Amphetamines have been used in different medical contexts dating back to the 1930s. However, despite their medical applications, amphetamines are widely abused as a recreational drug, often leading to addiction.
In this page, we delve into the world of amphetamines, exploring their effects and the risk of addiction. We also provide key indicators to help you identify if your amphetamine use is becoming unmanageable and offer guidance on the appropriate steps to take next.
What is amphetamine addiction?
Amphetamine addiction, also known as amphetamine use disorder, is a complex and challenging condition that affects individuals by causing them to develop a reliance on amphetamines, whether through prescribed medication or recreational use.
It can be a distressing experience marked by losing control, despite efforts to cut down or stop using. The continued use of amphetamines can lead to tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, neglect of responsibilities, social and interpersonal problems, as well as physical and mental health issues.
Do I have an amphetamine addiction?
Amphetamine addiction typically develops over time with prolonged substance use.
While each addiction is unique, there are common symptoms often associated with amphetamine dependence, including:
- Being preoccupied with obtaining amphetamines
- Neglecting your responsibilities to use/acquire amphetamines
- Legal or financial issues related to amphetamine use
- Attending different doctors’ surgeries and pharmacies to acquire extra prescriptions
- Increasing your dosage without the knowledge of your doctor
- Experiencing physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit amphetamines
It’s important to consider that individuals with amphetamine addiction frequently exhibit denial, often leading them to minimise their problem despite clear evidence of its presence.
The effects of amphetamine addiction:
- Physical health issues: Amphetamine addiction can cause an increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, weight loss, dental issues (such as tooth decay), sleep disturbances, and poor nutrition and hygiene.
- Mental health issues: Prolonged amphetamine use can cause or exacerbate mental health issues such as anxiety, paranoia, mood swings, agitation, and even psychosis, which may require additional treatment and support.
- Relationship and social problems: Amphetamine addiction can strain relationships with family, friends, and peers. It may lead to social withdrawal, conflicts related to drug use, and difficulties maintaining healthy connections and fulfilling social responsibilities.
- Occupational and financial challenges: Addiction to amphetamines can affect a person’s ability to perform well at work or school, resulting in absenteeism, poor performance, and potential job loss or financial difficulties. The cost of acquiring amphetamines illicitly or misusing prescription medications can also significantly impact a person’s financial stability and wellbeing.
- Legal and safety risks: Taking amphetamine without a prescription or in higher doses than prescribed can result in legal issues, as amphetamines are classified as controlled substances. Additionally, amphetamine use can impair judgement and lead to risky behaviours, such as reckless driving or engaging in dangerous activities.
- Emotional wellbeing: Amphetamine addiction can take a toll on a person’s emotional wellbeing, leading to mood swings, irritability, depression, hygiene neglect, and a decreased overall quality of life.
Certain individuals can also experience amphetamine psychosis after prolonged use of the drug, characterised by hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking.
Why do people become addicted to amphetamines?
To minimise the risk of amphetamine addiction, it is essential to understand the factors that contribute to its use. Environmental factors such as trauma history, early drug exposure and history of family addiction play a large role, as well as genetics.
Some other varying factors can include:
Amphetamines have stimulant effects, increasing energy, euphoria, alertness, and sociability. This appeals to individuals seeking to enhance their performance or productivity. Some individuals may use amphetamines to experience a sense of pleasure, escape from negative emotions, or enhance social interactions. Additionally, amphetamines are sometimes used recreationally for their appetite-suppressing effects and the perception that they can aid in weight loss.
Amphetamines, even when taken as prescribed, can also lead to addiction. Amphetamines are commonly prescribed for medical conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. However, regular use of these medications can result in dependence and addiction, especially when used in ways other than prescribed or for longer durations.
Peer pressure and social influence…
The desire to fit in or succumb to social pressure can drive individuals to experiment with amphetamines, increasing their vulnerability to developing an addiction.
Individuals facing stress, emotional pain, or mental health challenges may resort to amphetamines as a means of finding relief.
By recognising individual vulnerabilities, we can implement target prevention and intervention strategies tailored to each person’s unique needs.
Detox from amphetamine addiction is the crucial first step in the treatment process where you safely rid your body of the toxins ingested throughout your amphetamine use. At Oasis Bradford, we understand the withdrawal challenges that can occur and help you safely navigate this phase.
Our medical team will closely monitor your progress, manage any withdrawal symptoms that appear, and ensure your well-being throughout the process.
Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on varying factors such as the severity of the addiction and the duration of use.
Some common amphetamine withdrawal symptoms that can occur:
- Fatigue and exhaustion
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight gain
- Intense cravings
- Sleep disturbances
- Muscle aches
Withdrawing from prescription medications is not a simple or quick process. It is recommended to withdraw from amphetamine slowly over several months, and seeking professional help to detox from amphetamine can give you the support and resources to manage these symptoms effectively throughout the detox process.
Overcoming the cycle with amphetamine rehab
Rehab at Oasis Bradford offers a structured and supportive environment beyond detox. We understand that overcoming amphetamine addiction requires a comprehensive approach addressing the physical, psychological, and emotional factors contributing to substance abuse.
The primary goal of rehab is to help you develop the skills and tools necessary to maintain long-term sobriety and rebuild your life.
Through therapeutic interventions and structured activities, such as counselling, dialectical-behavioural therapy (DBT), family therapy, and holistic approaches, such as mindfulness and art therapy, you can understand your amphetamine addiction, identify triggers and unhealthy patterns, and develop healthy coping strategies.
The next steps
Oasis Bradford we use holistic approaches to address the drug’s psychological, physical and emotional aspects, promoting long-term recovery and a healthier future for you or your loved one.
If you want to know more about what we can do for your amphetamine addiction, contact our admissions team today.