Drug and Alcohol - Addiction Recovery

Amphetamine Addiction: Symptoms of Amphetamine Withdrawal

Whether it's "study drugs" or ADHD medication, amphetamine abuse is dangerous. Learn more about amphetamine withdrawal and addiction in our blog.

Amphetamine Addiction: Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Withdrawal

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

January 13, 2023

The Edge Treatment Center

Amphetamines are a class of prescription drugs used to treat several diseases like Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, obesity, and so on. These drugs are legal, safe, and effective when prescribed by a licensed physician.

Using the drug without a prescription or recreationally can cause addiction to amphetamines and severe withdrawal symptoms. Let's look at some of the prominent amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and their treatment methods.

What are the Main Symptoms of Amphetamine Withdrawal?

Taking amphetamines in excessive doses will cause a body to be dependent on them leading to addiction. Stopping the drug intake abruptly (also known as the "cold turkey" approach) will result in acute withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may vary among individuals, but some symptoms are highly prominent and frequent.

Here are 9 common amphetamine withdrawal symptoms.

Fatigue

Stopping amphetamine intake can make an individual extremely fatigued. A fatigued condition is not just tiredness; it disables a person from performing the daily necessary activities of life. Moreover, sleeping or taking rest does not provide relief or energy when one is fatigued.

Insomnia

Insomnia is a common amphetamine withdrawal symptom where an individual cannot fall asleep even in a comfortable sleeping environment. Not only is the quantity of sleep drastically reduced, but the quality is compromised heavily. Basically, sleep fails to serve its purpose and disrupts daily life.

Anxiety

In simple terms, anxiety or anxiety disorder is a state of constant fear. One cannot resolve anxiety disorder with simple lifestyle changes. Creating both mental and physical symptoms, anxiety gets more severe and complicated over time.

Depression

Depression involves certain changes in the brain chemistry that alters a person's mood and decision-making ability. Generally, depression causes feelings of genuine hopelessness, a huge decline in self-esteem, slow movements, suicidal thoughts, etc.

Depression due to amphetamine withdrawal can last up to 3 weeks, but for some people, it can extend even further. In those cases, it becomes necessary to seek professional help.

Psychosis

Psychosis is almost a maddening condition. During a psychotic episode, one loses touch with reality. People's thoughts and perceptions are so disturbed that everything observed in the real world seems perplexing. Psychosis can have various forms, but the following three are the most common during amphetamine withdrawal:

  • Hallucinations

  • Disturbing thoughts

  • Delusions

  • Cravings

A strong physical urge to take a drug is considered a drug craving. Amphetamine cravings can make one feel physically ill until they start to abuse it again.

Vivid Unpleasant Dreams

Disturbing, vivid dreams during the amphetamine withdrawal phases can be due to insomnia and anxiety disorders. Or, the dreams can also take place due to past traumatic events resurfacing in the withdrawal phase. Vivid dreams which are unsettling in nature can even cause suicidal thoughts.

Agitation/Irritability

In the withdrawal phase, the body is trying to adjust to the lack of amphetamine in its system; this causes visible physical responses of agitation. It includes restlessness, unnecessary aggression, decreased focus, inability to think logically, etc.

Slowdown in Reaction Time

During amphetamine withdrawal, the central nervous system gets affected severely, slowing down the reaction time.

An individual's reaction time depends on how well the central nervous system is functioning. Reaction time involves how quickly a person can react physically and mentally to situations.

Furthermore, amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can include increased appetite, twitches, muscle pains, short-term memory, etc. Now, let’s look at how long the withdrawal effects can last.

How Long Can Amphetamine Withdrawal Last?

The duration and severity of amphetamine withdrawal depend on several factors, like:

  • The length of time one is abusing amphetamine for

  • Frequency and dosage of amphetamine

  • Genetics

  • Overall health

  • Habits to intake in combination with other drugs (polydrug abuse)

  • Age

However, a general amphetamine withdrawal timeline can look like the following:

Day 1 to Day 2

The primary phase of withdrawal is called the "crash", where strong bodily symptoms like abdominal cramps and nausea can accompany an individual with extreme fatigue. It is the most vulnerable phase of withdrawal as an individual's mental functions face a steep decline.

A person suffering from amphetamine withdrawal should have someone who can provide 24/7 surveillance if it becomes an emergency.

Day 3 to Day 10

The symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal peak in this phase. The brain and the body completely fail to keep up with the excessive dopamine demand and give in to anxiety and depression. Psychotic episodes and complete burnout due to insomnia and fatigue are symptoms of this time period.

Day 14 to Day 30

During this time, physical symptoms start to fade away. However, strong amphetamine cravings can reappear time and again. Depression and fatigue will still remain in this phase.

Day 30 and Beyond

With a month gone after one had stopped taking amphetamines, almost all physical signs of amphetamine withdrawal are gone. Throughout the entire month, if one stays under complete supervision and proper care, one can avoid a relapse.

An individual’s recovery is almost complete, but signs of anxiety and depression can still persist.

Theoretically, one can recover from amphetamine withdrawal this way. But, chances of relapsing still linger in many forms. For example, triggers of amphetamine addiction and trauma can easily make an individual revert back to old habits.

To ensure complete recovery, one has to build a strong base of knowledge about the drug and practice anti-addiction measures during the recovery journey. For example, it can also be helpful to know how addictive substances work.

What are Some of the Commonly-Prescribed Amphetamines?

Amphetamines are prescribed under a large variety of brand names. They include:

Brand Name

Type of Amphetamine

Adderall/Adderall XR

Amphetamine and dextroamphetamine

Desoxyn

Methamphetamine

Dexedrine

Dextroamphetamine

Dynavel

Amphetamine

Eveko

Amphetamine

ProCentra

Dextroamphetamine

Vyvanse

Lisdexamfetamine

Zenzedi

Dextroamphetamine

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How Can One Get Addicted to Amphetamine?

Amphetamine is a highly addictive substance. Long-term use of this drug can make an individual tolerant to it, which in turn can make someone increase the dosage to feel the same effects.

Using this drug without a prescription and taking it more frequently or in larger quantities can lead to dependence and, later on, addiction.

Amphetamine addiction, or any kind of addiction, means an individual is completely aware of the negative physical, mental, and social effects of the drug; however, the individual cannot stop using it.

Addictions, like any other disease, are easily treatable if identified at an early stage. So let's look at some signs of amphetamine abuse that can help a family member or friend to recognize an addiction disorder.

What are the Types of Amphetamines?

3 types of amphetamines are usually sold on the streets illegally:

These amphetamines come in different forms, such as pills, powder, paste, liquid, and crystal. However, all of them have some common signs of addiction through which one can identify an addict and provide help.

How to Identify Amphetamine Addiction

Diagnosing someone with amphetamine addiction is the task of professional healthcare providers. But, knowing the diagnostic criteria can help a caregiver recognize the symptoms at an early stage and treat amphetamine withdrawal successfully.

Here are the top 8 signs of amphetamine addiction:

  1. Inability to lower the intake of amphetamines

  2. A steady increase in dosage

  3. Increase in frequency of amphetamine intake

  4. Giving excessive importance to the drug

  5. Experiencing strong cravings

  6. Amphetamine withdrawal effects whenever one tries to stop using it

  7. One continues to use amphetamines even if physically and mentally harmed by it

  8. Continuation of the drug, even if it affects a person's social life

When one can find anything similar to these symptoms in someone close to them or in themselves, it is crucial to take help from professional care providers. Otherwise, the effects of amphetamine abuse will continue to cause damage.

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What are the Treatment Methods for Amphetamine Withdrawal?

3 major steps of amphetamine withdrawal treatment at a state-of-the-art drug rehab may comprise the following.

Stabilization of the emergency withdrawal symptoms.

Putting the patient through a detox phase with medicinal and psychological support.

A prolonged treatment aimed at the patient’s complete physical and psychological improvement.

Treatment methods a center can use during the treatment phases from detoxification to outpatient may include:

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, is an emerging way to treat drug addiction During an emergency or during severe withdrawal symptoms, a patient will need the help of medication to ease up the pain and discomfort of amphetamine withdrawal. Furthermore, into the detoxification phase, medication will play a significant role in subduing the cravings and the harmful effects of the remaining toxic elements of amphetamine.

A patient will build deterrence against amphetamines and will enter a sustained period of recovery. These administrations of medicines are not only aimed to treat physical comfort, but also to treat addiction disorders.

Dual Diagnosis

The dual diagnosis method of treatment aims to identify if a preexisting mental health disorder has initiated substance abuse or whether substance abuse created a psychological issue in an individual.

Amphetamine abuse is not uncommon when someone is under a lot of stress due to a mental condition. The substance acts as a way of escape for these individuals. Ultimately, it does not help the situation but worsens it, which leads to further deterioration of the mental situation.

People who get addicted to amphetamines for different reasons can also have a mental illness. For example, amphetamine withdrawal comes with strong symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is difficult to determine whether an individual has a preexisting condition of mental illness or whether amphetamine abuse caused mental disorders.

With this diagnosis, a treatment plan is constructed to treat amphetamine abuse and mental health disorders.

Trauma Informed Care

Trauma-informed care is perhaps one of the most important pillars of a successful rehab for amphetamine withdrawal, as people going through trauma can use substance abuse as a coping mechanism. Furthermore, addiction and the collateral damage it causes can create new traumatic experiences.

For almost all people suffering from addiction and trauma, admitting the truth is the hardest thing for them to do. However, without admittance, every recovery is temporary. So, an amphetamine abuse treatment center must have a trauma-informed crew to whom patients can open up.

It is imperative to remember that treating withdrawal also involves making the patients face and win their traumas. This perspective towards treatment guarantees positive long-term effects on a patient's health and overall life experience.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a crucial part of rehab for amphetamine addiction. It helps an individual to resist the impulses of substance abuse and build positive behavioral patterns.

DBT does a crucial job of addressing a primary need for acceptance among patients of amphetamine withdrawal. Accepting one’s nature that has initiated or caused the continuation of amphetamine abuse is indeed the most important step toward recovery.

Self-acceptance lays the foundation for making stable decisions against harmful triggers and negative distractions. It also helps to initiate further positive changes in life.

DBT views the brain in three parts: rational, emotional, and wise. The therapy aims at understanding emotional thinking first and then creating a distance from its activities so that the wise mind can help the rational mind to take positive decisions.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy can be a game changer when it comes to recovery from amphetamine withdrawal symptoms. It can make the whole process of treatment a fun adventure. Experiential therapy actually gives the patients opportunities to exercise what they have learned through one-on-one amphetamine abuse counseling and group sessions.

The positive physical and mental experiences boost their recovery significantly. The activities used for experiential therapy can include hikes, rock climbing, theme parks, harbor cruises, outdoor games, and other creative activities.

An amphetamine abuse treatment center can apply a combination of these methods throughout the treatment phases for optimal results. Anyone can get addicted to amphetamines and suffer withdrawal symptoms. Amphetamine withdrawal is treatable, and with a proficient treatment provider, one can even hope to gain greater knowledge of self and a new way of life.

Amphetamine Addiction is Treatable at The Edge Treatment Center

The Edge Treatment Center creates individualized treatment plans to ensure the highest quality of care for amphetamine addiction and amphetamine withdrawal. We'll guide you through the complete recovery process, and give you the tools you need for a happy, sober life free from amphetamine addiction.

Contact The Edge Treatment Center today to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are black beauty pills?

Black beauty pills are a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. These pills decrease fatigue and increase wakefulness. However, they are highly addictive.

How long does an amphetamine high last?

An initial amphetamine rush can be as short as a minute. However, the ‘comedown’ can last up to 12 hours.

Can amphetamine change one’s personality?

The correct dosage would not affect a patient's personality. But, an increase in dosage can influence one's personality in a significant way.

How much amphetamine is okay to take in a day?

For people over 12 years of age, doctors generally prescribe 5 to 10 milligrams per day as medicines for curing a disease or a disorder. However, the dosage can increase or decrease based on individual circumstances.

How are amphetamine and Adderall related?

Adderall is a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is used for treating Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity-Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

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