Stimulants

Stimulants are a family of federally controlled substances that increase the levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine in the user’s brain.  These drugs were prescribed more often prior to the past decade, used for everything from ADHD to weight loss.  They are used by many individuals to stay awake, feel more alert, and for a feeling of euphoria.  One of the more dangerous and popular forms of stimulants are methamphetamines. 

Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a class of drugs known as stimulants because of their affect on the body’s central nervous system.  Developed in the late 1800s, amphetamines were designed to produce wakefulness and provide energy to the patient.  The chemical structure of amphetamines mimics the body’s own chemicals of adrenalin and noradrenalin.  The euphoria and boost of energy that is produced by amphetamines makes this a popular drug for athletes and students.

Street Names

  • Uppers
  • Bennies
  • Crank
  • Speed
  • Crystal/Crystal Meth

Effects of Amphetamines

Amphetamines produce a euphoric feeling in some, energy in others, and many report a boost in self-confidence when under the influence of this substance.  Depending upon the level of dependency in the user, effects can last up to 12 hours.  As with every drug, the more you use the less effective it becomes.  Addicts need to take more and more to get the same “high” as they did when they first began to take the drug.

Your Brain and Amphetamines

Your brain already produces stimulants that result in feelings of euphoria or ​excitement.  The chemical dopamine produced by your body is what is stimulated into “over production” by amphetamines and is what gives people that “high” or “euphoria” associated with speed.  This chemical can also be produced through running (“runner’s high”), laughter, and other natural activities.  However, the drug will trigger mass quantities of this drug to be produced quickly—unlike with running or other physical activities, and therefore users will turn to this “quick fix” for this feeling of happiness and clarity.

Some individuals will have an adverse reaction to the drug, exhibiting feelings of nervousness, accelerated heartbeats, and paranoia.

For people already suffering through a chemical imbalance like those with ADHD, the amphetamine will actually combine to create the opposite effect in the brain, IE. “slowing it down.”

Dependency and Side Effects

In this respect, amphetamines are no different than any other narcotic.  Over time you will become physically dependent upon the medication.  The effects will lesson, but the dependency will remain.  Users will need to take larger and larger quantities to receive comparable effects.

Long term side-effects of taking amphetamines include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Blurred vision
  • Elevated heart rates
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Tooth loss
  • Psychosis

Psychosis in long-term amphetamine use will mimic that of schizophrenia with the user experiencing symptoms of paranoia, rage, and depression.

Overdose

You may overdose on any drug if you take enough of it to produce adverse effects.  An overdose experience may be mild (heart palpitations) to extreme (heart attack, stroke, or death).  Symptoms of amphetamine overdose include:

  • ​Accelerated heart rate
  • ​Paranoia
  • ​Confusion
  • ​Violence
  • ​Seizures

If you or someone close to you is experiencing these effects call 911 or a poison control center at once.

Drug Detoxification and Treatment

Amphetamines do not stay in the body as long as opiates or THC and will clear your system within 2 days (as can be revealed by a drug test).  The lingering psychological effects can last much longer.

Treatment for amphetamine use would be determined by the extent of use and type of amphetamine being used.  For example, individuals using crystal meth, a methamphetamine, experience more difficulty in quitting and usually must go through an in-patient treatment program of some sort, as well as, move to a different location as to avoid residual memories.

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