What Is Amphetamine Addiction and How to Combat It

Amphetamines are a type of stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. These substances are often used to treat those with hyperactivity and narcolepsy (sleep disorder). Those who take amphetamines may experience feelings of excitement and alertness. It is often taken as a recreational drug by those who want to party for hours without feeling tired, and it is commonly taken as a club drug as those who use it can dance for hours at a time and will feel more confident than usual.

Amphetamines can also cause aggression and agitation, and the highs are usually followed by a long comedown, which can induce feelings of depression and irritability. It is common for users to abuse amphetamines in order to avoid the comedown.

Amphetamine abuse can lead to addiction, with those affected suffering from intense cravings for the drug. Once an individual has developed an amphetamine addiction, he or she will be unable to exercise control over their use. The person will continue to take the drug even though doing so will cause negative consequences.

Side Effects of Amphetamine Addiction

Any addiction will have adverse side effects for the affected person, especially when it takes over his or her life. Addiction, in general, tends to cause a strain on relationships and, more often than not, financial hardship. However, an amphetamine addiction can have devastating physical and mental side effects.

Amphetamines are highly addictive, and because the drug is a powerful stimulant, it causes the heart to speed up. Blood pressure is often raised and breathing can become very rapid. It produces a strong high and users often feel a very powerful desire to take more and more of the drug to prolong the effects. This has the potential to lead to overdose and can have a very severe effect on the body.

The following are more examples of the side effects of an amphetamine addiction:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Aggression
  • Violent behaviour
  • Fatigue
  • Malnutrition
  • Convulsions
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dehydration
  • Headaches

Those with an amphetamine addiction are often malnourished and may appear gaunt and unhealthy. They can suffer from social isolation and sexual problems, and can display psychotic behaviour.

Spotting Amphetamine Addiction in a Loved One

If you are worried about a loved one and suspect that he or she may be struggling with an amphetamine addiction, there are a number of things to look out for. If you know that this individual is taking amphetamines for a medical condition such as ADHD or narcolepsy and he or she is displaying uncharacteristic behaviour, it is likely that an addiction has developed.

You may notice that the person is breathing rapidly and has dilated pupils. It is likely that your loved one will be more alert and euphoric, and you may notice that he or she is sleeping and eating less.

Do You Have an Amphetamine Addiction?

Many people are unaware that prescription medication can be very dangerous and is often addictive if misused. If you are taking amphetamines as prescribed by your GP, then you should not have any problems. Nevertheless, if you are not taking them as prescribed, you could become addicted.

If you have noticed that you are taking more of the drug than the recommended dose and are running out earlier than you should, you could have a problem. Likewise, if you feel that you cannot function without your medication and have noticed a number of side effects, you should speak to your GP as soon as possible.

Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine can cause serious side effects, so those who have developed a dependence on this drug should seek help immediately. Here at UKAT, we know the dangers of addiction to amphetamines and we are aware of the many withdrawal symptoms that can occur when users try to stop.

We would, therefore, recommend that you contact one of our rehabilitation centres for information and advice regarding the various treatments available. In most instances, it would be advisable for you to complete a medically supervised detox programme where all traces of the drug will be eliminated from your system.

Those who are withdrawing from amphetamines are likely to experience strong desires to take the drug. It is quite common for those in withdrawal to experience severe fatigue, anxiety, depression and a sense of worthlessness. Because amphetamines have been providing energy for so long, those who stop taking it may feel lethargic and generally unwell.

The good news is that, under the care of medically trained professionals, amphetamine addicts will find detox more comfortable. Fully trained staff can provide contact support and care while ensuring the safety of the patient at all times.

Rehabilitation

Once a detox programme has been completed, you will be in a position to begin a programme of rehabilitation. UKAT’s facilities offer a broad range of treatments for all types of addiction, including amphetamine addiction. Our staff will create a tailored programme of care based on your needs as an individual. We want to make sure that any treatments we provide will be the most effective for you and your circumstances.

No two patients will follow the same programme, but almost every patient treatment programme will contain elements of cognitive behavioural therapy, one-to-one counselling, group therapy, 12-step work, motivational interviewing, and family therapy.

Our aim is to help you identify the cause of your addictive behaviour and to help you learn ways to deal with triggers and cravings going forward. During rehabilitation, we will help you to develop life skills that you can use to your advantage when you return to independent living. We will also help you to identify activities that you can develop when you leave rehab.

Our family programme is designed to help you rebuild damaged relationships with your loved ones and to help the entire family learn to deal with your illness.

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