Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that speed up metabolism, brain functions, and other bodily systems. When used as prescribed, they can be safe and effective treatments for ADD/ADHD, narcolepsy, obesity, and other psychological disorders, but, heavy amphetamine users risk severe physical and psychological damages that may never be reversed.
Amphetamines stimulate the central nervous system and may be abused to enhance cognitive and performance functions, increase energy, stamina, and other metabolic functions, or to produce a euphoric high. Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, potent, and dangerous amphetamine that is illegal to produce, sale, or possess and the epidemic rise in heavy methamphetamine abuse stems from illegal productions in clandestine labs and home productions.
ADD/ADHD Medication Abuse
There is concerning rise in ADD/ADHD medication abuse. According to an October 2006 report from the Center for Substance Abuse Research, “After alcohol and marijuana, the prescription stimulants Adderall® and Ritalin® are perceived to be the most easily available drugs misused” among undergraduates. These amphetamine prescriptions are perceived to be safe because after all, they are prescribed to children for ADD/ADHD treatments. What most abusers don’t realize is that these medications are prescribed to treat individuals that have a diagnosed brain deficit where the drugs work as balancing tools. Taking them for non-medical reasons, in higher dosages, or otherwise can be fatally dangerous.
Effects of Heavy Amphetamine Use
Beyond the risks for addiction, heavy amphetamine use can lead to severe impairments in the brain, central nervous system, and other organs leading to overdose and death. These risks are dramatically increased when amphetamines are used excessively, frequently, or by alternative routes of administration such as snorting, smoking, or injecting.
Dangerous effects of heavy amphetamine use include:
- Heavy amphetamine abuse decreases the production of dopamine and damages other neurotransmitters and receptors in the brain. Neurological damages to the brain and central nervous system can cause permanent psychological disorders, psychosis that resembles schizophrenia, permanent cognitive disabilities, disorientation and clinical depression which is very common among heavy amphetamine abusers.
- Amphetamines, especially methamphetamine, can be toxic to the body and cause cellular damage, liver failure, and kidney failure. The organs become unable to filter the toxins and are required to work overtime until they shut down. Urinary infections and bladder diseases are also common when the toxins cannot be flushed from the body.
- Increased blood pressure elevates the heart rate and can damage blood vessels leading to bleeding in the brain, stroke, and heart attack which is the leading cause of death from amphetamine use.
- Heavy amphetamine use can lead to malnutrition from decreased appetite and dehydration from elevated body temperature which is often accompanied by strokes and heart attacks when the person overexerts themselves.