Amphetamine Dependence

Amphetamines are a group of powerful and highly addictive drugs that come in a variety of forms and nicknames. Amphetamines are also known as sympathomimetics, stimulants, and psychostimulants. The most common illegally produced amphetamine, methamphetamine, goes by the street name of “speed,” “meth,” and “chalk.” When it is smoked, it is called “ice,” “crystal,” “crank,” and “glass.” They induce feelings of well-being and improve alertness and attention. Because the substance is highly addictive, amphetamine users need more and more, and can quickly lose control and fall into amphetamine dependence. Chronic, heavy use of amphetamines is very serious, and even changes the molecular make up and functioning of the brain. Over a period of time, the initial feelings of well-being turn into feelings of panic, depression and thoughts of suicide.

Symptoms of Amphetamine Dependence

  • Compulsive seeking of amphetamines
  • Aggressive or violent behavior when using or seeking amphetamines
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Psychotic episodes similar to schizophrenia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Hyperactivity and hpyersexuality
  • Confusion, incoherence
  • Negative affecting relationships, work, and school
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Depression

Causes of Amphetamine Dependence

Amphetamine dependence is different than amphetamine abuse, in that it is a serious addiction with psychiatric implications, and the person is usually unable to control or quit their dependence without outside help. It is unclear why some people are more susceptible to amphetamine dependence than others, but it is believed that the highly addictive characteristics of amphetamines can cause serious problems if a person abuses them on a regular basis. The more a person uses them, the more they will need to feel the desired “high,” which consistently increase their tolerance. This consistent increase can cause dependence, which will lead to numerous other neurological and physical problems.

Treatment of Amphetamine Dependence

Amphetamine dependence is treatable. The most effective method of treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can be administered by a professional therapist. Through this kind of therapy, the amphetamine addict can learn how to change their destructive behaviors and patterns. This kind of therapy helps people to learn healthy ways of coping with stress so that amphetamines won’t be an option. Another helpful method of treatment is joining a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous. In this kind of environment, there are many people who understand where you are coming from and have effective tools for helping you overcome your addiction. A combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and support from a group like NA is generally very effective. Sometimes antidepressants are used to help with the symptoms of withdrawal and depression after quitting.

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you care about is suffering from amphetamine dependence, please seek help immediately. This is a very dangerous and destructive substance that can take a negative toll on the lives of those associated with it. Talk to your health care provider for advice, or look for a local therapist who can help. Look online to find any local Narcotics Anonymous support groups or amphetamine addict support groups for help. With the support of loved ones and the will to live a healthier and happier life, amphetamine dependence can be conquered.

View Resources

  • Healthline.com – Great information about amphetamine dependence, including causes and symptoms and treatments.
  • Wikipedia – Wikipedia page for amphetamine dependence, including addictiveness.
  • MindDisorders.com

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