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Amphetamine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Treatment, & Timeline
Amphetamines have always been highly desirable drugs because they produce a euphoric high. The downside is that amphetamines are highly addictive substances that lead to many adverse health effects. Read on to learn more about stimulant addiction and amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.
What are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines are prescription drugs that cause a stimulant effect on the central nervous system. Examples of these drugs are Adderall, Vyvanse, and Dexedrine, and they are prescribed for people who have ADHD or narcolepsy.
These drugs come in tablet or capsule form and cause the central nervous to speed up. Patients who take amphetamines for valid medical reasons do not experience the stimulant effects.
The problem is that many people misuse “uppers” or “speed” to unleash a powerful high. Effects include euphoria, increased alertness and energy, and can get by on little sleep. These pills have gained the nickname “study drugs” because they keep students alert and focused for long stretches of time.
Misuse of amphetamines over time can lead to dependence and addiction. Dependence means the person feels sick unless they keep taking the medication, and addiction happens when drug use becomes compulsive.
What is the Difference Between Amphetamines and Methamphetamine?
Amphetamine and methamphetamine are both synthetic stimulant drugs. However, meth is an illicit drug that is far more dangerous. This is mostly because meth contains toxic chemicals, such as those found in household cleaners, drain cleaners, and paint thinner. These ingredients are added to the amphetamine to create psychoactive effects. Both amphetamine and meth are labeled as Schedule II substances by the DEA.
Types of Stimulant Drugs
While Adderall and similar drugs are prescription amphetamines, stimulants also come in other forms. But all stimulants affect the central nervous system in a similar way:
- Adderall. Adderall is a prescription stimulant that shares many of the same traits as cocaine and meth. When the drug is prescribed for someone with ADHD it does not cause stimulant effects. Instead, it helps the person to focus and concentrate better. But many college students obtain the drug so they will need less sleep and have more energy. Because they do not have a medical issues, the drug works as a stimulant.
- Meth. Meth is a powerful manmade stimulant that is highly addictive. Meth is about three times more potent than cocaine and can cause an intense adrenaline rush. Effects include a surge of energy, euphoria, hyperactivity, agitation, and aggression.
- Cocaine. Cocaine, or coke, is a powerful stimulant derived from the coca plants of South America. Cocaine is a white powdery substance that is taken by snorting, smoking, or injecting the drug. Cocaine produces a powerful, but short-lived, euphoric high. It features feelings of invincibility, mania, increased energy, and a reduced need for sleep
What is Stimulant Use Disorder?
Chronic use of any central nervous stimulant can lead to stimulant use disorder. This happens when the user develops tolerance to the pills because it results in more frequent dosing. With extended use of these drugs, adverse psychological effects are common, as is malnutrition.
Signs of amphetamine abuse or addiction include:
- Weight loss.
- Sleep disruption.
- Irrational behavior.
- Mood swings.
- Hostility or irritability.
- Blurred vision.
- Lack of pleasure when not on amphetamines.
- Irregular heartbeat.
- Withdrawal symptoms when the drug’s effects wear off.
When amphetamines are misused they produce stimulant effects that cause the person to feel highly confident and energized. This imprints in the brain’s reward system as a pleasurable event. Amphetamine use leads to addiction because the drug’s effects are short-lived, prompting repeated use.
Once someone becomes addicted to stimulants, withdrawal symptoms surface as the drug’s effects wears off. These are known as boomerang effects, including deep fatigue, depression, and excessive sleep. To avoid these unpleasant side effects, the person returns to the pills, which continues the addiction cycle.
Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
Prescription stimulants share the same withdrawal symptoms as cocaine and meth. Examples of Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme fatigue; exhaustion.
- Drug cravings.
- Vivid or disturbing dreams.
- Trembling or shaking.
- Stomach cramps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Slowed thinking.
- Excessive sleeping.
- Symptoms of depression.
- Concentration problems.
- Increased appetite.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms go through three stages: emerging symptoms, peak symptoms, and subsiding symptoms. Amphetamine detox lasts for three days to two weeks, depending on the severity of the addiction.
After someone gets through the detox and amphetamine withdrawal symptoms, it is time to begin rehab. While in treatment, the person will learn an array of techniques and skills that will help them handle life without stimulants.
Rehab will use many different therapy methods to help you detach from the stimulant addiction. It takes time and patience, but it is possible to overcome amphetamine addiction.
Here is what you can expect in Amphetamine withdrawal treatment:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT helps you change your thought and behavior patterns so you respond to triggers in a healthy way. You will learn new ways to process your thoughts in a more productive manner, instead of reaching for stimulants.
- Group therapy. Meeting with peers in recovery helps you form bonds and support each other in a shared experience.
- 12-step program. The A.A. 12-step program provides a roadmap for recovery. Programs also offer other types of recovery models, like SMART Recovery.
- Psychosocial. Classes teach new coping skills to be used in recovery. These tools help you communicate better, and to process feelings in a productive way.
- Holistic. Holistic methods like yoga and meditation are techniques that help induce a calm mental state and also reduce stress.
LifeSync Malibu Helps Individuals Overcome Amphetamine Addiction
LifeSync Malibu is a premium treatment center for addiction recovery. Our team is here to support you through the amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and put you on the road to recovery. For more information about our program, please call us at (866) 491-4426.