Compassion Behavioral Health / Resources / Articles / Amphetamine Addiction : Symptoms, Effects and Its Treatment
CBH Staff

Amphetamine Addiction : Symptoms, Effects and Its Treatment

Amphetamine Addiction amphetamine on a spoon

Amphetamine addiction is a serious issue that affects individuals worldwide. It is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of this addiction and its treatment options to address this growing problem effectively. In this article, we will explore what amphetamine addiction is, its prevalence, signs and symptoms, the impact on health and lifestyle, as well as the process of addiction treatment.

What is Amphetamine Addiction?

Amphetamine addiction refers to the compulsive use and abuse of amphetamine, a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. Amphetamines are commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, when used recreationally or in higher doses than prescribed, they can lead to addiction.

Amphetamines affect the brain by increasing the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, resulting in heightened alertness, increased energy, and elevated mood. Over time, individuals may develop a tolerance, needing higher doses to achieve the desired effects.

Amphetamine addiction can have devastating effects on a person’s life. It can lead to physical and mental health problems, strained relationships, financial difficulties, and legal issues. The compulsion to use the drug can consume a person’s thoughts and actions, making it difficult to focus on anything else.

Defining Amphetamine


Amphetamines are a class of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system. They come in various forms, including tablets, capsules, powder, or crystal meth. Common types of amphetamines include methamphetamine, dextroamphetamine, and lisdexamfetamine.

These drugs are known by different street names, such as speed, ice, crank, or Adderall when used for non-medical purposes. They are often abused due to their ability to produce euphoria, increase energy, and suppress appetite.

Amphetamines have a long history of use and abuse. They were first synthesized in the late 19th century and were initially used for medical purposes, such as treating asthma and nasal congestion. However, their potential for abuse became evident, leading to stricter regulations and control.

Are you or your loved one struggling with amphetamine addiction?
We can help

The Science of Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain’s reward system and leads to compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Chronic amphetamine use alters the brain’s chemistry, causing long-lasting changes that make quitting challenging.

Repeated amphetamine use leads to the disruption of dopamine neurotransmission, reducing normal dopamine levels and impairing the brain’s ability to experience a pleasure. This phenomenon drives individuals to continue using amphetamines to achieve pleasure and avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Additionally, amphetamine addiction can have profound effects on the brain’s structure and function. Studies have shown that prolonged amphetamine use can lead to neurotoxicity, damaging neurons and affecting cognitive functions such as memory and decision-making.

Furthermore, amphetamine addiction is often accompanied by co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder. The interplay between substance abuse and mental health can complicate treatment and recovery, requiring a comprehensive approach that addresses both issues simultaneously.

Recovery from amphetamine addiction is possible with the right support and treatment. It often involves a combination of therapy, medication-assisted treatment, support groups, and lifestyle changes. It is crucial for individuals struggling with amphetamine addiction to seek professional help and surround themselves with a strong support system to increase their chances of successful recovery.

The Prevalence of Amphetamine Addiction

Understanding the prevalence of amphetamine addiction is crucial for identifying the scale of the problem and implementing effective prevention and treatment strategies.

Amphetamine addiction is a complex issue that has far-reaching consequences for individuals and communities worldwide. It is a problem that knows no borders, affecting millions of people from all walks of life. To truly grasp the magnitude of this issue, it is important to examine global statistics and understand the demographics most affected.

Global Statistics

Amphetamine addiction is a global issue that affects millions of people. According to the World Drug Report 2020, an estimated 37.9 million people worldwide used amphetamines in 2018, with the majority being methamphetamine users.

These statistics paint a concerning picture of the widespread use and abuse of amphetamines. The prevalence of amphetamine use highlights the need for increased awareness and intervention to combat its harmful effects on individuals and communities.

Amphetamine addiction is not limited to a specific region or country. It transcends geographical boundaries, impacting people from all corners of the globe. From densely populated urban areas to remote rural communities, the grip of amphetamine addiction is felt everywhere.

It is important to note that the statistics mentioned above only represent reported cases and may not fully capture the true extent of the problem. Many individuals struggling with amphetamine addiction go undetected or choose not to seek help, making it challenging to obtain accurate data.

Demographics Most Affected

Amphetamine addiction does not discriminate based on age, gender, or socioeconomic status. However, certain demographics appear to be more at risk.

Young adults, particularly those in their late teens and early twenties, are more likely to experiment with amphetamines. The allure of increased energy, enhanced focus, and heightened euphoria can be enticing to individuals in this age group. However, what starts as experimentation can quickly spiral into addiction, leading to devastating consequences for their physical and mental well-being.

Furthermore, individuals with a history of mental health disorders, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or depression, may be more vulnerable to developing an addiction. Amphetamines, when used without proper medical guidance, can provide temporary relief from symptoms, leading some individuals to self-medicate and inadvertently fall into the trap of addiction.

It is important to recognize that amphetamine addiction can affect anyone, regardless of their background or circumstances. The path to addiction is not always predictable, and individuals from all walks of life can find themselves caught in its grip.

Efforts to combat amphetamine addiction must take into account the unique challenges faced by different demographics. Tailored prevention and treatment strategies that address the specific needs of various groups can contribute to more effective outcomes.

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Use and Addiction


Recognizing the signs and symptoms of amphetamine use and addiction is essential for early intervention and treatment. Amphetamine addiction can manifest in various ways, affecting both physical and psychological well-being.

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of amphetamine addiction may include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, dilated pupils, excessive sweating, and decreased appetite. Additionally, individuals may experience weight loss, sleep disturbances, dental problems, and skin issues.

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms of amphetamine addiction can range from mood swings and irritability to paranoia, anxiety, and hallucinations. Individuals may exhibit signs of agitation, aggression, and lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities.

Furthermore, long-term amphetamine use may contribute to mental health disorders, such as depression and psychosis.

The Impact of Amphetamine Addiction on Health and Lifestyle

Amphetamine addiction takes a significant toll on an individual’s health and overall lifestyle. The short-term and long-term effects of amphetamine use can be devastating.

Short-term Effects

Short-term effects of amphetamine use include increased energy, enhanced concentration, and decreased appetite. However, these effects come with risks such as heightened blood pressure, irregular heart rhythms, and the potential for overdose.

Amphetamine overdose can lead to seizures, stroke, heart attack, and even death. Additionally, impaired judgment and risky behaviors associated with amphetamine use can result in accidents, injuries, or the contraction of sexually transmitted infections.


Long-term Effects

Long-term amphetamine abuse can lead to severe consequences on physical and mental health. Prolonged use may result in cardiovascular damage, including heart disease, heart rhythm abnormalities, and high blood pressure.

Psychologically, long-term amphetamine use can cause persistent psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Socially, addiction can strain relationships, lead to financial difficulties, and hinder academic or professional success.

The Process of Amphetamine Addiction Treatment

While this addiction can be challenging to overcome, treatment options for amphetamine addiction are available to help individuals recover and regain control of their lives.


The first step in addiction treatment is detoxification, which involves removing amphetamines from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms. Medical professionals closely monitor individuals during this process to ensure their safety and well-being.

Detoxification can be accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms, such as fatigue, depression, and intense cravings. However, medical interventions, counseling, and support can help individuals manage these challenges.


group-therapy for-amphetamine-addiction

Rehabilitation plays a crucial role in amphetamine addiction treatment, as it addresses the psychological and behavioral aspects of addiction. Amphetamine addiction rehabilitation programs may involve individual counseling, group therapy, and participation in support groups.

Additionally, behavioral therapy techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), can help individuals identify and modify the thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to their addiction.

Recovery from amphetamine addiction is a lifelong process that requires ongoing support. After completing formal treatment programs, individuals can benefit from aftercare services, such as continued counseling, relapse prevention strategies, and community support groups.

Treat Amphetamine Addiction

Understanding amphetamine addiction and its treatment is vital for addressing this widespread issue effectively. By recognizing the signs and symptoms, understanding the impact on health and lifestyle, and utilizing available treatment options, individuals can overcome amphetamine addiction and lead fulfilling lives in recovery.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is struggling with amphetamine addiction, seek professional help to start the journey toward recovery and a brighter future. 

At Compassion Behavioral Health, we’ll determine the best therapies for each patient’s specific lifestyle and needs. We offer a number of safe, proven therapies for amphetamine addiction. Call us or contact us online to learn more about the best options for you or your loved one today.