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Edited & medically reviewed by THE BALANCE Team
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Amphetamine abuse has recently emerged as a significant health concern across the world. Both prescription and illicit amphetamines carry a high addictive potential and can be highly disruptive if abused frequently. The long-term misuse of these drugs has been found to trigger serious problems, such as cardiovascular damage, paranoia, anxiety, malnutrition, and permanent changes to the brain. 

Understanding the dangers of misusing amphetamines allows one to recognize the signs of addiction so that individuals can understand when to get help and stop this dangerous habit before it’s too late.

The exact way in which amphetamines may affect the human body depends on different factors such as:

  • The number of amphetamines taken
  • The strength of its dose
  • Whether it was taken with any other drug
  • The user’s physical makeup and overall health status
  • The individual body’s response to the drug

Some common dangers that users are likely to encounter if they keep abusing amphetamines for a long time include the following:

Sleeping Difficulties

In addition to increasing energy, amphetamines are also known for reducing sleep and drowsiness. This is one of the reasons why these drugs are so popular among people who wish to stay awake throughout the night, such as truck drivers and night-shift workers. At the same time, amphetamines also appeal to partygoers who want to stay alert and active throughout the night for recreational reasons.

However, it is essential to remember that abusing amphetamines consistently can often result in severe sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can not only make it difficult to go about the day but may also alter mood and start affecting physical health soon.


Decreased Mental Performance

As mentioned above, using amphetamines for extended periods can lead to sleep interference. This intense sleep deprivation can also sometimes lead to a deterioration in mental performance. This is ironic, considering how many people abuse it with the intent to speed up their preparations for exams.

However, this cognitive-boosting effect commonly attributed to the use of amphetamines is quickly overthrown by a lack of sleep. This is because sleep plays a vital role in the consolidation of memories, and without it, learning ability can get severely hindered.

Rapid Speech

Rapid or pressured speech is commonly a symptom of an underlying psychiatric disorder, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, it is sometimes also associated with the use of amphetamines. While many tend to abuse this drug, believing it will improve their mental and social functioning, research indicates that it also speeds up speech at the expense of accuracy. As a result, people high on amphetamines are often socially annoying, may chatter incessantly, and face trouble engaging in everyday conversations.

Anxiety and Mood Swings

Perhaps the most popular reason people give for abusing amphetamines is their ability to elevate mood temporarily. However, this apparent benefit has a flip side as a crash characterized by depressive feelings often follows it. There is also a good chance that abusing amphetamines when someone is already in a bad mood may make them more anxious and irritable. Some users also report experiencing paranoia, delusional thinking, and chronic fatigue post-consumption.

Blood-borne infections

One of the lesser-known dangers of misusing amphetamines includes the risk of acquiring blood-borne diseases, such as hepatitis B and C, HIV/Aids, and tetanus. These diseases are particularly prevalent in people who prefer injecting these drugs into their veins and commonly share needles with others.

Amphetamine overdose

One of the most frightening long-term dangers of amphetamine misuse is an overdose, which can be fatal if help is not sought in time. Below are some amphetamine intoxication symptoms to look out for in case you suspect an overdose.

  • Chest pain
  • Psychosis
  • Stroke
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Heart attack

Amphetamine dependence and addiction

Chronic use of amphetamines can quickly lead to tolerance and dependence. The threshold of this dependence differs for different users, making it difficult to determine a specific drug amount or duration of consumption that would lead to addiction. Nevertheless, amphetamine dependence can happen to anyone, whether they are using it on a doctor’s recommendation or recreationally.

Amphetamine dependency is deemed dangerous because it often comes with tolerance. Tolerance refers to constantly increasing a drug dose to experience the same high. As a result of this tolerance, users keep abusing amphetamines despite the side effects, eventually leading to addiction. This makes them enter a vicious cycle where they wish to quit using amphetamines because of their side effects, but the withdrawal symptoms kick in as soon as they stop forcing them to restart using these stimulant drugs.

If the amphetamine side effects make your or your loved one’s life complex, quitting is essential. However, this is easier said than done since most chronic users abusing amphetamines regularly are addicted to it. In such circumstances, joining an addiction rehab is vital to regaining control of your life and initiating recovery. For the best chance at success, an addiction treatment specialist must devise an individualized treatment plan after conducting a proper assessment. This assessment can decide the appropriate level of care that you or your dear one needs depending on the needs and severity of the addiction.

In general, the following programs are offered at rehab to save clients from the dangers of misusing amphetamines before it’s too late:

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment requires clients to live onsite at a residential rehab throughout the entire duration of the program. This level of care comes with varying intensity levels depending on each individual’s unique needs. The best thing about inpatient treatment is that clients enrolled in it are under 27/7 medical supervision and can always get psychological support whenever needed.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient programs are particularly beneficial for people who cannot commit to the residential program due to daily obligations or have less severe addictions that can be easily managed without admission. As a part of this treatment plan, clients continue to live in their homes amidst a robust support system and travel to the treatment facility multiple times a week to receive therapy and counseling.

The intensity of outpatient programs varies, with partial hospitalization as the most intense program that includes up to 20 hours of treatment per week. Other less-intense plans may only require a few hours of therapy per week.

Behavioural Therapy

As one of the most critical components of rehabilitation for amphetamine addiction, behavioral therapy can be of different types. Some of the most commonly used types of this therapy include the following:

  • Motivational interviewing

This approach has been designed to increase the client’s motivation to stop using the offending drug and make a positive life change. The session involves working with a counselor to identify areas that require changes, followed by creating a plan to set goals and enter treatment to achieve them.

  • Contingency management

This approach involves using positive reinforcement in vouchers or tangible goods to motivate clients towards recovery. These rewards are provided whenever a client makes a positive behavioral change.

  • Community reinforcement approach

This multidimensional approach is often used together with contingency management to help clients seek complete recovery. Its elements include relationship counseling, analysis of amphetamines use, job skills training, and vocational guidance.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

This short-term treatment therapy is goal-oriented and often tailored to the client’s unique needs. CBT helps amphetamines addicts identify and change all negative thoughts and unhelpful behaviors that might fuel their addiction. Moreover, it allows them to develop more functional and healthier ways of relating to the world around them. 

If you or a dear one has been struggling with the never-ending amphetamine addiction for a long time and wish to get over the side effects it’s causing them, a rehab center can help. Contact a treatment center today and get started on the road to recovery. 



The Balance RehabClinic is a leading provider of luxury addiction and mental health treatment for affluent individuals and their families, offering a blend of innovative science and holistic methods with unparalleled individualised care.


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