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Amphetamines are a type of stimulant. They treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder.
Dextroamphetamine and methamphetamine are two types of amphetamines. They’re sometimes sold illegally. Both prescribed and street amphetamines can be abused and cause addiction. Methamphetamine is the most commonly abused amphetamine.
Amphetamine dependence occurs when you need the drug to function on a daily basis. You’ll experience symptoms of withdrawal if you’re dependent and you abruptly stop using the drug.
Using amphetamines frequently and for a long time can cause dependence. Some people become dependent faster than others.
You may become dependent by using these drugs without a doctor’s prescription. You can also become dependent if you take more than you’re prescribed. You may even develop dependence if you take amphetamines according to your doctor’s directions.
You have a higher risk of developing amphetamine dependence if you:
If you’re dependent on amphetamines, you may:
To diagnose amphetamine dependence, your doctor may:
Check for the following symptoms. You may have amphetamine dependence if you’ve experienced three or more within the same 12-month period.
You’ve built up a tolerance if you need larger doses of amphetamines to achieve the same high.
Withdrawal is characterized by depression, anxiety, fatigue, paranoia, aggression, and intense cravings. You may need to use a similar drug to relieve or avoid amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.
You have wanted to cut down or stop using amphetamines but have been unsuccessful. You continue to use amphetamines even though you know thye’re causing persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problems.
You miss out on or don’t go to as many recreational, social, or work activities because of your amphetamine use.
Treatments for amphetamine dependence may include a combination of the following.
If you experience strong drug cravings, you may find it easier to go through amphetamine withdrawal in a hospital setting. This setting may also help if you have negative mood changes, including aggression and suicidal behavior.
Individual counseling, family therapy, and group therapy can help you:
Your doctor may prescribe medication to ease severe symptoms of withdrawal. Your doctor may prescribe methylphenidate if you have severe intravenous amphetamine dependence. Fluoxetine may decrease your cravings. Imipramine may help you stick with your treatment for amphetamine dependence. Your doctor may prescribe other medications to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and aggression.
Consistent amphetamine dependence and abuse can lead to:
Amphetamine dependence can be difficult to treat. You may relapse after treatment and start using amphetamines again. Participating in a 12-step drug treatment program and getting individual counseling can reduce your chances of relapse.
Drug education programs can reduce the odds for new amphetamine use or a relapse. Counseling for emotional problems and family support can also help. However, none of these have been proven to prevent amphetamine use in everyone.
Written by: Rose Kivi and Winnie Yu
Medically reviewed on: Nov 30, 2015: Mark R LaFlamme, MD
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