Amphetamines drugs, such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall do a good job at treating symptoms of ADHD and also narcolepsy. When these conditions are present, the effects of amphetamines work to stabilize or “normalize” brain functioning.
People who don’t suffer from these conditions stand to experience feelings of euphoria, confidence and increased energy levels. For these reasons, college students and business executives alike may well take to the energizing effects of amphetamines and the increased levels of concentration these drugs produce.
Unfortunately, ongoing amphetamine use can compromise brain and body functioning in serious ways to the point where full-blown, amphetamine related disorders develop. When left untreated, amphetamine related disorders can indeed cause permanent brain damage for some people.
Amphetamines-based drugs can interact with the body’s central nervous system in harmful ways, especially when abused. Since the central nervous system regulates a range of major bodily systems, amphetamine related disorders can take on many different forms.
According to Medscape, there are a total of 11 amphetamine related disorder types, including:
With long-term amphetamine use, the effects of these drugs gradually change the brain’s chemical makeup in terms of neurotransmitter production cycles. This in turn causes changes on a structural level, which accounts for the ongoing risk of developing amphetamine related disorders.
Over time, the cells involved in producing high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine undergo considerable damage due to overwork. These developments further contribute to the potential for brain damage that comes with amphetamine abuse.
According to the journal of Molecular Psychiatry, evidence of brain damage appears as abnormalities in brain structure and functioning. More often than not, affected individuals also show a reduction in overall gray matter due to brain cell loss over time.
Someone who’s already engaged in regular amphetamine abuse has to contend with the uncomfortable withdrawal effects that develop once the effects of the drug wear off. One of these effects takes the form of a growing depression.
Depression, in and of itself, can fuel ongoing drug abuse practices, placing a person at even higher risk for developing an amphetamine related disorder. Add to this the worsening sleep disturbances that amphetamine abuse tends to cause and this risk runs even higher.
Overall, the longer amphetamine abuse continues, the greater the degree of physical and/or psychological dysfunction experienced in one’s daily life. After so many months of this, the likelihood of developing permanent brain damage increases considerably.
While amphetamines do offer certain valuable treatment benefits, the longer a person keeps taking them the greater the risk for developing amphetamine related disorders. In the case of recreational amphetamine use, individuals not only risk developing related disorders, but also brain damage.
Considering how addictive amphetamines can be in general, the potential for developing brain damage increases considerably when drug abuse practices enter the picture.