Amphetamine Addiction: Symptoms & Treatment for Amphetamine Abuse

Amphetamines—a class of stimulants—work by activating the brain’s dopamine reward system. These drugs stimulate the central nervous system, causing the brain to create more of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This increase in dopamine levels in the brain causes euphoric feelings. The common street names of these drugs include speed, beans, bennies, and uppers.

People who consume stimulants experience increased energy and the feeling that they can do anything, as speed provides them the ability to stay awake for long periods of time without needing to sleep. In addition, when using these stimulants, a person may lose their appetite, which can lead to weight loss if the stimulant abuse continues.

Although the initial effects of amphetamine use are pleasurable, the crash that follows leaves you exhausted and irritable. The body quickly develops a tolerance to amphetamines, causing you to increase the dosage to retain the initial desired effects. Tolerance is followed by psychological and physical dependence and amphetamine addiction. If the drug is not supplied on a regular basis, the brain’s pleasure centers will crave it. These cravings can be hard to resist. Fear of crashing and withdrawal symptoms are what keep people coming back for more despite the negative effects.

Treatment Services

For many individuals facing amphetamine addiction, the most difficult step on the road to recovery is to admit that you have a problem and decide to make a change.

Once you have committed to starting your recovery journey, it is time to explore your treatment options. Despite the fact that addiction treatment might vary from person to person, a good program often involves the following:

  • Medical amphetamine detox is typically the first step to ridding the body of drugs and managing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Behavioral counseling, individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy can assist you in identifying the underlying causes of your drug use, repairing your relationships, and developing healthy coping skills.
  • Medication may be used to control withdrawal symptoms, prevent relapse, or treat any co-occurring mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression.
  • Long-term residential treatment for amphetamine abuse can help in preventing relapse and maintain recovery. This may involve a residential treatment stay as well as in-person support groups in order to stay on track with sobriety.

At The Haven Detox, our highly skilled addiction treatment specialists can provide specialized amphetamine addiction treatment, counseling, and support, enabling you to overcome your addiction symptoms and cravings and take steps toward a long-lasting recovery. Learn more about our treatments for amphetamine addiction by calling (856) 565-3102.

Symptoms of Amphetamine Abuse

The symptoms of amphetamine addiction vary from person to person and depend on the amount of amphetamine used, the frequency of usage, and the type of amphetamine being abused. The following are the signs and symptoms that indicate that you or someone you know may have a problem with amphetamine abuse.

Psychological Symptoms

  • Stress
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t real)
  • Loss of inhibitions, leading to risky behavior
  • Worsening of any existing mental illness
  • Anxiety
  • Inability to focus or concentrate on anything
  • Difficulties in problem-solving
  • Euphoria
  • Hostility and aggressiveness
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Depression
  • Increased self-confidence
  • Impaired judgment

Behavioral and Social Symptoms

  • Social isolation
  • Regular use of amphetamines in everyday life
  • Relationship issues
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Continuing to use amphetamines even after suffering its negative effects
  • Feeling as though you want to quit taking amphetamine but finding that you are unable to
  • Spending a good amount of time obtaining and using amphetamines
  • Prioritizing taking amphetamines than engaging in activities that you once enjoyed
  • Being defensive and secretive about your use of amphetamines
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Finding that you only tend to socialize with people who take amphetamines or other drugs
  • Loved ones have noticed sudden changes in your behaviors and appearance

Physical Symptoms

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased body temperature
  • Muscle cramps and tension
  • Feeling faint and dizzy
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Palpitations and heart arrhythmia
  • Faster breathing
  • Insomnia
  • Increased energy
  • weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures
When to Seek Treatment…

About 8.6 percent of the population needs treatment for drug or alcohol-related problems. However, only a small percentage of these individuals actually receive treatment. Whether it’s out of shame, a belief that substance abuse isn’t “that bad,” or for any other reason to not seek help, many people wait until the addiction has affected their lives in a nearly irreversible way.

If you are at a point where you believe you may need professional help but are unsure, consider the following signs. These signs may prompt you to see a counselor sooner rather than later.

  • You’ve developed a tolerance to amphetamine
  • You’ve stopped doing things you once enjoyed doing, such as participating in hobbies or sports
  • Your amphetamine use is hurting you, but you continue using it anyway
  • Your life revolves around acquiring and using amphetamine
  • You face withdrawal symptoms when you stop using amphetamine
  • You feel powerless over your amphetamine use or feel that you’ve lost control

Get the evidence-based and confidential treatment services you deserve at The Haven Detox-New Jersey before the consequences become severe by calling (856) 565-3102.

If a Loved One Needs Help…

When watching a loved one face amphetamine addiction, it can be difficult to know exactly how to help them or if it is even possible to help them. You want to do everything you can to turn them back to being the loving, vibrant person they were before their addiction took over their brain chemistry, but it’s normal to feel powerless and unsure of where to start.

Here are some ways you can help your loved one get professional treatment for their addiction:

  • Start a conversation.
  • Express your concerns honestly.
  • Listen to their side of the story.
  • Offer them valuable information about how they can address their addiction problem.
  • Be prepared for denial.
  • Do not try to lecture, threaten, bribe, or punish your loved one.
  • Don’t expect a single conversation to fix the problem.

For advice or to discuss the situation with a professional, call The Haven Detox-New Jersey at (856) 565-3102.

Causes of Amphetamine Addiction

There are several factors that play a role in the development of a substance use disorder (SUD). The causes of amphetamine addiction are listed below.

Biological Factors

Addiction typically runs in families. Individuals with a genetic vulnerability to substance use disorder are more prone to get addicted to amphetamines. A person with a family history of addiction is also at higher risk for developing the disorder. Brain chemistry is an additional biological cause of amphetamine dependence, as structural and functional brain abnormalities may cause the condition.

Psychological Factors

Substance use is related to the inability to effectively manage unpleasant emotions. An individual may abuse amphetamines to treat mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia.

Social Factors

A dysfunctional or unstable upbringing raises the chance of developing an addiction later in life. Additionally, growing up with a family member who uses amphetamines can lead to future amphetamine use, creating a new pattern of addiction in the family.

Risk Factors

There are specific risk factors related to the development of stimulant use disorder. Below are the risk factors for amphetamine addiction.

Easy Access to Amphetamines

Easy access to amphetamines is a crucial factor in the development of addiction. Easier access can come in the form of prescriptions. As a person becomes dependent on amphetamines, they may begin taking the prescription drugs in a manner not prescribed by their doctor. The drug may also be abused without a prescription or through off-label usage.

Underlying Psychiatric Issues

Mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar illness increase the likelihood of developing amphetamine dependence. Combining these psychological disorders with the condition that requires amphetamines can lead to amphetamine abuse as a coping mechanism for negative feelings.

Chronic Stress

A person’s vulnerability to amphetamine addiction might be increased by stress. Stress can induce brain changes similar to those induced by addictive drugs, suggesting that individuals with high stress levels may be more prone to amphetamine abuse.

Effects of Amphetamine Abuse

Sometimes, amphetamines can cause side effects or reactions beyond their prescribed uses. Such side effects are the reason why some individuals abuse these drugs.

Reduced Drowsiness

In addition to increasing energy, amphetamines can inhibit the onset of drowsiness and sleep. This is one of the reasons why amphetamine use is popular among people who need to stay up when they would normally be sleeping, such as night-shift workers and long-distance truck drivers.

It is also tempting to party goers who wish to stay awake or alert at night for recreational purposes, such as dancing till dawn at clubs or raves. Frequent use of amphetamines or substances with similar effects can lead to severe sleep deprivation. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), sleep deprivation can promote impulsivity and drug use by affecting the body’s dopamine receptors.

Decreased Mental Performance

Unfortunately, sleep disruption can become troublesome when amphetamines are used for a lengthy period of time and during typical sleeping hours. Sometimes, students use speed to prepare for tests. Despite their ability to improve energy and concentration, amphetamines significantly influence cognitive processing and can actually decrease mental function.

Rapid Speech

Pressured speech, or a tendency to talk rapidly, can sometimes be a sign of mental health issues such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, it is also often related to the use of amphetamines and other drugs.

While people who take amphetamines often assume that speed enhances their social and cognitive skills, research indicates that amphetamines increase speaking speed at the expense of accuracy. At times, amphetamine-affected individuals can be socially irritating. Due to their inability to listen to others, individuals may engage in excessive babbling and have difficulty holding normal conversations.

Mood Swings and Anxiety

Perhaps the most persuasive reason people give for using amphetamines is the temporarily elevated mood they often experience. If you’re already feeling depressed, amphetamines are not a smart option because coming down from this elevated mood often creates a “crash” and an increase in depressive feelings.

There is also the possibility that taking amphetamines when you are in a bad mood can make you more irritated or worried. Sometimes, amphetamines can cause persistent chronic fatigue and paranoid or delusional thinking.

Nutritional Deficiencies

Amphetamines can reduce appetite. Long-term amphetamine use makes people more prone to malnutrition and nutritional deficits. Because their body lacks the nutrients it needs to maintain a strong immune system, individuals are also vulnerable to illness.


Abuse of amphetamines over time can result in psychosis. This condition is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Repetitive thoughts
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Skin picking

Those who abuse amphetamines continuously may exhibit unpredictable or bizarre behavior as well as aggressive behavior. People may also have suicidal ideation and depression as a result of chronic amphetamine abuse.

Higher Risk for Medical Conditions

People who abuse amphetamines via injection are at a greater risk of developing IV-related medical issues. Hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV are examples. They are also at increased risk for endocarditis, a potentially fatal heart infection.