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What is the Binge-Crash Cycle?

According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, “Abuse of amphetamines, which can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence, is characterized by consuming increasingly higher dosages, and by the ‘binge and crash’ cycle.” But what is this cycle, how can one recognize it, and how is it treated?

Definition of Binge-Crash Amphetamine Abuse

A person who abuses stimulant drugs, the category amphetamines fall under, often does so in repeated, large doses. This is the binge part of the cycle, where the individual attempts to take as much of the drug as possible in order to prolong their high.

They will often be very talkative and energetic during this part of the cycle, feeling good and experiencing euphoria. However, there is a chance that they will also become paranoid, hostile, and experience other less desirable effects as well.

Users often binge on stimulants because these drugs create a short-lived high that feels very good, and those who abuse them want to lengthen this feeling. It is also because the after-effects of abusing stimulants are intense, detrimental, and undesirable.

Binge-Crash Cycle

During the crash from amphetamines, anxiety and fatigue are usually experienced.

The user will often go through a kind of withdrawal after their binge period. This is the crash part of the cycle. “When binge episodes end, the abuser ‘crashes’ and is left with severe depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue, and a craving for more drugs.”

How Can I Recognize This Cycle?

If a person you know:

  • Seems to be extremely energetic and aggressive sometimes and lethargic and depressed others with no warning
  • Swings between moods with extreme severity but in a recognizable pattern
  • Never shows signs of being in between highs and lows and is only ever on an upswing or downswing
  • Becomes angry or hostile when you ask about their drug use
  • Sleeps or is awake at odd hours
  • Doesn’t eat often and is losing weight at a rapid rate

There is a strong likelihood they are abusing amphetamines in a binge-crash cycle. This behavior is very dangerous, and a person who becomes involved in it is likely to experience physical and psychological dependence, tolerance, and addiction if they continue.

Why Amphetamine Abuse & Bingeing Go Together & When to Get Help

Can Binge-Crash Cycle Behavior Be Treated?

Yes. A person who participates in this behavior should attend professional substance abuse treatment and learn to stop abusing amphetamines. They will be likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop, and they will require medical treatment in order to minimize these symptoms as well and make it easier for them to avoid relapse.

Those who participate in the binge-crash cycle also need to be treated right away because “taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperature and an irregular heartbeat” as well as cardiovascular failure, seizures, and psychosis (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Treatment can help a person avoid these possible effects, including deadly overdose, and begin to create a better life for themselves, free from amphetamine abuse.

If you need to find a treatment center in your area, call 800-768-8728. We can help you find the program that will fit your needs or answer any more questions you may have about the binge-crash cycle and amphetamine abuse in general.

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