Amphetamines are synthetic drugs that include Crystal Meth, Ecstasy, Cocaine and drugs prescribed by a doctor for various mental disorders such as ADD and OCD. People abuse these drugs for increased energy and a euphoria that can make someone usually reserved and shy feel more open and connected. According to NIDA, “they are frequently abused for purposes of weight loss or performance enhancement, to help study or boost grades in school”.
Young people often abuse these types of drugs more frequently because of how easy it is to get them either from a doctor or illegally on the street. There is a misconception among young users that prescribed drugs like Ritalin are not as dangerous and are not addictive. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
When used too often, amphetamines can be physically and psychologically addictive. When someone has a drug addiction they feel an intense craving they no longer have control over and will do anything including what you would consider unthinkable to obtain and use them again and again. After a while a tolerance can build, requiring more of the drug to satisfy their compulsive need of the user, and amphetamines in large doses can have very dangerous side effects.
Long term use of amphetamines like the drugs we mentioned before can have side effects that have severe health effects that can ultimately lead to respiratory distress, cardiac arrest and even organ failure that can result in death. All the fun of the initial use of the drugs can be shadowed very quickly by an obsession to use dangerous drugs that contain deadly chemicals and concoctions of unknown substances just to feel “normal” .
Physical long term side effects also include headaches and blurred vision, decreased appetite and extreme weight loss, difficulty breathing and other respiratory problems, increased heartbeat and high blood pressure and the inability to sleep for days at a time. This breaks down the immune systems which can lead to other problems and general poor health.
Another long term effect of amphetamine use is amphetamine psychosis. Amphetamine psychosis occurs when amphetamines are abused for extended periods of time or used in excessive amounts. It causes symptoms of extreme agitation and paranoia, violent outbursts and criminal behavior and symptoms that mimic schizophrenia. People who are in the midst of amphetamine psychosis can be suicidal and even dangerous to others during this time.
People who have abused amphetamines and then stop abruptly can experience withdrawal symptoms that can require therapy at a residential drug treatment facility. Depression is often a common factor in amphetamine withdrawal. Amphetamines effect dopamine levels in the brain which makes the person feel happier and more “up” so when the drugs are no longer in the system, the user will experience depression and sadness. It takes the brain time to adjust to the natural levels the brain supplies which varies from person to person but usually regulates itself in about a week and a half to two weeks.