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Amphetamine Addiction Treatment Programs

Amphetamines are a type of synthetic drug classified as stimulants with a high potential for abuse and addiction.1, 2 Prescription amphetamines, like Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine), are legal and commonly used to treat conditions such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or narcolepsy.1, 3 Adderall in particular is becoming widely prescribed, increasing its potential for abuse.

Adderall abuse occurs when it is taken without a prescription, in larger amounts or more frequently than prescribed. Abuse can also occur when the drugs are taken in a different manner than prescribed, such as by chewing, snorting, or injecting the drug.4, 5 Amphetamine addiction, also referred to as amphetamine use disorder, involves a psychological reliance on the drug to function, an inability to control use, and can include physical dependence, all of which create impairment in one or more areas of functioning.5, 6

A comprehensive survey of Americans aged 12 or older taken in 2018 estimated that:4

  • 1 million people abused prescribed stimulants in the last year.
  • Nearly 370,000 people between the ages of 12 and 17 misused prescribed stimulants in the last year.
  • Approximately 2.2 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 misused prescribed stimulants in the last year.
  • Approximately 2.5 million people aged 26 or older abused prescribed stimulants in the last year.
  • About 561,000 people had a stimulant use disorder (addiction) in the last year. Of these, 53,000 were between the ages of 12 and 17, 185,000 were between the ages of 18 and 25, and 323,000 were aged 26 or older.

Effects of Adderall and Other Amphetamines

The effects of Adderall and other amphetamines can vary by many factors. They may appear rapidly, and can affect one physically, mentally, and emotionally. Furthermore, the effects of Adderall and other amphetamines can be both short-term and long-term.

Short-Term Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

When amphetamines are taken, they don’t work as quickly as other stimulants, such as cocaine, and are felt for a longer period of time.1 However, if the pills are chewed, snorted, or injected, Adderall effects may be experienced earlier. The short-term effects of amphetamine abuse can include:

  • Hostility or aggression. Nausea.
  • Cognitive impairment.
  • Severe anxiety.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Heart issues.

Long-Term (psychological) Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

The long-term effects of amphetamine abuse can negatively impact both physical and mental health.1, 3Abusing amphetamines can increase the risk of experiencing psychological or physical side effects.1, 2, 5 The long-term psychological effects of amphetamine abuse include:

  • Paranoia.
  • Violent behavior.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Loss of coordination.

Why are Amphetamines Addictive?

How amphetamines work in the brain and the effects that they have play a big role in why they are so addictive, much like other stimulants. Amphetamines cause a release of chemicals in the brain that affect how a person feels and functions, leading to:

  • Short-term euphoria.
  • Increased alertness.
  • More energy.
  • Increased productivity.

Chronic use of amphetamines can lead to the development of tolerance, where a higher dose is needed to feel the effects of the drug.2 When the high wears off, withdrawal symptoms can be debilitating and make it difficult to stop using.2 This vicious cycle is why amphetamines are addictive, and why amphetamine addiction can be difficult to beat.

Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction

There are many signs and symptoms of amphetamine addiction. If you are concerned that you or a loved one may have an addiction to Adderall or another type of amphetamine, there are two categories of warning signs to be aware of. Physical symptoms of amphetamine addiction affect the body and can be observed by looking at the person, while behavioral symptoms of amphetamine addiction pertain to a person’s actions and habits.

Physical Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction

The physical symptoms of amphetamine addiction can include:3, 6

  • Weight loss.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Sniffles.
  • Consistent appetite loss.

Behavioral Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction

Changes in behavior can also indicate that someone might have a problem with amphetamines. The behavioral symptoms of amphetamine addiction can include:3, 6
 

  • Acquiring amphetamines without a prescription.
  • Snorting amphetamines.
  • Inability to stop using the substance.
  • Manic highs.
  • Paranoia.
  • New financial problems.
  • New legal problems.
  • Risk-taking behavior.

Amphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the dangers of amphetamine addiction is amphetamine withdrawal. Most people who use amphetamines will experience symptoms of withdrawal at some point, and it can be difficult to stop without help.6 Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can be intense and very uncomfortable, and could include:2, 3, 6

  • Depression after stopping use of the drug.
  • Periods of complete exhaustion following stopping use of the drug.
  • Increase appetite.
  • Aches and pains.
  • Agitation or irritability.
  • Vivid nightmares.

Are You Struggling with Amphetamine Addiction?

Do you recognize one or more of the physical or behavioral symptoms listed above? Are you looking for help with amphetamine use, but aren’t sure where to start? If you answered yes to either of these questions, you may want to consider seeking treatment for an amphetamine use disorder for either yourself or a loved one. It can be extremely difficult to overcome addiction on your own, and many people find treatment to be an extremely effective step toward recovery.

How American Addiction Centers Can Help

As a leader among providers of addiction treatment in the United States, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is at the forefront of helping people reclaim their lives from addiction to amphetamines and other drugs.7 American Addiction Centers provides care that treats people as a whole, by offering evidence-based care focused on addressing the underlying causes that contribute to addiction, as well as physical and mental health disorders, and readjusting socially without the use of substances.7, 8

With 8 facilities located across the United States, American Addiction Centers ensure that treatment is available and accessible regardless of your location.8 The facilities provide specialized treatment plans that are tailored to each person’s unique needs while offering luxurious amenities to ensure comfort.7 Call the free helpline any time, day or night, to be connected to compassionate and knowledgeable staff who can provide more information about getting started on your recovery journey.7

Not Sure About Amphetamine Addiction Treatment?

Deciding to seek treatment for an amphetamine use disorder can seem scary, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Substance use disorders are complicated and can affect every area of a person’s life, so a good treatment program will address all of these aspects.9 Since addiction is experienced differently by each person, treatment should be tailored as well, by providing different settings, methods, and services based on a person’s individual needs.9 Treatment doesn’t simply address addiction, but also focuses on any other issues that may be present, including physical health conditions, mental health disorders, social issues, work concerns, and legal troubles.9  

Treatment for an amphetamine use disorder usually involves one or more of 3 major components:

Sources

  1. Drug Enforcement Administration. (2017). Drugs of abuse: A DEA resource guide.
  2. Center for Substance Abuse Research. (2013). Amphetamines.
  3. Food and Drug Administration. (2007). Adderall (CII).
  4. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Rockville, MD: Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality.
  5. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2020). Substance use — amphetamines.
  6. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
  7. American Addiction Centers. (2020). American addiction centers.
  8. American Addiction Centers. (2020). Our treatment centers.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of drug addiction treatment: A research-based guide (3rd edition).
  10.  Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2015). Detoxification and substance abuse treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 45. HHS Publication No. (SMA) 15-4131. Rockville, MD: Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.