Knowing When It’s Time to Get Amphetamine Addiction Treatment Help
Amphetamines encompass a large group of prescription-based stimulant drugs, some of which include Strattera, Ritalin and Adderall. While these drugs work well as treatments for narcolepsy and ADHD, using them on a recreational basis leaves a person wide open to the addictive potential amphetamines hold.
As powerful stimulant agents, it doesn’t take long before casual amphetamine abuse turns into a full-blown physical dependence, after which amphetamine addiction is soon to come. For these reasons, it’s important to spot signs of amphetamine abuse early on as amphetamine addiction can develop within a short period of time.
From Amphetamine Abuse to Amphetamine Addiction
An amphetamine “high” brings on a surge of energy, enhanced focus and perception as well as feelings of confidence. Over time, these effects cause widespread damage in the brain as growing chemical imbalances and eventual physical dependence start to take root. These conditions not only drive users to keep using the drug, but also demand increasingly larger amounts in order to produce the drug’s desired effects.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, amphetamines also disrupt dopamine production processes in the brain, the primary neurotransmitter involved in brain reward system functions. The reward system ultimately determines a person’s motivations, daily behaviors and routines as well as his or her overall mindset.
Over time, amphetamine effects on dopamine production essentially reconfigure the brain reward system. At this point, amphetamine abuse has evolved into amphetamine addiction.
The chemical imbalances brought on by frequent amphetamine use develop out of damage done to chemical-producing cells in the brain. Amphetamines force these cells to secrete excess amounts of neurotransmitter chemicals, most notably, serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine.
Before long, cells start to undergo wear and tear from overexertion. These conditions give rise to chemical imbalance in terms of cells being unable to produce needed neurotransmitter supplies in the absence of the drug. After a certain point, withdrawal episodes start to develop in response to growing chemical imbalances in the brain.
Withdrawal episodes play a central role in driving amphetamine abuse behaviors as users resort to ongoing drug use in an effort to gain relief from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms to watch out for include:
- Feelings of rage
Compared to other drugs of abuse, amphetamines exert powerful effects, all but draining the brain’s neurotransmitter supplies and in the process causing considerable structural damage to individual cells. Consequently, the brain’s tolerance for amphetamines increases rapidly, driving users to keep ingesting larger drug doses over time.
According to the University of Maryland, regular amphetamines users eventually start to engage in bingeing practices in order to compensate for the brain’s rising tolerance levels. Bingeing entails ingesting multiple doses of the drug in rapid succession. This practice in and of itself greatly increases the rate at which amphetamine addiction develops.
If you or someone you know struggles with abusing amphetamines and have questions about amphetamine addiction, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-605-6597 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.