Amphetamines, or ‘speed’ are stimulants that alter a person’s central nervous system, inducing a greater sense of concentration that can help treat behavioral disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, whereby a person falls asleep on a regular basis beyond their control.
Amphetamines can be known as ‘smart’ or ‘club drugs’, popular with younger people who are under the impression these drugs are less harmful than more physically addictive, stronger drugs such as heroin. However, chronic use of amphetamines can carry the same level of significant damage to physical and psychological health, as well as damaging general quality of life.
Due to the positive effects of amphetamine use, such as higher energy and elation, these drugs go beyond healthcare use and are widely used in nightclubs and parties. Adderall and Ritalin, usually used to treat behavior disorders are commonly taken as a study aid for people hoping to improve their ability to concentrate on academic or professional work, to meet deadlines. Amphetamines are also sometimes used alongside crash dieting due to their ability to suppress hunger and increase metabolism.
People who take amphetamines to fulfill a particular purpose, such as concentration or weight loss, run the risk of becoming dependent on the drug to achieve their desired effect; becoming entangled in cycle of misuse that can develop into addiction.
Free Addiction Assessment
If you have concerns that you or a loved one may be suffering from an amphetamine addiction, Cornerstone offers a free, confidential and comprehensive addiction assessment. There are many different indicators that a person may be struggling with an amphetamine addiction; it can be a great relief to discuss these with an experienced professional. This assessment provides a safe, non-judgemental space to discuss what options are available and work best for you or your loved one. A highly experienced, a qualified practitioner will go through the assessment with you, with plenty of opportunities to ask any questions you may have.
Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
Cornerstone’s amphetamine addiction treatment program typically consists of an intensive 28 day program which takes place at our treatment center where you will stay, following assessments from both our drug addiction specialists, and psychiatrist. However, we do not set rigid time limits, the duration of your stay will depend entirely on the severity and nature of your addiction and on what commitments and responsibilities you may have.
Amphetamine addiction treatment at Cornerstone is built upon the 12-step addiction treatment model; based on abstinence from the Alcoholics Anonymous organization (AA). This treatment ideology is based on empirical evidence and is customized to each person’s needs and circumstances. The philosophy behind the 12-step program is to focus motivation for recovery beside a set of guiding values and beliefs, challenging addictive and toxic behaviors and thought processes that fuel addiction, underpinned by spiritual influences that teaches both humility and self-worth.
Cornerstone’s amphetamine treatment program consists of:
- A complimentary, optional drug addiction assessment to allow confidential and non-judgemental discussion of any concerns and to learn what treatments are available, and best suited for your needs, based on the information you share
- An optional 7 to 10 day withdrawal detoxification with medical assistance, consisting of evaluation, stabilization and education; following detox anti-craving medications can be administered
- 1 on 1 and structured group therapy programs
- Couples and family therapy
- Information to seek legal support
- Licensed recovery homes for post-treatment
If, for whatever reason you would prefer not to take part in a residential treatment program, we also provide high quality treatment programs for day treatment, or outpatient treatment, depending on your unique needs.
Cornerstone’s amphetamine treatment options can be used either as a first admission point into treatment, or as you begin to reduce the quantity and intensity of treatment for those who have gone through an intensive residential program; this will largely depend on the severity and nature of your addiction and the style of support you feel is necessary
Medically Assisted Detox from Amphetamines
If a person is not able to abstain from taking amphetamines, it is necessary before engaging with a customized treatment program, to complete a medically assisted detoxification program. Support from therapists, psychologists and medical professionals is available around the clock.
It is vital that detoxification is carried out with care; as sudden withdrawal from amphetamines can cause severe complications and, in some circumstances, can be fatal.
This process can last between a few days and a few weeks; dependent on the extent of amphetamine use. The detoxification process can appear to be extremely daunting as the first step, but at Cornerstone you will have the best care possible.
Once the detoxification process is complete, it will then be possible to move onto a specialized, tailored amphetamine addiction treatment program, in order to comprehensively understand the underlying causes and consequences of addiction, reducing the likelihood of relapse and increasing the chances of life-long abstinence.
Drug Counseling for Amphetamine Addiction
Cornerstone provides counseling for amphetamine addiction to help support people to abstain completely from amphetamines, as opposed to cutting down. To achieve this, counseling provides a safe and confidential space to explore the underlying causes for addiction, such as how coping mechanisms were formed and what attracted a person to use the drug initially.
Cornerstone combines one to one psychotherapy, using methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) with group sessions to identify the root of any toxic thought processes that fuel the behaviors which contributed to amphetamine addiction. Both group and one to one therapy works towards building confidence to empower a person to feel able to abstain from amphetamines and move beyond addiction with a positive, healthy outlook.
Treatment is delivered by compassionate, highly trained and experienced drug addiction practitioners, some who have experienced addiction first hand. They provide exceptional support to assist you in your journey through recovery to a future without amphetamines.
Outpatient Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction
If your amphetamine addiction is not severe, Cornerstone can still offer high quality support. For those who would prefer not to engage with an inpatient program, we also provide high quality treatment programs for day treatment/partial hospitalization (PHP) treatment, or intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), depending on your unique needs.
Cornerstone’s amphetamine treatment options can be used either as a first admission point into treatment, or as you begin to reduce the quantity and intensity of treatment for those who have gone through an intensive residential program; this will largely depend on the severity and nature of your addiction and the style of support you feel is necessary.
What is an Amphetamine Addiction?
Amphetamines are illegal stimulant drugs which alter the central nervous system and prompts increased energy, focus and elation. The responses from amphetamines make it an ideal medication for those living with sleep or behavioral disorders like narcolepsy or ADHD, respectively.
However, there are some that use amphetamine’s for non-medical purposes such as weight loss, increased concentration in order to meet multiple deadlines for work or study, which can develop into dependence when they are unable to achieve the same results without amphetamine use, which can easily lead to addiction.
Younger people often call amphetamines ‘study drugs’ or ‘smart drugs’ for their ability to amplify focus and concentration. However research has found that those who use drugs such as Adderall or Ritalin do not outperform those that don’t. Additionally, amphetamines are a popular night-life drug, enabling users to stay awake and become more energetic for longer by accelerating brain functioning. Despite the perceived benefits of amphetamines, the long-term damage they do, vastly outweighs the positives.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction?
Amphetamines are very addictive and dangerous drugs; therefore the process of dependence leading to addiction can be rapid. The significant impact to cognitive functioning which effects a person’s physical appearance and behavior means there are many ways of identifying someone who has taken the drug, such as:
- Noticeable change in personality
- Rapid mood swings
- Suppressed appetite and weight loss
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Inability to focus on academic and professional work
- Difficulty to complete every day tasks and responsibilities
- Heightened heart rate and blood pressure
- Paranoia and anxiety
Chronic amphetamine use over a long period of time can exacerbate both physical and behavioral issues as stated above, such as behavioral issues such as delusions and lack of concentration resulting in social isolation and loss of employment or dropping out of school. Physical symptoms such as heightened heart rate and blood pressure can increase the risk of heart conditions, such as heart failure.
Social Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction
- Ongoing amphetamine use despite being aware of the harmful outcomes from using the drug
- Emerging strains and tensions between the user and their family, friends and partners
- The necessity for long amounts of time to recuperate from amphetamine use
- Acquiring amphetamines from drug dealers rather than through medical professionals
- Neglecting interests that used to be important in favor of amphetamine use
- Stealing or borrowing money for amphetamines, or prioritizing spending on amphetamines over other financial responsibilities
Changes to Brain Structure
Amphetamine addiction has the potential to alter brain structure, lasting much longer than the initial arousal of excitement, energy and euphoria, and as such, it makes amphetamines extremely addictive.
Research has found that if a person’s brain is not able to produce enough natural endorphins that usually occur naturally when we exercise, eat food we like or spend time with loved ones. If it is not possible to feel these naturally, a person is more likely to find another source of these “feel good” chemicals. Additionally, long-term amphetamine use is understood to damage parts of the brain that control the release of dopamine and other pleasure chemicals, resulting in the brain not responding appropriately to situations or things that had used to make us happy, like spending time with friends or family. This exacerbates the cycle of addiction, as it leaves the person feeling that they need to use amphetamines to feel happy or avoid feelings of anxiety or depression when they do not have amphetamines in their system.
What causes amphetamine addiction?
It is generally understood there is no determined cause for amphetamine addiction. However, much research has focused on what could make a person more susceptible to amphetamine addiction than others. Research studies have found that the most likely causes are based in genetic and environmental factors; sometimes known as “nature and nurture”.
If a member of the immediate family has as a history of addiction, or is in active addiction, research has shown that this increases the risk of their children, or close family members developing a drug addiction due to hereditary factors that are aligned with addiction, as opposed to people with no history of addiction in their family. Furthermore, early exposure to addiction can go some way to normalizing addiction, or chronic drug use in response to stressors.
A person might be attracted to taking amphetamines to lose weight or focus on extensive amounts of work, either academically or professionally. This might especially affect younger people, as a way of adhering to unrealistic body types or as a way of managing to fit in a hectic social schedule, as well as managing to keep up with professional or academic commitments.
Taking amphetamines in the short-term can help a person who feels anxious or uncomfortable in social situations to relax and appear more confident. However, this does not offset the high risks for potential long-term physical and psychological damage that amphetamines can cause.
Long-term amphetamine use is understood to damage parts of the brain that control the release of dopamine and other pleasure chemicals, resulting in the brain not responding appropriately to situations or things that had used to make us happy, like spending time with friends or family. This exacerbates the cycle of addiction, as it leaves the person feeling that they need to use amphetamines to feel happy or avoid feelings of anxiety or depression when they do not have amphetamines in their system.
This is a strong indicator that a person has developed or is at high risk of developing a tolerance to amphetamines, which can easily become a dependency or an addiction. Without amphetamines, chronic users are at risk of feeling depressed or suicidal; at this stage it is absolutely vital that you engage with professional drug treatment, if not considerably earlier.