Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants that speed up your body’s system. The government lists them as Schedule II substances because they have medical uses but also a high potential for addiction. Misusing amphetamines puts you at risk of developing dependency and addiction, exposing you to unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal and the risk of overdose. In addition to these dangers, amphetamine abuse can cause mental and physical health problems such as panic attacks and lowered immunity.
It is against professional medical advice to take amphetamines when you don't have a prescription. They not only pose a danger to your health but can also prevent you from carrying out your job or fulfilling other responsibilities. For this reason, many employers carry out routine drug testing.
If you have tests coming up and are wondering how long do amphetamines stay in your system, it might be time to make a change. With the help of an addiction treatment center offering you medication and therapy, you can stop using this drug, freeing you up to focus on your life.
What Is Amphetamine?
Licensed medical professionals can prescribe drugs containing amphetamine to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It is a major ingredient in ADHD medications such as Adderall XR, Adderall RX, and Dexedrine.
Illicit amphetamine has many different names. A white or pink powder form of the drug, called speed, is sold on the street by dealers who often mix it with other substances such as ground-up paracetamol, sugar, and even laxatives. Methamphetamines are a type of amphetamine sold illicitly as meth and crystal meth.
You may come across illegal amphetamines in pill, powder, or crystal-rock form. You may also encounter prescription medication amphetamines being sold illicitly.
People take amphetamines in several different ways. Injecting, smoking, and snorting are common methods of abuse.
Why Are Amphetamines Addictive?
If you use amphetamines recreationally, you run the risk of addiction. This type of drug abuse can cause changes in your brain chemistry. Amphetamine abuse creates artificial feelings of reward and pleasure by increasing your levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
While this may enhance your mood and make you feel confident and energized, it can derail your brain’s natural reward system. Humans evolved this reward system as an evolutionary way to encourage behaviors beneficial for survival. The reasons we find eating, socializing, positive physical activity, and sex pleasurable are because of this well-balanced system.
Nature equipped our brains to release feel-good chemicals to motivate us to repeat beneficial behaviors. However, amphetamines will trigger your brain’s reward system in a far more potent way than occurs with healthy behaviors.
As amphetamines enter your system, the flood of dopamine and other neurotransmitters gets you high and gives you pleasurable feelings. But each time you experience this, your brain becomes more accustomed to it and begins to take the increased levels of feel-good reward chemicals caused by amphetamine use for granted.
Over time, your brain begins to rely on the drug just to feel normal. Physical and psychological dependence on the amphetamines results and makes it hard for you to stop without suffering withdrawal symptoms.
Amphetamine withdrawal is an unpleasant and uncomfortable experience, making it difficult to free yourself from the substance. If you develop an amphetamine dependency in this way and then attempt to stop using the drug, withdrawal symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and irritability can occur. This is the path that leads to amphetamine addiction.
How Do Amphetamines Affect my Physical Health?
When you take amphetamines illegally, you run substantial health risks. Your pulse rate and blood pressure increase, sleeping patterns are disrupted, your appetite is suppressed, and the drug’s effects can lead to a state of exhaustion.
An amphetamine overdose is a potentially life-threatening event and requires immediate medical attention. If you overdose on amphetamines, you can experience intense agitation, a dangerous increase in your body temperature, hallucinations, and convulsions. If you suspect an overdose has occurred, contact the emergency services urgently.
How Do Amphetamines Affect My Mind?
The mental impact of amphetamines is similar to that of cocaine. However, the onset time is slower than cocaine, and the effects have a longer duration. For example, methamphetamine will stay in your central nervous system for a prolonged period. A high percentage of the drug remains unchanged in your body, producing its stimulant effect for four to 12 hours.
Long-term amphetamine abuse can cause schizophrenia-like psychosis. The drug may cause you to behave in an uncharacteristically erratic or even violent way. With this mental health disorder, you might experience intense paranoia, a preoccupation with your thoughts, visual or auditory hallucinations, and begin picking at your skin.
What Is a Drug Test?
If you are asked to undergo a drug test, it will involve the analysis of biological material taken from your body. This might be urine, blood, hair, or saliva samples. The analysis will determine whether drugs or their metabolites are in your system. Metabolites are substances your body makes or uses when it breaks down certain foods, drugs, or chemicals.
Testing for Amphetamine Substance Abuse
Exactly how long amphetamine will stay in your system varies according to how frequently you use the substance, how much you take, your metabolism and body mass, your age, and your state of health.
Similarly, as prescription amphetamines vary in strength and come in extended-release and immediate-release forms, the detection time is subject to variation.
The nature of the testing kit is also a factor. The US Food and Drug Administration has further information about home testing kits and drugs of abuse testing kits.
However, even with these factors in mind, approximate times for how long amphetamines stay in your system can be given.
How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in My Urine?
A urine test can reveal the presence of amphetamines four to six hours after you take them. Typically, amphetamines continue to be detectable in urine for up to four days. However, if you are a heavy amphetamine user, you may test positive up to a week after taking the drug.
If you take amphetamines every day, their presence is detectable for up to nine days after your last dose.
Typically, the detection time for the following amphetamine-type stimulants in urine is:
- Amphetamine—three days
- Ephedrine/pseudoephedrine—five days
- Methamphetamine—three to seven days
- 3,4-Methylenedioxyamphetamine (MDA)—two days
- 3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA)—two days
If you are taking other over-the-counter or prescription medications, it’s possible that a false positive result will be indicated by an amphetamine urine test. The following forms of medication can lead to false positive results:
- Cold remedies
- Nasal inhalers
- Some forms of anti-depressant medication
How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in My Blood?
Blood tests for amphetamines are subject to the same variables as urine tests. On average, amphetamine is detectable in blood for up to 48 hours. This time depends on the dose taken and the speed of your metabolism.
However, typically, methamphetamine stays in your plasma for up to six hours, while amphetamine salts and dextroamphetamine remain in your blood for about 60 hours. Amphetamines are detectable for more extended periods if you have a slow metabolism.
Blood tests can distinguish prescription amphetamines used as directed by a physician from street amphetamines and prescription amphetamines taken in excess.
How Long Do Amphetamines Stay in My Hair?
Amphetamine passes from your bloodstream into your hair follicles and becomes detectable from seven to 10 days after you take the substance.
The length and color of your hair influence the period of time in which amphetamine remains detectable to hair tests. Longer, darker hair holds a higher concentration of the substance. However, typically, hair tests can reveal the presence of amphetamine for up to 90 days after your last dose.
While considered the most reliable form of amphetamine detection, a hair test is unlikely to reveal very recent or occasional use of the drug. In addition to length and color, your hair structure, rate of growth, cleanliness, and any hair cosmetics used can influence the detectable concentration of amphetamine.
How Long Does Amphetamine Stay in My Saliva?
An oral fluid test is typically performed with a swab or pad. Usually, this form of testing will detect amphetamines in your saliva from 24 to 48 hours after you take the substance, and it remains detectable for approximately 60 hours. Methamphetamine is, on average, measurable for 55 hours in saliva.
Some organizations favor saliva tests for amphetamines because:
- Saliva tests are easy to collect
- Saliva tests are noninvasive
- A saliva test can detect the parent drug’s presence rather than the metabolites it creates
- In some cases, a saliva test will reveal same-day use
Free Yourself From Amphetamine Use at Cornerstone
At Cornerstone in Southern California, we offer detoxification, primary residential care, extended care, day treatment, day or evening outpatient programs, and licensed recovery homes.
Our professional team understands addiction’s complex nature and the inherent challenges in building a life free from amphetamine abuse. We know that, just as you are a unique individual, so too is your addiction. So we tailor our treatment to match your specific needs.
Your first step in overcoming amphetamine addiction is a detox program to flush amphetamines out of your system. By making your detox process as comfortable as possible, we put you on the best path to sustainable recovery. This will be followed by therapy to help you understand why you developed a drug problem and how you can stay sober in the future.
At our community-focused center, we’ve built an environment where long-term recovery is the goal. To get back to your best self, contact us today. Your new, amphetamine-free life begins at Cornerstone.