For years students thought that amphetamines improved concentration and the ability to work. Unfortunately, this is not true. This belief came from the fact that amphetamines are used to improve focus for individuals with certain disorders. More recently amphetamines have made their way back into both education and sports communities. The pervasive belief that they improve performance comes from misconceptions about what amphetamines actually do. In order to understand that they do not improve performance, you need to know what amphetamines are, what their side effects are, and how doctors use them.
Amphetamines are stimulants. They act like cocaine but they last a lot longer. You can feel their effects for several hours after ingestion. They speed up the signals between the brain and the rest of the body. There are legal and illegal amphetamines. A doctor prescribes the legal ones, which are then sometimes sold on the black market. Criminals manufacture the illegal ones in clandestine labs all over the world. The street names for the illegal versions of amphetamines are speed, meth, crystal, and many others. These drugs are highly addictive and therefore dangerous when abused. Although people take them for their short term effects, they often do not think about the long term ones.
The reason people take amphetamines is because many of the short term effects at low doses are beneficial and the ones that are not go away quickly. These short term effects in low doses according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse are:
These effects are felt in low levels around 30 or 40 milligrams. With higher doses these side effects change into something more severe.
These side effects become more and more dangerous depending on the level of addiction and the dosage. Most people feel these side effects at least once during use. In severe cases psychosis starts to appear in the short term.
Amphetamines have some devastating long term effects. These effects range are:
Many of these long term effects are permanent. When a person starts to show these side effects, they generally stop working and are only seeking the drug. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most people who start using are doing so because of lack of energy, unfortunately the positive effects of amphetamines are fleeting and the long term consequences are devastating. It does serious harm to work performance when the person is constantly seeking the drug.
Many different types of people use amphetamines. Athletes use them for improved performance. Students use them for improved concentration and to help with all night study sessions. Workers use them for added energy and ability to work. Truck drivers use them so they can stay awake on the road. Every one of these users risks addiction every time they use depending on the amount and actual drug that they take.
Legally, doctors use amphetamines for treating different disorders. The most common disorders that amphetamine treats are:
These are just a few of the disorders that amphetamines successfully treat. For sufferers they are worth the drawbacks. People who use amphetamines illegally often use them for recreation, improved performance, and for energy. Athletes use them to improve performance and reduce fatique. Scholars use them to stay awake to study and improve focus.
Even though these drugs do temporarily increase energy, improve focus, and reduce fatigue, they only do so for a short time. Then more and more of the drug is needed. After a short while with constant use, you become tolerant to their effects. This is when the side effects start to show up. At higher doses amphetamines causes agitation and the inability to focus. You start to need the drug to function normally, without it you are more tired, less focused, and more fatigued than you where before you started taking it. In the short term amphetamines seem to improve work performance but ultimately they ruin a person’s employment and his or her life.