Amphetamines, which are classified as stimulants, work by using the dopamine reward system of the brain. When these drugs are used, the user’s central nervous system is simulated which causes the brain to produce a higher level of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This increase in the amount of dopamine in the brain creates a euphoric feeling and overall sense of wellbeing. Common street names for these drugs include speed, beans, bennies, uppers.
Amphetamines can be consumed in a number of ways. They can be taken orally, crushed up and snorted, or diluted and injected intravenously. If injected, the user feels the effects immediately, while it can take up to 20 minutes to feel effects if taken by mouth. People who consume uppers experience a boost of energy and the feeling that they can do anything as speed provides the ability to stay awake for long periods of time without needing rest. Additionally, while taking these uppers an individual may have no desire to eat which can lead to weight loss if the stimulant abuse is continued.
While the initial effects of amphetamine use are enjoyable, the high ends with a noticeable crash, leaving addicts irritable and exhausted. It doesn’t take long for the body to build up a tolerance to amphetamines causing a user to increase the dosage to maintain the initial desired effects. Along with tolerance comes psychological and physical dependence and amphetamine addiction. The pleasure centres of the brain will begin to crave the speed if it is not regularly supplied. It is the fear of crashing and the unpleasant feelings of withdrawal that keep a speed addict going back for more despite the negative consequences.
Amphetamine addiction can leave the user feeling frightened and stuck in a cycle of bingeing and crashing. However, with proper treatment and therapy, this addiction to uppers can be overcome.
Causes of Amphetamine Abuse & Addiction
There are many reasons an individual may begin to use certain drugs or substances such as amphetamines. They could have been initially prescribed by a physician to manage certain symptoms, used as an attempt to self-medicate to escape personal problems, or out of curiosity. While the exact cause for addiction is unknown it is likely a combination of a variety of factors. These may include:
Genetic: Individuals who have family members that have had problems with substance abuse and addiction are more likely to develop an addiction later in life. Research has shown that there is likely a genetic trait that is passed on – especially among first-degree relatives.
Brain Chemistry: Amphetamine addiction may be a result of abnormalities in the structure and function of the brain. Some researchers have proposed that lower levels of dopamine in the brain may cause people who abuse uppers to crave the euphoric feelings caused by amphetamine abuse. Their may exist different sizes of certain areas of the brain in individuals who become addicted.
Environmental: It has been hypothesised that individuals who have grown up in stressful or unhappy homes are more likely to develop an addiction later in life. Additionally, an environment where drug abuse and addiction is accepted can cause an individual to develop substance abuse disorders as they have come to see drug abuse as appropriate behaviour.
Psychological: Another theory suggests that many individuals are looking for a way to self-medicate the symptoms of a mental illness. Continued abuse of amphetamines leads to the disruption of normal levels of dopamine in the brain, so over time an amphetamine user is unable to feel pleasure without using the drug.
Entering Salt Recovery for amphetamine addiction
In recovery, you can address amphetamine addiction in a safe and private environment. It’s an environment away from negative triggers and where there’s lots of positive empowerment and guided support.
Once you are settled, the treatment process can begin. Recovering at Salt Recovery will incorporate many therapies. You may attend group and individual therapy, and there are five-star amenities and activities to take advantage of, too. Therapy sessions include:
Psychotherapy:This therapy treatment is a big part of recovery. Cognitive behavioural therapy, in particular, helps you learn how to cope and change negative thinking.
Support Groups:These are great when dealing with a dual diagnosis that can feel isolating. Support groups let clients share frustrations, celebrate successes and find referrals for specialists. They also provide a space for forming healthy friendships filled with encouragement to stay clean.
Holistic wellness practices:Art therapy, meditation classes and other forms of wellness practices help with recovery. Often, a person’s mental health is the big cause of substance abuse disorders. Removing negative triggers and introducing healthy habits allows a person to rest. It also helps calm their mind and learn the tools they need to prolong their recovery for the rest of their lives.
Mood symptoms: Euphoria, increased alertness, irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety
Behavioural symptoms: hostility, aggressiveness, altered sexual behaviour, not sleeping for prolonged period of time, not eating for prolonged period of time, unrealistic ideas of personal ability and power, fast and excessive talking, grinding of teeth, increased confidence
Physical symptoms: increased body temperature, increased blood pressure, dilated pupils, faster breathing, decreased fatigue, dry mouth, decreased appetite, nausea, headache, irregular heartbeat, malnutrition, blurred vision
Psychological symptoms: paranoia, psychosis, hallucinations, clear and focused feeling