Amphetamines are a type of synthetic drug listed under the stimulant classification. Basically, they work by stimulating the brain and central nervous system so that certain chemicals like dopamine, serotonin and noradrenaline are released in higher concentrations in the body.
Amphetamines are most commonly used in the treatment of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and narcolepsy in adults and children. However, they are also used to help with depression, stave off fatigue and suppress the appetite to help you lose weight.
Effects on Health
Although each prescription of amphetamines may differ widely depending on the illness for which it was prescribed and the chemical substances that are grouped with it, because all amphetamines are stimulants, they will all essentially perform the same basic functions.
These functions include a higher heart rate, decreased appetite, higher blood pressure, heightened breathing, increased alertness, elated feelings of energy and power, heightened focus, enhanced awareness, elevated mood with euphoric feelings (including arousal in some people) and improved motivation and endurance.
Like most prescription drugs and stimulants, amphetamines are not without their share of dangers. For starters, they are highly addictive. Within a few weeks of taking amphetamines, you can easily and unknowingly develop a dependency to the medication both physically and psychologically.
A sudden discontinuance of using the drug can result in moderate to severe symptoms of withdrawal including fluctuations in mood, anxiety, increased aggression, insomnia, excessive sleeping, shaking, sweating, depression, fatigue, elevated appetite, blurred vision, dizziness, psychosis, severe paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
For those using amphetamines as weight loss medication, you should know that you can develop a tolerance to the drug over time. Though you will lose weight initially due to the drug suppressing your appetite, this loss of appetite will slowly go away the more you use the drug. Eventually, you will stop losing weight and your appetite will return. However, your body’s hunger for the drug will not go away.
In addition to the dangers listed above, common side effects of amphetamines include constipation, diminished sex drive, failure to reach orgasm, irregular heartbeat, irritability, tremors, dry mouth and anorexia.
It is vitally important to take amphetamine medication as it is prescribed. If a dose is missed, do not double up on it. If an overdose occurs, you need to get medical attention immediately.
Vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, seizures, hallucinations, severe headaches, increased restlessness, dilated pupils, convulsions and panic are just a few of the symptoms of an amphetamine overdose.
Here are few extra tips to remember to keep you healthy when dealing with amphetamine medication:
- Never take amphetamines if you are pregnant or nursing a child due to amphetamines passing to the child during breastfeeding.
- Never take amphetamines if you have glaucoma, hardening of the arteries or heart disease.
- If you’ve had a history of alcohol or drug abuse, take extreme caution using amphetamines. Remember, they are highly addictive.