September 4th, 2023
Amphetamine use has changed significantly over the years, from being marketed as a congestion vapour remedy to keeping soldiers awake in war. Fast forward to today, and while amphetamines have medical benefits for certain conditions, they remain highly restricted as a controlled drug. Despite this, amphetamines are the second most illicitly used drug globally, highlighting their troubling nature.
If your amphetamine use affects your everyday life, Oasis Runcorn is here to help. We provide knowledge, guidance and support to overcome amphetamine addiction and regain control of your life.
What are amphetamines and what are they used for?
Amphetamines are a group of stimulant drugs that affect the central nervous system. They stimulate the release of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, in the brain. Amphetamines come in various forms, including pills, tablets, capsules or powder.
These substances have both medical and non-medical uses. In medical settings, amphetamines are prescribed to treat certain conditions, including:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Amphetamines like Adderall and Vyvanse are commonly prescribed to manage symptoms of ADHD, such as impulsivity, hyperactivity and inattention.
- Narcolepsy: Amphetamines can be used to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder characterised by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden episodes of sleep.
In non-medical contexts, some individuals use amphetamines for recreational purposes, seeking their euphoric and energising effects. This can lead to dangerous and potentially life-threatening side effects.
Why is it dangerous to misuse amphetamines?
Misusing amphetamines can have significant dangers and adverse effects on physical and mental well-being. Here are some key reasons why it is dangerous to misuse amphetamines:
Amphetamines have a high potential for addiction. Misuse can lead to dependence, where the body relies on the drug to function correctly. Amphetamine addiction can result in compulsive drug-seeking behaviour, loss of control over usage and withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop or reduce use.
Physical health risks
Misusing amphetamines can have severe consequences on physical health. Some potential risks include:
- Cardiovascular problems
- Weight loss and malnutrition
- Sleep disturbances
- Dental problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Skin problems
- Impaired immune function
Psychological and mental health consequences
Misusing amphetamines can also have profound impacts on mental health and cognitive function, including:
- Depression and mood swings
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Psychosis or psychotic symptoms
- Impaired cognitive function and memory problems
- Increased risk of developing or exacerbating existing mental health conditions
- Social isolation and relationship difficulties
Taking excessive amounts of amphetamines can lead to an overdose, which is a life-threatening emergency. Symptoms of an amphetamine overdose may include;
- Rapid breathing
- Elevated body temperature
- Chest pain
Amphetamine induced psychosis
Amphetamine-induced psychosis refers to a psychiatric condition characterised by the development of psychotic symptoms as a direct result of amphetamine use or abuse. Prolonged or excessive use of amphetamines can disrupt the delicate balance of chemicals in the brain, leading to a range of psychotic symptoms, including:
- Disorganised thinking
- Impaired perception of reality
The onset of amphetamine-induced psychosis can vary among individuals, with some experiencing symptoms after a single high-dose exposure. In contrast, others may develop symptoms over time due to amphetamine addiction. The severity and duration of psychosis can also vary, ranging from mild and transient episodes to more persistent and severe forms.
It is important to note that amphetamine-induced psychosis is distinct from primary psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, although the symptoms may appear similar. Once amphetamine use ceases and the drug clears from the body, the psychotic symptoms generally subside. However, in some cases, prolonged or heavy amphetamine use can lead to a more enduring psychosis that may require professional intervention and treatment.
Am I addicted to amphetamines?
Self-evaluation is a crucial step in recognising and addressing potential addiction issues. Amphetamine addiction can often creep up on individuals, gradually taking hold of their lives without realising it. You can gain insight into your relationship with the drug by asking key questions and determining if further professional help and support are needed.
- Have you used amphetamines more frequently or in higher doses than originally intended?
- Do you find it difficult to control or stop using amphetamines, even when you try to cut down or quit?
- Are you spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using or recovering from the effects of amphetamines?
- Have you experienced cravings or intense urges to use amphetamines?
- Have you ever experienced amphetamine-induced psychosis?
- Is your amphetamine use interfering with your responsibilities, relationships or personal goals?
- Have you continued using amphetamines despite knowing the negative consequences it may have on your physical or mental health?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, depression or anxiety when attempting to stop or reduce your use of amphetamines?
If you have answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, it could indicate a potential amphetamine addiction.
How does an amphetamine addiction develop?
By understanding the development of amphetamine addiction, we can shed light on the complexities of addiction and pave the way for effective prevention and treatment strategies. Below are some common ways an amphetamine addiction can start to develop;
- Biological factors: Some people may have a higher vulnerability to addictive substances due to genetic variations that affect brain chemistry and reward pathways. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which are involved in the brain’s pleasure and reward system, can be influenced by these genetic factors leading to potential amphetamine addiction.
- Psychological factors: People with underlying mental health conditions like depression and anxiety may be more prone to developing an amphetamine addiction as they use the drug to self-medicate or cope with their symptoms. If used without a doctor’s advice, it could pave the way for amphetamine addiction.
- Social and environmental factors: Environmental factors also play a significant role in developing amphetamine addiction. Peer influence, exposure to drug use within social circles and living in an environment where amphetamine availability is high can increase the likelihood of experimentation and subsequent addiction to amphetamines.
- Regular use and tolerance: With regular use, the brain adapts to the presence of amphetamines. Over time, tolerance develops, leading users to require higher doses to achieve the same desired effects. This can escalate the risk of addiction as individuals chase the initial euphoria experienced during early usage.
I think my loved one is addicted to amphetamines- what can I do?
When you suspect a loved one is battling amphetamine addiction, handling the situation delicately is essential. By providing a supportive environment, you can encourage them to seek help and start their journey to recovery. Here are some ways you can help:
- Educate yourself: Learn about amphetamine addiction, its effects and available treatment options. Understanding the condition will help you approach your loved one with accurate information and empathy.
- Choose the right moment: Find a calm and private setting to have an open and honest conversation with your loved one. Pick a time when they are sober and receptive to discussing their amphetamine addiction.
- Express concern and care: Communicate your concerns genuinely and compassionately. Use “I” statements to express how their amphetamine addiction affects you and emphasise your care for their health and happiness.
- Avoid accusations and judgement: Refrain from blaming or accusing your loved one. Instead, focus on expressing your support and desire to help them through their amphetamine addiction.
- Offer specific examples: Share specific incidents or observations that have raised concerns about their well-being, emphasising the changes you have noticed in their behaviour, appearance or overall functioning whilst under the influence of amphetamines.
- Take care of yourself: Supporting someone with an amphetamine addiction can be emotionally challenging. Remember to prioritise your well-being by seeking support for yourself, whether through therapy, support groups or trusted friends and family members.
How is amphetamine addiction treated at Oasis Runcorn?
At Oasis Runcorn, we specialise in treating prescription drug addiction, including amphetamine addiction.
When you enter our detox facility, dedicated medical professionals will be there to support you every step of the way. They will closely monitor your amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and provide medications when needed, ensuring your comfort and safety during this challenging time.
Once you’ve completed amphetamine detox, you’ll transition to our amphetamine rehab programme, where our compassionate therapists and counsellors will guide you through self-discovery and healing. Through therapy sessions and group support, you’ll be able to address the root causes of your amphetamine addiction, develop coping strategies and learn valuable skills to prevent relapse.
If you or someone you know is caught in the grip of amphetamine addiction, now is the time to take that courageous step towards a brighter future. Don’t let this struggle define you any longer. Seek help from Oasis Runcorn today and embrace the compassionate support, therapy and resources available to you. Contact us today and let a member of our staff guide you through the next steps.