Use of amphetamines has skyrocketed in the past ten years. There are now thousands of people who are not only using amphetamines but who have become subsequently dependent upon these drugs and who now suffer from addiction. Distinguishing whether amphetamine dependence can lead to addiction begins with the development of a foundation of understanding of what addiction and dependence actually is, how both are defined and what actions can be take to counteract each.
What is Amphetamine Dependence?
According to the World Health Organization, “physical dependence is the physiological adaptation of the body to the presence of a [drug]. It is defined by the development of withdrawal symptoms when discontinued or when the dose is reduced abruptly.” Amphetamine dependence can occur with regular use of amphetamines and may make quitting a challenge. While the amount of time that an amphetamine must be used before a user will become physically dependent varies, the effects are generally similar from one user to the next and include:
- inability to easily quit
- symptoms of withdrawal when attempts to quit or cut back are made
- agitation and irritability when attempting to quit
What is Amphetamine Addiction?
The World Health Organization defines addiction as, “aberrant changes in behavior. Addiction is compulsive use of drugs for nonmedical reasons; it is characterized by a craving for mood altering drug effects, not pain relief. Addiction means dysfunctional behavior…denial of drug use; lying; forgery of prescriptions; theft of drugs from other patients or family members; selling or buying drugs on the street; using prescribed drugs to get “high.”
When a user takes amphetamines repeatedly for a period of time and becomes subsequently dependent on the drug there is an increased risk that such dependence will lead to the aberrant changes in behavior that are listed by the WHO as characteristic of addiction. Unfortunately, amphetamine addiction can lead to a number of potential problems and consequences for the user which may include:
- legal troubles
- financial troubles
- relationship problems
- social problems
- emotional instability
- problems at work or school
- problems at home
- difficulty coping
- difficulty quitting
- inability to control drug use
- inability to quit without professional help
- lying, cheating or stealing to fuel habit
Unfortunately, amphetamine dependence can and most often will lead to an addiction that is characterized by an array of aberrant behaviors which can have adverse consequences on the user’s life. If you think that you, or someone you know, may be suffering from amphetamine addiction, consider seeking prompt medical treatment, supportive care and therapy right away to curb your addiction and get your life back on track.