Amphetamines, frequently referred to as ‘speed’ or ‘uppers’, speed up chemical messages in the brain and body, often causing extreme energy or alertness. While highly effective in treating certain health conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, amphetamines still carry a high potential for addiction, with many individuals obtaining these drugs illegally for their euphoric and stimulating effects.
At Liberty House, our goal is to help you get to the root of your amphetamine dependence, receiving the best possible support and guidance as you begin to free yourself from the clutches of addiction.
What is amphetamine addiction?
Amphetamine addiction is a condition that compels people to engage in extreme amphetamine use, even if it is causing them harm. Dependence on this substance changes the way individuals interact and engage with the world, becoming fixated on their amphetamine use in order to feel normal and going to extreme lengths to obtain it. Prescription drug addiction, in particular, can be very difficult to spot, with many individuals taking over-the-counter substances like amphetamines for extended periods before realising they have a problem.
How does amphetamine addiction develop?
Amphetamines are addictive because of the way they work in the brain. Once ingested, an unnaturally high level of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and serotonin are released, inducing sensations so pleasurable that users are encouraged to take the substance again. Unfortunately, continued amphetamine abuse can result in tolerance, with individuals requiring more of the drug, and in higher doses, to achieve the same effect. Eventually, these individuals can turn to amphetamines just to sustain feeling of normalcy, which is how amphetamine addiction develops.
Signs and symptoms of amphetamine addiction
For those caught in the dangerous cycle of drug addiction, it can sometimes be difficult for individuals to recognise what is right in front of them – that their unhealthy reliance is beginning to pose serious consequences on both their physical and mental health. However, a crucial first step in seeing the other side of your amphetamine dependence is to recognise the problem within yourself, identifying the signs and taking action to get the support you deserve.
Some psychological symptoms which can help in identifying amphetamine addiction include:
- Trying to come off amphetamines on your own but failing to do so
- Only taking part in activities that involve obtaining, taking, or coming down from amphetamines
- Inability to perform tasks that were once trouble-free (such as going to work, school, or cleaning your space)
- Exacerbation of pre-existing mental health conditions like anxiety and depression
- Turning to unlawful methods to acquire amphetamines such as the dark web or through street dealers
- Experiencing rapid mood changes. For example, feeling elated one moment and depressed the next
If you are afraid that someone you love might be abusing amphetamines, some of the physical signs of addiction can include:
- Increased talkativeness
- Loss of appetite
- Fidgeting or difficulty staying still
- Exhibiting behaviours such as paranoia or distrust
- Appearing depressed, low in energy or disinterested (usually when the amphetamines have worn off)
I think I am addicted to amphetamines. What should I do?
If you have looked at the above symptoms and believe you might be starting to display signs of amphetamine addiction, our team at Liberty House would first like to applaud you for your bravery, as this is not an easy admission to make. Next, we want to remind you that there is plenty of help available to get you started on the road to recovery.
To receive the most comprehensive programme of care when breaking your amphetamine dependence, we would recommend pursuing a course of inpatient rehab treatment, including a medically assisted detox. This way, you will be provided with all the necessary support to help you recover from amphetamines in safe and comfortable surroundings.
Amphetamine detox and withdrawal
Amphetamine detox refers to a natural process of adjustment, with your body getting itself back to a place of balance as all traces of the drug are cleared from your system. While this process can at first seem a little uncomfortable, with the help of a medically assisted detox, you will be supported by trained professionals who can monitor your progress and implement methods to ensure you are as comfortable as possible coming off amphetamines.
An inevitable part of amphetamine detox is physical withdrawal, with your body facing varying symptoms as you start to adjust to life without the drug. Some of the more common amphetamine withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Increased appetite
- Vivid dreams
- Nausea or vomiting
- Feelings of anxiety or depression
- Severe fatigue
- Trouble sleeping
Amphetamine highs typically last about six hours; therefore, it is likely that amphetamine withdrawal symptoms will present themselves quite quickly. When the drug first wears off, it is common to undergo a ‘crash period’ lasting for about one to three days. During this time, clients can feel exhausted and depressed – a physical reaction to the drugs leaving their system. For up to two weeks following this, individuals can experience strong cravings for amphetamines, mood swings, and any of the symptoms discussed above. After about a fortnight, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside, although some issues, such as cravings and low mood, may persist.
Is amphetamine detox dangerous?
How dangerous your amphetamine detox and withdrawal are will depend on several factors, such as how long you have been abusing the drug and in what quantities. For example, if you are abusing amphetamines alongside other illicit substances, this could result in further medical issues and increase your chances of health complications. Therefore, we would always recommend that you discuss your individual circumstances with a member of our team to get a more detailed picture of how amphetamine detox will look for you.
At any rate, we would always recommend detoxing from amphetamines at a registered facility designed to cater to your individual needs. By choosing to detox at home, you may experience cravings and strong urges for amphetamines, without the emotional support to overcome these challenges. This can prove both disheartening and extremely dangerous. At a registered facility, however, you will have around-the-clock care from trained staff who can help ease the transition, rather than cutting off your supply without preparation.
Recovery from amphetamine addiction
If you are ready to begin tackling your amphetamine dependence in a safe space, Liberty House is a facility committed to helping clients recover in safe and comfortable surroundings. As soon as you enter our centre, a member of our staff will welcome you to the facility and get you settled in. We will then talk you through your personalised detox plan as well as your timetable of scheduled activities, designed to keep your day full of effective addiction treatments and therapies.
Some of the treatments we have to offer which can be particularly effective for caring for amphetamine addiction include:
- One-to-one counselling – In order to fully heal from amphetamine addiction, it is vital that you gain some personal insight into how your dependence may have manifested in the first place. Some individuals, for example, turn to amphetamine abuse to lose weight, taking the substance in high quantities to suppress appetite. Whatever the reason, both one-to-one and group counselling can be highly effective in getting to the root of your amphetamine dependence.
- Gong bath therapy – As amphetamines speed up natural processes in the brain, one of the biggest obstacles for clients comes with slowing down and bringing the mind to a place of mental tranquillity. Through gong bath therapy, clients can become more in tune with their bodies, and the practice is known to increase relaxation and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Support groups – When we are among other individuals encountering similar hurdles, this can give us the motivation to see the benefit of our rehabilitation journeys and overcome amphetamine addiction in a safe, encouraging space.
We are here to help
From all of us at Liberty House, we empathise with your struggle and can understand just how overwhelming it might feel agreeing to engage with rehab treatment, along with all the changes that may come from this decision. While amphetamine rehab treatment is a challenging journey, it is also a necessary first step to recovery and can provide you with all the tools you need to start the road to a healthier life. Our facility is well-equipped with an excellent team of staff, all dedicated to keeping you relaxed and comfortable as you break free from amphetamines. If you would like any more information about Liberty House and how we can help you with amphetamine addiction, contact our admissions team right away.