Amphetamines are a distinct class of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system producing an increase in alertness, wakefulness and awareness. While the drugs are sometimes used in the treatment of ADD and ADHD as well as obesity and narcolepsy, they are not widely accepted for use due largely to the risks associated with sustained use, the ability for amphetamines to lead to addiction and the resulting withdrawal symptoms that ensue when amphetamines are abruptly quit.
Amphetamine was first synthesized by a Romanian chemist by the name of Lazar Edeleanu who derived the drug from a compound that comes from ephedrine which is a chemical that is isolated from a plant called the Ma-Huang. The drug was found to have a chemical structure similar to that of adrenaline and noradrenaline, two stimulants produced naturally within the human body.
Although the history of amphetamines date back to 1887, the drug amphetamine was not actually used in the medical field until 1927 when pharmacologist Gordon Alles made himself the guinnea pig and used amphetamine on himself to determine how the body would react to the drug and what it could potentially be used for. He decided that the drug could work well for stimulating the bronchiole response and may work well for people who suffer from asthma or other lung conditions.
Amphetamines became very popular for use in the early to mid-1900s when the drug was found to keep users alert, help them to stay awake for long periods of time and reduce tiredness. Amphetamines were also widely used in sports for improved performance and activity during this time and have continued to be a problem in the sporting world ever since the mid-1900s.
What do amphetamines look like and how can you tell that something is an amphetamine? These are some common questions that come up when talking about amphetamines. The general appearance of amphetamines differs depending on the drug that the amphetamine is in. For instance, some amphetamines are in pill form and may be blue or black in color. Methamphetamine, is usually clear or yellowish in color depending on purity of the drug and tends to look like glass or broken ice chips.
Speed, one type of amphetamine, varies the most in its appearance. Sometimes speed is white and other times it may be pale, yellow or pink. Speed is often pasty rather than methamphetamine which is usually very hard and dry. When speed is a very distinct color such as brown, red or orange, the colors are the result of clandestine methods of synthesis known as “backroom” or “bathtub” drugs.
Effects of Amphetamines
The effects of amphetamines are a stimulant reaction which includes increased energy and alertness. Most people who take amphetamines will initially feel a sense of greater power, increased confidence, and more energy. Unfortunately, like any drug, taking amphetamines excessively or prolonged use of amphetamines can have a number of negative side effects including psychosis, ulcers and damage to the CNS.
Long-term amphetamine use can lead to tolerance and an increased physical dependence on the drugs. Amphetamines also cause increased strain on the heart which can lead to heart attack, stroke or death. Blood pressure increases put the user at even greater risk when increased or excessive doses of amphetamines are used as there is an even greater risk of heart attack and stroke to occur.
An increased awareness in the appearance of attention deficit disorders in children has caused an increase in the number of amphetamine prescriptions that are being administered and a subsequent increase in the number of amphetamine addiction cases seen around the world. Addiction to amphetamines can develop either as a result of recreational use of these drugs or as a result of taking amphetamines to control appetite or attention as prescribed by a doctor.
Regardless of how amphetamine addiction occurs, the result is a physical and psychological dependence that is both dangerous and difficult to treat. Speed and other amphetamines affect the CNS creating a sense of well-being for the user. As the long-term effects of the drug use set in, it becomes more and more difficult for the user to ever return to their previous (before amphetamine abuse) health state because of chemical changes which continue to occur within the brain and the Central Nervous System.
Amphetamines are highly addictive drugs and should not be used for recreational purposes under any circumstances. The drugs have a similar effect on the reward system of the brain to other substances such as alcohol, nicotine or cocaine. This creates many challenges when it comes to treatment of the addiction because the user tends to feel down, depressed and just plan “not good” without amphetamines.
Amphetamine Addiction Treatment
Those who do become addicted to amphetamines are likely to require professional treatment in order to effectively control the urge to use amphetamines and to repair the psychological elements associated with sustained use of the drug. Because the reward system is impacted by the use of amphetamines, users will often require extensive psychological treatment and counseling to help repair this system and allow them to once again feel “good” or “happy” without using the drugs.
Amphetamine addiction treatment includes various methods of counseling and therapy with a primary focus on behavioral therapy. Many treatment professionals have found that cognitive behavioral therapy is a highly effective method of providing treatment for those who suffer from addiction to amphetamines because it can work to repair the thought processes and subsequent behaviors that once caused drug abuse.
Treatment for addiction to amphetamines is often a long and challenging road for the user plagued by numerous cases of relapse. If you or someone you love is addicted to amphetamines and would like to get sober, or if you’ve been trying your luck at sobriety and seem to fail every time, the most important thing to remember is that you cannot give up hope! Amphetamine addiction treatment will take time, it will take time for the body to heal and repair from the drug use and you may feel those cravings to use for many years following therapy but you can stay sober!
Call our helpline at 800-768-8728(Who Answers?) to talk to a counselor about the many options available to help you overcome amphetamine addiction and begin your lifetime of sobriety.
Though it may be a difficult process, getting sober is a life-changing event that you really will grow to appreciate!