Stimulant medications, such as amphetamine, are often used to treat children, adolescents, and even adults who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2011 report, 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have ADHD. Amphetamine, however, is a commonly abused stimulant drug, which can lead to addiction. Two types of amphetamines are dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine.
Amphetamines are sold on the street as illicit and illegal drugs. Whether prescribed or obtained illegally, this stimulant has a high abuse potential. Amphetamine dependence occurs when a person requires this drug in order to normally function, and if one grows dependent upon it, he or she has withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop use. A dependency to amphetamine is often caused by long-term use of this drug. Certain individuals are more susceptible to dependency. You may become dependent to an amphetamine even when it is taken as prescribed.
Risk Factors for Amphetamine Dependence
There are certain people who are at risk for amphetamine dependence. You may be at higher risk for this if you:
- Have access to amphetamines.
- Live in the Western, Midwestern, or Southwestern regions of the U.S.
- Have emotional and or financial problems.
- Have low self-esteem or relationship issues.
- Lead a stressful life.
- Have a mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia.
A person who is addicted to amphetamines will miss work or school, not complete tasks as well, have poor hygiene, not eat, lose weight, steal money to support the drug habit, use amphetamines when alone, hide the amphetamine use from others, experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug, not be able or willing to stop the drug abuse, and suffer from dental problems.
Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
If you think you are addicted to amphetamine, you should consult a treatment rehabilitation (rehab) center or physician. The substance abuse counselors will ask you questions regarding your use of amphetamines, take blood tests to assess amphetamines in your system, perform a physical examination in order to assess for health problems, and decide if you meet the criteria for amphetamine dependence as a diagnosis. This includes:
- Tolerance to amphetamine – You need more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same feeling or “high.”
- Withdrawal from amphetamine – You experience depression, fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, aggression, and intense cravings.
- Requirement for larger amounts – You use large amounts of amphetamines for long periods of time.
- Failure to stop – You are attempting to stop the use of amphetamines but have been unsuccessful.
- Drug-seeking behavior – You spend a lot of time trying to obtain the drug.
- Continued use – You continue to use amphetamine although it is causing persistent psychological and physical problems.
For a person admitted to a rehab for amphetamine dependence, you will find that withdrawals are easier to go through in a controlled setting. The rehab staff can give you medications to reduce strong drug cravings, and psychotherapy and counseling is given to help with mood changes, aggressive behavior, and suicidal thoughts. Individual, group, and family therapy is done to identify why you use amphetamine, resolve issues that led to drug use, learn ways to avoid use of drugs, and get support from others so you can stay clean and fully recover from addiction.
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