Substance Use

Amphetamine Use Disorder Treatment

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Amphetamine use disorder, a condition marked by the compulsive use of amphetamines despite adverse consequences, requires comprehensive treatment approaches to address both its physical and psychological aspects. Amphetamines, stimulants that increase activity in the brain and body, can lead to dependency quickly due to their potent effects on dopamine levels—contributing to feelings of euphoria and increased energy. (1)

However, this misuse disrupts normal brain function and leads to serious health issues over time. Treatment for Amphetamine use disorder involves a combination of medical supervision for withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies aimed at modifying drug-use behaviors and thought patterns, and support groups that encourage those undergoing similar challenges.

A successful recovery plan from drug addiction is often tailored specifically to the individual’s needs, considering their unique circumstances around drug use, ensuring a holistic approach towards reclaiming control over one’s life from addiction’s grip.

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What Are Amphetamines?

Amphetamines are a group of highly addictive drugs that come in crystal, liquid, pill, powder, and paste forms. These drugs also come in legal and illegal forms — both of which are abused. However, the latter is causing many public health issues, as this category of amphetamines includes meth. (2)

Methamphetamine misuse is increasing in the United States. Between 1992 and 2002, hospital admissions increased by more than 500%. By 2018, an estimated 1.6 million adults in the U.S. aged 18 years or older had reported meth use in the past year.

Across the globe, this figure is around 34 million; of those users, approximately 5 million depend on amphetamines. (3) (4

Long-term misuse of amphetamine drugs can damage the brain and heart, resulting in:

  • Malnutrition
  • Psychosis
  • Heart damage

The risk of such complications increases when users mix amphetamines with other drugs, especially other psychostimulant drugs. (5)

The best way to prevent potentially fatal incidents or amphetamine dependence is to take a proactive approach. Seeking help for amphetamine abuse is a life-changing journey that ensures a healthier, more fulfilling life free from the chains of addiction. 

Learn more about the most common barriers to seeking treatment for substance use disorder so that you know you’re not alone. You have options to build the future you desire. 

Types of Amphetamine

These are some of the commonly known types of amphetamines, each with its own specific pharmacological properties, therapeutic uses, and potential for abuse. (6)

  1. Dextroamphetamine: This is a potent central nervous system stimulant that is commonly prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, leading to improved focus and attention.
  2. Adderall: Adderall is a brand-name prescription drug that contains a combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine salts. It is widely used for the treatment of ADHD and sometimes for certain sleep disorders like narcolepsy.
  3. Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It is commonly abused recreationally for its euphoric effects. Methamphetamine is also sometimes used medically in the treatment of obesity and ADHD, although its medical use is limited due to its high potential for abuse.
  4. Lisdexamfetamine: Lisdexamfetamine is a prodrug of dextroamphetamine, meaning it is converted into dextroamphetamine in the body. It is commonly prescribed for the treatment of ADHD and binge eating disorder.
  5. Methylphenidate: While not strictly an amphetamine, methylphenidate is a closely related stimulant medication that is often used to treat ADHD. It works by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, similar to amphetamines.
  6. Desoxyn: Desoxyn is a brand-name medication that contains methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is FDA-approved for the treatment of ADHD and obesity, although it is rarely prescribed due to its high potential for abuse.
  7. Evekeo: Evekeo is a brand-name medication that contains racemic amphetamine sulfate. It is FDA-approved for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.
  8. Dexedrine: Dexedrine is a brand-name medication that contains dextroamphetamine sulfate. It is used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy.

It’s important to note that amphetamines should only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional. Misuse or abuse of these drugs can lead to serious health consequences.

Causes of Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine addiction doesn’t happen overnight; it’s the result of a complex interplay of factors that can push an individual toward dependency on these powerful stimulants.

  • Genetics plays a significant role—some people are simply more predisposed to substance abuse disorders than others due to their biological makeup. 
  • Environmental influences also weigh heavily; exposure to high-stress situations 
  • Peer pressure, or living in communities where drug use is prevalent can increase the risk of turning to amphetamines as a coping mechanism. (11)
  • Psychological factors such as underlying mental health issues like depression or anxiety often contribute significantly. 

Individuals might initially use amphetamines for their mood-enhancing and energy-boosting effects without realizing the potential for addiction.

The rapid tolerance development encourages higher doses over time, leading down the path toward dependence as users chase those initial feelings of euphoria and alertness.

How Is Amphetamine Addiction Treated?

Addiction treatment for amphetamine abuse is a complex and highly individualized process. Treatment options will also vary depending on where you seek treatment. 

You’ll gain access to the most effective treatment options when you go to a professional inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment center that focuses on an evidence-based, holistic approach. If the treatment center doesn’t offer detox services, they will direct you to a safe, structured environment to complete this initial process.

When withdrawing from amphetamines, professionals will work with you to ensure you’re safe and comfortable. 

Following this step, you can then focus on your individualized treatment plan. For example, cognitive-behavioral therapy is highly effective in treating many mental health and substance use disorders, including methamphetamine addiction. (12)

Research shows that a combination of behavioral therapies, individual counseling, family therapy, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities is most effective. 

Regardless of your history and current level of drug use, you are a unique individual. You must seek a treatment program that values this approach.

No two individuals are the same, and neither is their road to recovery. It is this approach that allows for the highest chance of long-term success.

Amphetamine Use Disorder and Treatment Options 

Amphetamine abuse is widespread, increasing the risk of toxicity and overdose. Amphetamine addiction is common because of the intense high this drug class creates among users who abuse it and the accessibility of legal and illegal amphetamines. (7)

Although amphetamine withdrawal symptoms are not typically dangerous, they are uncomfortable, and complications can arise when there’s a severe underlying mental health condition. Relapse and continued use also increase your risk of serious health consequences or a potential overdose.

For this reason, you or your loved one must receive professional, structured support from a healthcare provider to recover from amphetamine addiction.

Are Amphetamines Addictive?

Yes, amphetamines are highly addictive — their use is now a global public health concern due to their highly addictive contents. (7)

Once this dependence develops and withdrawal symptoms become part of the pattern of trying to quit, achieving sobriety on your own becomes much harder — and sometimes more dangerous. 

In the United States, stimulant abuse is high. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that in 2020, among people aged 12 or older, 3.3 million people misused prescription stimulants only, and around 1.5 million people misused only methamphetamine. (8)

Users who take amphetamines to get high often binge, causing tolerance to develop. The user then needs to take higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect.

This pattern of abuse leads to dependence, which causes withdrawal syndrome when the users try to stop taking their drug of choice. 

Since amphetamines are prescribed to millions in the United States each year, unintentional addiction can develop over time. For example, since users often take amphetamines daily, physical and psychological changes occur. (9)

The body and mind adapt to having the drug regularly, which forms the basis of tolerance. Once tolerance develops, users need more of the drug to achieve the same effects. 

The majority of amphetamine users who develop addiction are those who use drugs recreationally. Data shows that these users often administer stimulants at doses much higher than what’s intended for therapeutic use. (10)

To deliver a quantity of drug to the central nervous system in the shortest time; this is when users begin to experiment with dangerous routes of administration, such as smoking crystal meth or injecting it. 

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction?

Addiction impacts people of all ages and from all backgrounds. There is no one “type” of person who abuses amphetamines. For loved ones, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential warning signs, especially when someone is acting out of character. 

One of the most crucial warning signs is when a user continues taking amphetamines even though their drug use harms their life. For example, it’s causing poor physical and mental health outcomes, a lack of performance at work or school, or it’s ruining relationships. Even when severe consequences arise, they can’t stop using. 

Here are some of the most common warning signs: (13)

  • Missing classes or work 
  • Not caring about their appearance 
  • Hanging out with different people than usual 
  • Losing interest in favorite activities 
  • Getting in trouble with the law
  • Having problems with friends and family members 
  • Short-term weight loss
  • Various health problems
  • Showcasing different sleeping and eating habits
  • Irregular heartbeat, or heart failure, which results in a heart attack

The route of administration also matters, particularly among those abusing prescription amphetamines. For example, if a user has begun to use amphetamines intravenously, there is an issue. The user is likely taking doses outside of what’s recommended, opting for an administration method based on getting high. 

Ask Yourself These Questions

If you’re unsure whether your amphetamine use has become a problem, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Are you using medication in a non-prescribed way? This red flag may include taking larger than prescribed doses or taking medications in inadvisable methods, such as crushing and snorting pills. 
  2. Are you experiencing a suppressed appetite because of your drug use? Have you lost weight and are no longer consuming a healthy, balanced diet? Perhaps you barely eat anything at all?
  3. Have you become jittery from a lack of sleep or increased anxiety — both of which are a byproduct of ongoing drug use?
  4. Have your relationships begun to suffer? Are you skipping important family events? Are you no longer seeing friends who disapprove of your drug use?
  5. Do you continue to use amphetamines despite the negative consequences discussed above? Due to drug use, you might also experience issues in your professional life, financial hardship, etc. 
  6. Are you experiencing intense cravings when you don’t use amphetamines? Do thoughts of your next dose consume you?

If your life now revolves around using amphetamines and you are physically and psychologically dependent, it’s time to seek support. Learn more about the common types of care at drug treatment facilities across the United States. 

Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal syndrome is common among those who misuse and abuse amphetamines. 

Symptoms surface when someone taking larger doses and is dependent stops using, or they try to cut down and include the following: (14)

  • Increased but poor-quality sleep
  • Altered mood, particularly depression
  • Fatigue
  • Changes in appetite 
  • Anxiety, irritability, and paranoia 
  • Intense cravings 
  • Rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Serious mood swings

These symptoms are often intense for the first ten days and gradually reduce in severity over the following weeks. However, some report that cravings and mood issues linger. It is these symptoms that increase one’s risk of relapse. In most cases, the withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening, but recovery is often slow.

Those experiencing severe cases of depression can develop complications because of instances of self-harm. For this reason, individuals with co-occurring disorders must seek the professional help they need during this period. 

The connection between amphetamine abuse and mental health is complex. In many cases, diminishing mental health is a consequence of amphetamine use. This drug has also been shown to exacerbate psychosis in people with schizophrenia. (15)

Substance use disorder and mental illness often go hand-in-hand. Self-medicating is a common approach among those struggling with mental health disorder symptoms. 

The NIH reported that around half of those who experience a mental illness during their lives would also experience a substance use disorder and vice versa.

High rates of comorbid use are associated with:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Trauma
  • Depression
  • Bipolar
  • ADHD
  • Personality disorders (16)

The overlap between drug abuse and mental health is particularly pronounced among those with serious mental illness that causes severe functional impairment. 

In most cases, substance use and conditions like depression are bidirectional. Substance abuse, including amphetamine addiction, causes mood changes, and substance use is a behavior to help alleviate depression.

Meth is a unique example, as chronic use has been shown to reduce serotonin and dopamine brain concentrations, making depression worse. One study found that meth users had a 62% rate of depression before meth use, but depression rates increased by nearly 20% when individuals began using meth. (17)

Withdrawing from amphetamines can also cause a depressive-like state. This side effect can last for weeks following discontinued use.

So, for some, amphetamine abuse and the resulting withdrawal period exacerbate a preexisting mental health condition. (18)

Zinnia Health Can Help With Amphetamine Use Disorder

Zinnia Health facilities across the U.S. provide comprehensive treatment programs that focus on each individual. Within our substance abuse treatment plans, mental wellness plays an integral role. We understand that a healthy mind and lifestyle contribute to lifelong recovery, which is why our healthcare providers are number one.

Many options are offered, including:

  • Inpatient treatment
  • Detox programs
  • Intensive outpatient treatment
  • Recovery residences

Each option focuses on evidence-based treatment methods and therapies, creating an environment that encourages healing and ongoing success for Americans.

Ready to take the next step to address your amphetamine addiction, mental health, or both? Zinnia Health can help. Contact us at (855) 430-9439 to learn more.


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(855) 430-9439
Why call us? Why call us