The abuse of amphetamines has risen to become one of the major issues affecting the United States today. Sold under popular brand names like Adderall, Dexedrine, Ritalin, Methylin, and Concerta, they also come in a slew of illegal forms that are used recreationally. The development and availability of illicit street drugs have only compounded the challenge of regulating the distribution of what should be controlled substances.
Here are a few facts that underscore the gravity of the issue:
As much as nine percent of all drug-related hospital admissions were related to methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse.
At 7.5 percent, Adderall use among high school seniors is among the highest. This statistic represents medication that was acquired legitimately and illegitimately.
The use of amphetamines more than doubled between 2006 and 2016.
If you think you may be part of this problem or know someone who might be, knowing about amphetamines and how they affect us will allow you to recognize and respond to amphetamine addiction.
In this article, we talk about what they are, what they do, what amphetamine addiction is, and what you can do about it.
What Are Amphetamines?
Amphetamines belong to the family of psychostimulant drugs. They speed up the signals that are being transmitted between your body and brain.
Doctors typically prescribe this drug for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy for people with an uncontrollable urge to sleep, obesity, and Parkinson’s disease. Many amphetamine abusers use Adderall, one of the amphetamine types that’s formulated for narcolepsy and ADHD.
Lately, this drug is being incorporated into various performance enhancement drugs as well.
Amphetamines as a Street Drug
Amphetamines are available in powder, crystal, capsule, and different-sized tablets. If you get it illegally from the streets, it will be packaged in aluminum foil, a small balloon, or in plastic bags.
To use it, amphetamines can be dabbed into the gums, swallowed, snorted, injected into a vein, and even smoked.
So far, crystal methamphetamine or ice is the most potent of all amphetamines.
Illegally manufactured amphetamines can be a mixture of different components like binding agents, sugar, and caffeine. Today, the latest psychoactive substances are also mixed in with them to make them more potent.
There are no distinct colors for amphetamines. They can come in white, brown, and sometimes traces of pink and gray. You’ll know it by its powerful odor and unpleasant taste.
Amphetamines are known by a variety of street names which include uppers, up, speed, goey, louee, rack, leopard’s blood, kiddie-speed, red speed, and whiz.
Since amphetamines are stimulants, this drug makes you more active and alert. Due to this desirable effect, it’s often used by people to stay awake on the job or to study for an exam.
There are also those who use amphetamines to improve their athletic performance.
In addition to these brain-boosting effects, amphetamines also encourage your brain to produce dopamine.
Dopamine is often referred to as the brain’s “feel-good” hormone. It directly impacts your mood, movement, and thinking.
Because of this, you can expect pleasurable side effects from taking amphetamines that include:
- Euphoria or sudden joy
- Lowered inhibitions similar to drunkenness
- Feeling more confident and assured
- Feeling of clarity on all thoughts and problems
- Desire to be more sociable
- Heightened energy
- Instant ‘go-getter’ attitude
These side effects are almost instant. The high and sense of gratification your feel are affected by the way amphetamines are administered.
- Smoking and injecting amphetamines provides an immediate and intense rush that can last for a few minutes.
- Snorting allows you to experience your high in three to five minutes. The effect is not as intense as inhalation and intravenous injection, but the effects linger for up to 30 minutes.
- When taken orally, you can experience euphoria after 20 minutes. This method gives you the longest-lasting side effects.
Negative Effects of Amphetamine
Despite its feel-good and seemingly beneficial effects, amphetamines have adverse side effects on your body. These include:
- Feeling flushed
- High body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of appetite
- Memory loss or lapses in memory
- Mood swings
- Skin sores
- Sleep problems
- Tooth decay
- Weight loss
Additionally, there’s a chance that you might become infected with Hepatitis B, C, or HIV if you take amphetamines intravenously. During your heightened moments or in the urgency to get high, sharing needles is a common and dangerous practice.
Pregnant women risk giving their babies congenital defects by taking amphetamines.
Getting addicted and being dependent on amphetamines only happen when you abuse and misuse your prescription. You’re at risk for addiction when you start increasing your dose on your own and taking it more often than your doctor ordered.
Addiction and tolerance go hand-in-hand. Tolerance is a condition where your body starts becoming desensitized to the drug so you have the urge to take more to feel its effects.
As a result, your mind and body become dependent on amphetamines to the point that they can’t function properly without them.
Amphetamine/Adderall Withdrawal Symptoms
Can you withdraw from Adderall or amphetamines? When your body and brain don’t get their amphetamine supply, you can experience signs of Adderall withdrawal and your body goes into metabolic shock.
This is a period when your body and brain are in protest and experience a craving for the drug. The side effects of stopping Adderall or amphetamines involve physical and psychological withdrawal of varying severity that can last for months at a time.
If not managed correctly, it may lead to psychological disorders and even mental illnesses.
When your body accepts one substance – in this case, amphetamines – as part of its daily process, discontinuing it disrupts your system. One of the side effects of Adderall withdrawal is your brain goes into shock. With time and consistent effort, it will learn to re-adapt, but the process is usually difficult and frustrating.
Additionally, prolonged use of amphetamines leads to spikes in epinephrine and norepinephrine (the hormones responsible for our fight-or-flight response) and your body gets used to their massive amounts.
Upon stopping Adderall or the ingestion of amphetamines, these hormones decrease and the body needs to adjust and recalibrate to function normally.
Here are some of the amphetamine or Adderall withdrawal symptoms that you can expect after stopping intake.
Signs of Adderall Withdrawal
- Body pains
- Uncontrollable craving for amphetamines
- Increased appetite
- Loss of appetite
- Slower movements and longer reaction times
- Uncontrollable twitches
- Vivid nightmares
An amphetamine detox is a process where you allow your body to naturally rid itself of the drug.
Who needs amphetamine detox? How do you know if you need to detox from amphetamines?
Essentially, everyone who is addicted to amphetamines and can’t function normally without them needs an amphetamine detox. If you also find yourself taking increasing doses of amphetamines without a doctor’s recommendation, you should consider detoxing.
Unfortunately, an amphetamine detox takes longer than detoxing from other stimulants because amphetamines stay in your central nervous system longer.
How Long Does Adderall Withdrawal Last?
Amphetamines have a longer half-life than other substances so detoxification and withdrawal symptoms last longer.
When you stop taking amphetamines, withdrawal symptoms may not start showing until one to two days later.
Some people can complete detoxing in a week, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the end of their journey to recovery.
The Amphetamine Detox Timeline
How long you experience withdrawal symptoms depends on factors like your overall physical wellness, personal habits, how long you’ve been taking amphetamines, and the amounts you are taking.
Intravenous amphetamine users can complete the detox in five days while those who ingest or snort the substance will need more time.
To give you an idea, here is a typical Adderall withdrawal timeline:
First 1 to 2 Days
Your brain and body are in shock due to the sudden loss of amphetamines. As a result, you may experience any of these withdrawal symptoms:
- Body aches
- Extreme cravings
- Increased appetite
The Next 3 to 5 Days
Days 3 to 5 are the most challenging but the good news is, your brain is slowly adjusting to functioning without the drug.
Any or all of your withdrawal symptoms are heightened.
- Impaired social functioning
- Intense exhaustion
- Loss of interest in daily routine
- Severe drug cravings
After 5 Days
Your amphetamine detox is almost over now. Though you’ll still feel some amphetamine detox symptoms, they’re reasonably manageable. The worst is over at this point.
- Constant drug cravings
- Mood swings
Medical Amphetamine Detox
In a medical detox for amphetamines, your doctor may give you amphetamine detox medication or Adderall withdrawal supplements to help you manage your stimulant withdrawal symptoms.
The detoxification process, timeline, and the prescribed amphetamine detox supplements are personally tailored to make withdrawal symptoms more manageable until your body is free of amphetamines.
Part of the amphetamine detox protocol involves close monitoring to ensure that you don’t trade in one addiction for another.
This process is clinically proven to be the safest form of amphetamine or Adderall detox so far and takes one to two weeks.
The best thing about a medical detox is having access to a highly trained medical team 24/7.
Accepting a medical amphetamine detox treatment is a good move and provides you with two options. Each has its pros and cons. It is entirely up to you to decide which fits you better.
Quitting your addiction without any medical supervision is a bold move. You may feel like you have what it takes to make it happen at the beginning, but your home environment and setup can cause some serious issues.
Here are the dangers of detoxing from amphetamines at home:
- Zero medical supervision can be life-threatening if nobody can provide you with immediate assistance during extreme amphetamine withdrawal.
- Coexisting psychological issues that impact your amphetamine dependencies will not be addressed.
- You won’t have access to prescription drugs that can help you manage amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.
- Although being at home may be more comfortable, it’s easier to fall back on old and harmful habits that include amphetamine use.
- It can be challenging to deal with detox-related challenges when confronted with existing issues surrounding your family, work, school, and relationships.
- If your stimulant withdrawal symptoms are severe, they can make it difficult for you to function normally. This can put a strain on relationships, your job, and other things.
- The emotional challenge of going through the process on your own can trigger or add to withdrawal-related depression.
Joining an inpatient rehab facility for detox and recovery is one of the best decisions you can make.
Detoxification is rigorous as well as physically and mentally draining. The level and quality of the support you receive at this crucial time can significantly affect your recovery.
Aside from having medical supervision, you also have to consider aftercare upon completing detox.
Allowing your body to get rid of amphetamines isn’t the end of your recovery. You also need to stay off the drug and ensure that you don’t relapse. This involves addressing the issues that led to amphetamine abuse in the first place.
Here are some reasons why you should consider an inpatient and private detox facility:
- You’ll have round-the-clock support from specially trained medical staff for amphetamine withdrawal treatment.
- Amphetamine detox centers create an environment that is specifically designed to help you with your recovery. Their therapeutic environments can provide you with a safe bubble while inside that allow you to focus on getting better.
- In a private detox facility, you’re able to address the psychological component of your addiction. There are trained counselors, therapists, and doctors who can help you learn from your past and avoid relapses in the future.
- There are holistic wellness programs offered in a private detox facility. These can range from yoga to meditation, group sessions, and one-on-one conversations. All of these are directed at helping you identify dangerous triggers and helping you learn new coping mechanisms.
- You get a personalized treatment plan that was specifically tailored to meet your needs.
Life After Detox and Rehab
Completing your detox and living through its withdrawal symptoms is something to celebrate. Not everyone can do the entire process successfully.
However, you have another challenging road ahead because your priority shifts to staying sober instead of just living through withdrawal. Being drug-free is a lifetime process and a result of making the right choice over and over.
Unfortunately, many relapse within three to six months of rejoining society. It’s therefore essential that you have a plan for aftercare and guidance.
Here are some ways to receive aftercare support:
A therapist can help you understand the underlying factors behind your drug dependence. Some examples of factors that can lead to drug abuse are the amount of stress you’re facing and insecurities in yourself and your relationships.
Knowing these triggers is essential for your complete recovery because it allows you to avoid these stressors and manage them better.
Your therapist may introduce cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) so you can clearly understand the relationship between your drug dependence and its causes.
Another method that therapists use is biofeedback and meditations. These two encourage you to relax and tune in to yourself. Both are effective outlets for letting go of negativity.
For accountability, it’s essential that you see your mental health professional regularly.
Regular check-ups are a way to monitor your progress and setbacks. In the beginning, it’s best to see your doctor at least once a month, but this can gradually become less frequent and get reduced to quarterly consultations.
Remember that being done with your amphetamine detox diet doesn’t mean that you’ll never experience unexpected cravings for amphetamines or Adderall. You will. These nasty surprises should be shared with your doctor so you can be taught coping mechanisms for when such cravings are at their worst.
Join Support Groups
Highly recommended support groups are those that practice the 12-Steps Program and Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART) methodologies.
You’ll be surprised by the amount of support and guidance these groups can give you.
It’s also comforting to know that you’re not alone in your struggles. Other people are going through the same thing. It’s cathartic to share and hear about other people’s stories.
Being part of a support group can also help motivate and inspire you when you see how other survivors are living better and substance-free lives.
A Final Note on Amphetamine Detox
Maybe you weren’t aware of what you were getting into when you took your first dose, or maybe you did, and you were just doing it to pass an exam, to get by at work, or to be a better athlete. Whatever your reason for getting involved with amphetamines, you can make a better choice starting today.
Although amphetamine withdrawal is uncomfortable and often frustrating, Divine Detox forms an excellent option for medically supervised care, with an experienced team that’s helped many people through similar circumstances. Don’t let your reservations hold you back, call the compassionate team at Divine today and begin your journey to recovery!