When taking amphetamines, users must walk a precarious tightrope whether following a prescription to the letter or abusing these drugs on a regular basis. Taking an amphetamine drug as prescribed offers little risk of withdrawal or dependency, though long-term use may bring these risks to the forefront.
People who take amphetamines on a recreational basis will eventually contend with amphetamine withdrawal symptoms on a daily basis. Besides getting needed treatment help, continual drug use offers the only means for gaining relief from amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.
Unfortunately, prolonged amphetamine use only worsens the severity of withdrawal and can ultimately bring on serious and even permanent brain damage. No doubt, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms become a person’s best warning sign that things will only get worse without needed treatment help.
Amphetamine’s Mechanism of Action
While most people are familiar with the damaging effects of cocaine and crystal meth, many don’t realize that prescription amphetamine drugs can cause just as much damage. Amphetamines in general stimulate central nervous system processes by interfering with the communications that take place between brain neurons and brain circuits, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
In particular, amphetamines target dopamine and serotonin neurotransmitter chemicals, both of which regulate a person’s sense of well-being and contentment. Since neurotransmitter chemicals transmit messages or communications between neurons, amphetamine’s ability to stimulate chemical production can pose serious risks when taken for nonmedical purposes.
Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms develop as brain neurons weaken and deteriorate from overstimulation. The weaker neuron cells become the more often amphetamine withdrawal symptoms occur with symptoms growing more intense along the way.
Physical Withdrawal Symptoms
Amphetamine effects on the body’s physical processes include –
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Increase in body temperature
- Increase in energy
- Increased respiration rates
As brain neuron structures weaken, withdrawal effects result from a breakdown in brain cell function. Likewise, physical amphetamine withdrawal symptoms tend to be the opposite of the drug’s initial effects –
- Erratic heart rates
- Breathing problems
- Low energy levels
- Fluctuations in body temperature
- Tremors, shakiness
In high doses, amphetamine withdrawal effects can take the form of –
- Heart failure
- Comatose states
With chronic amphetamine users, permanent damage to brain cells and structures can develop. The resulting strain placed on the heart can also lead to heart disease conditions down the road.
Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms
With ongoing drug use, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms eventually alter the brain’s cognitive functions, at which point the seeds of addiction start to take root. Over time, amphetamine effects take over the brain’s reward system, which dictates learning and memory functions. The brain comes to view amphetamine use as an essential and necessary behavior not unlike how it views the need to eat and drink.
As brain functions grow more so dysfunctional, psychological withdrawal symptoms develop, some of which include –
- Inability to reason or make logical decisions
- Depression disorder symptoms
- Anxiety disorder symptoms
- Violent outbursts
- Impulse control problems
Overall, the damaging effects of amphetamines over time cause widespread deterioration of brain and body structures and processes.