Amphetamines are a type of drug commonly referred to as “speed and often create a psychological imbalance that requires a specialist amphetamine rehab.” Amphetamines are usually off-white, pink-tinted powders and can look crystalline in structure. Stronger amphetamines called “base” can have a more putty-like texture. Drug rehab centres sometimes prescribe anti-depressants to help users deal with the withdrawal effects from amphetamines, but focus largely on psychological therapy.
The powdery amphetamines are usually ingested orally or snorted. The speed can be rubbed into the gums, or alternatively split into “lines” like cocaine and taken up the nose. Sometimes, the unpleasant taste drives people to wrap amphetamines in a cigarette paper and then swallow it. Although unusual, some users inject speed, which causes the effects to come on more rapidly but opens the user up to a variety of other health problems. Snorting also causes a more rapid onset of effects than swallowing.
Amphetamines primarily affect the user by drastically increasing their alertness. The drug is a stimulant, which increases the levels of noradrenaline and dopamine within the brain. The elevated levels of these two neurotransmitters increase confidence, improve focus, and make the user energetic, alert and euphoric. The effects the drug has on concentration and wakefulness explains its use as a drug for ADHD and narcolepsy, respectively. Users of amphetamines will be unable to sleep for around eight hours after taking the drug, and will also not feel hungry. The decrease in hunger experienced led to the drug originally being used as a diet aid.
The main risks associated with amphetamines are psychological. Users can develop depression, irritability, anxiety, aggression, paranoia and have psychotic episodes. Physically, the main risks exist for people with heart or blood pressure problems, because the drug puts a strain on the user’s heart. Large doses can result in a fatal overdose, which is more likely if the person has an existing cardiovascular problem or if the drug is mixed with alcohol or anti-depressants. Amphetamines also cause a “comedown” after they wear off, which is characterised by depression and lethargy. Staying awake for extended periods of time also lowers immunities and makes users more likely to contract minor illnesses.
When the brain receives frequent doses of amphetamines, it has to adapt in order to deal with the increased levels of dopamine and noradrenaline. This shift in the brain’s functioning causes tolerance in users of amphetamines, which means more has to be consumed to produce the same effects. Eventually, the brain becomes so dependent on the effects of the drug that the addict feels like he or she needs it to feel “normal.” Withdrawal symptoms such as depression occur when the brain doesn’t get its fix, which make the user more likely to take the drug again.
Treatment for abuse of amphetamines in drug rehab centres is usually focused on psychological intervention. Drug rehab counsellors analyse the individual and help them work out what drives them to take drugs in the first place. Negative thought patterns and poor coping mechanisms will be replaced with healthier alternatives, which help the individual avoid relapse. In some instances, drug rehab facilities will choose to treat the withdrawal symptoms with anti-depressants to make it easier for the user to get clean.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, we can provide you with free advice on the different drug rehab programs available to you. We have a detailed knowledge of the facilities available at drug rehab centres in your local area, and can point you in the right direction for treatment. Addiction to amphetamines can be a very serious issue, and the potential risks mean that most users benefit from some additional help. Pick up the phone and see what free help we can offer you! There is no need to suffer through addiction alone.