Amphetamine Addiction

Table of Contents

Amphetamines are street drugs, like MDMA and methamphetamine or crystal meth. They’re also prescription drugs, like Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta, and Vyvanse. Because amphetamines as a category of drug run the gamut, they’re known as one of the most commonly used and abused drugs worldwide. Amphetamines have a high dependence inducing profile, meaning they are very psychologically addictive when taken. Furthermore, when taken regularly these drugs induce withdrawal symptoms and can even be deadly for users. Plus, they have a deleterious effect on the mind, meaning they can cause people to lose memories. But, what is amphetamine, and why is it so addictive?


What are Amphetamines?

Amphetamines are often prescribed as a treatment for narcolepsy, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Adderall and ritalin are commonly prescribed amphetamines. On the other hand, amphetamines are found in street drugs like methamphetamine. These drugs are commonly used to enhance performance. Also, people take these drugs at parties and club scenes in order to feel relaxed and happy. People say that amphetamine use helps them have a good time and cut loose. The effect these drugs have on the mind is influential. Amphetamines can make a person feel inflated. It can cause a person to participate in risky activities, like driving under the influence or promiscuity. Over time, these drugs have a horrific effect on users. They can cause depression, anxiety and other physical health issues. People have lost their hair due to long term use. Long term use has also led to tooth decay, damage to the gastrointestinal system and organs. It may also lead to organ failure. 

If you believe that yourself or a loved one is addicted to amphetamines, getting help now is essential. Amphetamine use or abuse of any kind can be detrimental to a person’s health and wellbeing. That’s why acting immediately is of the utmost importance.

What are the Symptoms of Amphetamine Use?

Understanding the symptoms of amphetamine addiction is crucial to understanding how to beat addiction and get back to life. If you believe that yourself or a loved one is addicted, look out for these signs. With increased exposure to the drug, the symptoms listed below may get worse. For example, long term exposure could cause a user to experience seizures, hallucinations, delusions, and more. The same is true during the withdrawal process. Withdrawal is always worse for someone that has been using it regularly for a longer period of time.


Signs and Symptoms of Use

An individual currently using and/or abusing Amphetamine may show the following mental signs of use:

  • Increased energy 
  • Increased self-confidence 
  • Agitation 
  • Anger
  • Manic behavior 
  • Odd behavior
  • Paranoia 

An individual currently using and/or abusing Amphetamine may show the following physical signs of use:

  • Elevated heart rate 
  • Irritability
  • Shakiness  
  • Sweating
  • Clenching of the jaw
  • Insomnia 
  • Tremors 
  • Seizures 

An individual using and/or abusing Amphetamine in the long term may show the following signs of use:

  • Rapid weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleeplessness/Change in sleeping pattern 
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis 
  • Tics
  • Hallucinations 
  • Delusions 
  • Emotional deterioration 
  • Sensory blunting 
  • Sadness 
  • Depression 
  • Jerky movements 
  • A change in personality

What are the Symptoms of Amphetamine Withdrawal?

Withdrawal from amphetamine can be difficult and painful.The withdrawal timeline is marked by a crash period that lasts from 3 to 10 days. It can be longer if the individual used slow-release amphetamines. A crash occurs because amphetamines interact with the brain’s dopamine levels. The brain’s dopamine and GABA receptors are suddenly not being flooded with drugs and the receptors go haywire as a result. This causes flu-like symptoms, depression, and anxiety – maybe even hallucinations and delirium, based on the length of use. A risk of seizures is also possible during the withdrawal period. Emotional blunting can happen during the crash period. This happens when a person experiences very little happiness as the brain readapts to life without amphetamines. The brain needs to heal in order to get back. 


An individual going through Amphetamine withdrawal may show the following signs:

  • Depression 
  • Extreme Sadness
  • Emotional Blunting 
  • Anxiety attacks/panic attacks
  • Cravings 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Headaches 
  • Insomnia/trouble sleeping 
  • Irritability
  • Anger 
  • Outbursts 
  • Mood swings

Amphetamine Withdrawal Timeline

Days 1 to 10 – The first ten days of withdrawal are marked by intense feelings of sadness, depression and anxiety. This ten day period is also called the crash period. It’s a time when the stimulant wears off and the user is tired, sleepy, and exhausted. At this point, the user is at an increased risk of suicide. This time can be incredibly traumatic. Withdrawal is often a time of suicidal ideation, depression, and severe fatigue. During this time the brain is working to readapt to normal life and normal levels of dopamine and GABA. 

Days 10 to 24 – Amphetamine withdrawal occurs in spurts. Symptoms arrive in a plateau. Suddenly, the user has more energy, but that energy manifests itself in unhealthy ways. Users may experience cravings, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations at this time. 

Weeks 3 to 8 – Amphetamine withdrawal can be long and drawn out. It can last from two weeks all the way to two months or more. It is always advisable to undergo withdrawal in the comfort of a professional therapeutic environment. While withdrawal isn’t directly dangerous, the user may feel intense depression, anxiety and fatigue. Of course, these symptoms are deadly and dangerous on their own, but when you combine them with the other symptoms of withdrawal this is especially worrisome.


Long time Use

In cases of extended use, Amphetamine withdrawal can cause emotional blunting, which is a very serious period in early withdrawal marked by no feelings at all. The person doesn’t have emotions. They can’t be happy, surprised, or excited. This time can be very difficult for people and that’s why we always say withdrawal needs to be done in a facility under the care and direction of professionals.

What are the Phases of Amphetamine Addiction Treatment?

Treatment for Amphetamine addiction follows the following phases: 

  1. Detox – Treatment begins with a detox. This is the period when the brain’s dopamine and GABA receptors are getting used to life without drugs. 
  2. Residential Inpatient – Next, Amphetamine treatment includes living at a facility and participating in therapy, group sessions, and workshops.
  3. Outpatient – Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Outpatient treatment are the next phase of treatment for Amphetamine addiction. They are marked by therapeutic sessions in one’s own living environment. 
  4. Sober Living – Finally, sober living and aftercare help a person in the final phase of their recovery from Amphetamine. Here they’ll learn to live and work with other people.

Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

Treating addiction to Amphetamine is unique. With amphetamines, the detox period begins with a three to ten day period of intense lethargy. Next, the user will feel almost nothing. This process is called emotional blunting. After the detox period is over, the user is in need of treatment. They’ll go for individual counseling, behavioral therapy, and training. Therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and group counseling are also used. While in treatment, the person will learn important skills, like mindfulness, how to cope with trauma, relapse prevention, and stress management.

Virtual Treatment Center: Who Are We?

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.


Send Us a Message
to Get Started