Amphetamine use is one of the fastest growing problems in the United States. Amphetamines are prescribed for a variety of purposes such as treating obesity, attention deficit disorders, and narcolepsy, but, their lure for the euphoria and the enhanced senses they produce are desirable to many.
While amphetamine medications are truly beneficial to those who have legitimate conditions for which they are prescribed, the abuse potential is high and abuse by others is soaring. There is an overall assumption that these drugs can be safe to use and a major concern is with the increased access and diversions of ADHD medications such as Adderall and Ritalin.
The following are 15 signs of amphetamine use you shouldn’t ignore:
1. Amphetamine Tolerance
Amphetamine tolerance development is the first recognizable sign of a dependency in progress. As the tolerance increases, it will be necessary to consume more amphetamine amounts to elicit the desired effects.
2. Using Amphetamines in Alternative Ways
Amphetamines are generally prescribed to be taken orally and it shouldn’t be ignored if they are being taken by crushing and snorting or injecting the medications. These methods of amphetamine abuse cause more rapid responses to the chemical effects and pose the most serious complications to health including overdose and death.
3. Using Amphetamines to Get “High”
Taking amphetamines to get “high” or to produce other pleasurable effects is a major concern. Repeat episodes can lead to dependence and addiction.
4. Use of Amphetamines by Someone Other Than Intended
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 9% of the children in the U.S. and 4.1% of the adult population are affected by ADHD. These individuals do not typically suffer adverse effects, but, use of amphetamines by someone other than intended has high risk potentials.
5. Amphetamine Dependence
Amphetamine dependence is a result of adaptations to the presence of amphetamines and users will go into withdrawal if the usage is ceased. Amphetamine withdrawal can be physically and psychologically painful with some users suffering extreme depression and dysphoric symptoms for extended durations.
6. Changing Associates to Other Amphetamine Users
Seeking, obtaining, and using amphetamines means knowing how and where to get the drugs and often requires changes in associates to stay informed. This adverse behavior perpetuates more abuse when those they are with are doing the same things.
7. Running Out of Medications Early
Taking more amphetamine than prescribed or more often results in running out of the medications early and the user may have to suffer withdrawals or find the amphetamines elsewhere.
8. Sharing Amphetamines
According to a special DEA report on ADD/ADHD stimulant prescriptions dispensed nationally, there was an increase of 39% between the years of 2007 (34.8 million) and 2011 (48.4 million). Many of these medications are diverted to others and shared under the assumption that these drugs can be safe to use by anyone, but, nothing could be further from the truth.
9. Unusual Sleep Patterns
“Binge” and “crash” patterns of amphetamine use should not be ignored. Users who stay up extended periods of time and sleep excessively afterwards are into some very problematic use which can have long term consequences on their health.
10. Social Isolation
Isolation from family and friends or loss of interest in social activities should not be ignored. This may be a sign of depression, shame, guilt, or other adverse mental health disorders caused or exacerbated by amphetamine use including suicidal ideations and tendencies.
11. Aggressive and Violent Tendencies
Amphetamine use can lead to a series of problematic behaviors as the person loses their ability control themselves. They may exhibit unexplainable and unreasonable outbursts of anger and frustration at the most minor incidences and unexpected mood swings that are out of “norm”.
12. Mental Health Problems
Amphetamines can cause both functional and structural damages to the brain and central nervous system leading to emotional instability, cognitive deficits, panic, anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, and psychosis. None of these signs should be ignored and professional help should be sought.
13. Physical Health Problems
Amphetamine users often exhibit dangerous signs of use in their physical health such as:
- Exhaustion and weakness
- Motor functioning loss
- Excessive sweating
- Extreme weight loss
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Cardiovascular problems including increased heart rate and blood pressure, arrhythmias and other irregularities, cardiovascular diseases, or even cardiac arrest
- Circulatory systems can be damaged leading to stroke and seizures
- Respiratory problems including shortness of breath, infections, and other breathing difficulties
- Chest pains and pains in extremities can be signs of overdose
- Renal problems and bladder diseases
- Track marks if injecting and nasal problems if snorting
- Infections including bacterial infections at injection sites
14. Cognitive Problems
Ironically, amphetamines can cause cognitive impairments such as attention deficits and memory loss – the opposite of the enhancing effects that are obtained by those who have attention deficit disorders and use the medications to focus. Other users may initially gain benefits of clarity and focus, but, over time, the functional and structural damages can result in permanent cognitive problems.
15. Amphetamine Psychosis
Auditory, visual, and tactile hallucinations, paranoia, panic attacks, extreme agitation or anxiety, excited delirium, schizophrenic-like behaviors, and suicidal or harmful tendencies require immediate medical attention to prevent the user from harming themselves or others.
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