, apart from their addiction, suffer from other mental conditions, such as depression or anxiety, ADHD. This option includes psychotherapy, counseling and medication therapy.
It goes without saying that certain support groups, similar to Alcoholics Anonymous, can present a great help to recovering addicts, however should not be the sole source of recovery assistance.
Although related, to some extent, amphetamine and methamphetamine are actually quite different. Meth is a derivate of the amphetamine. This basically means that amphetamine is a parent drug to meth; once inside the user’s body, meth breaks into amphetamine when metabolized.
Developed in 1950’s, it was originally used to treat depression, alcoholism, Parkinson’s disease and obesity. It became popular rather quickly and it hasn’t lost its appeal to date. According to one study from 2000, 5% of the Americans used it or were still using it at the time of research; it is believed this number to be significantly greater.
During this period (from its beginnings to these times), adverse effects of methamphetamine have been observed and considered much too dangerous to a person’s health (the effects of methamphetamines are known to be much stronger, act quicker and are more addictive); so, while amphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor for certain conditions; methamphetamine has become an illegal drug everywhere in the world.
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