The effects of amphetamine addiction typically stick around long after the drug use has stopped causing undue stress and discomfort for the user. Amphetamines work similar to cocaine and other stimulants to provide an energetic effect upon the user. When addiction to these drugs sets in, the long term devastation that occurs can linger with the user making it difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel. Using amphetamines can have a lasting impact on your overall health and psychological well-being.
How Amphetamines Affect the Brain
One of the more serious impacts that amphetamine addiction has on the user takes place in the brain. Chemical changes in the central nervous system and the manner in which the brain responds to pleasure are deeply impacted by the use of amphetamines. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, amphetamines cause an increase in the production of dopamine which is responsible for creating a sense of euphoria when the user is under the influence. Unfortunately, this same dopamine is also responsible for creating feelings of happiness and pleasure in a normal state of mind.
Over production of dopamine can lead to a lack of production of this norepinephrine neurotransmitter later on. The result is a permanent or semi-permanent change in the brain that causes the user to no longer feel happy, excited or otherwise elated unless he or she is under the influence of drugs. These effects of amphetamine addiction do not always go away and may make it necessary for the user to be prescribed permanent medication to counteract the effects later on in life.
Amphetamine addiction leads to depression. As the user experiences deeper states of unhappiness and sadness both as a result of their use of drugs and also as a result of the lack of dopamine being created in their brain, the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors increases. The effects of amphetamine addiction can linger causing the user to feel depressed for many months or even years following his or her decision to quit abusing drugs. Unfortunately, medication is often the only effective treatment for such depression although certain types of motivation rewards and behavioral therapy can also help.
Amphetamine addiction that remains untreated for a prolonged period of time can greatly increase the potential risk for amphetamine psychosis to occur. Amphetamine psychosis results when a user becomes stuck in a permanent state of paranoia that is similar to that associated with schizophrenia. Taking a high dose of amphetamines over a short period of time or using extensive amounts of amphetamines for a prolonged period of time can lead an individual into a state of permanent or semi-permanent amphetamine psychosis. Typically, the psychosis will begin to wear off over time if the user quits abusing drugs but there will always be a slight “difference” in the person if such a psychosis has taken hold. It could take many weeks or even years for an individual affected by amphetamine induced psychosis to get a grasp on reality and get back in control of his or her life.