Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamines -- "speed" or "uppers" – seem to go in and out of style in the illegal drug world as they become easy to get, then more difficult, then easy again for whatever reason. Stylish or not, what doesn’t change about amphetamines is the damage they do to the people who abuse them. Abusers become addicted to the speed, they stop eating and sleeping, and they just wear out.

Because amphetamines are prescription drugs, some people seem to think it’s safe to take them for non-medical reasons. Big mistake. No one should ever take any prescription that’s not written especially for them. Even the most innocent-seeming drug can do harm if taken in the wrong way or by the wrong people. This is especially true of amphetamines, because along with a few other classes of drugs, they are addictive and subject to fatal overdose.

Amphetamines are nicknamed "speed" or "uppers" because of the burst of energy they provide. Abusers do not feel the need to sleep or eat when they are using. Some users also experience euphoria, a sense of well-being, and self-confidence. Users are usually talkative, and may be aggressive and paranoid, even at an early stage of use.

The desirable effects of amphetamines are not without a price. Users shortly build tolerance and dependence – addiction. Soon they need amphetamines to get through an ordinary day. In the meantime, the drugs do serious psychological and physical damage.

Short-term Effects

Amphetamines can be extremely dangerous or fatal from the first use. Users may die from burst blood vessels in the brain, heart failure, or super-elevated body temperature.

Common short-term effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Dilated pupils
  • Insomnia
  • Dry, itchy skin
  • Acne, sores
  • Dizziness and blurry vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Uncontrollable movements


Amphetamine overdose is fairly common, which is probably due to abusers’ ever-increasing need for more and more of the drug (tolerance.) Abusers try to overcome their tolerance by escalating their use, they overdo it, and they overdose.

Amphetamine overdose is often fatal. Symptoms include:

  • Chills, fever, and sweating
  • Muscle spasms, including severely exaggerated arching of the back
  • Convulsions
  • Lack of urine output
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dilated pupils and blurred vision
  • Blue lips and fingernails

Long-term Effects

Amphetamines cause a wide variety of potentially fatal damage to users’ mental and physical health. One of the most troubling effects of amphetamine abuse is the addiction itself, which can be life-altering. Withdrawal causes painful side effects, as well.

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We at Addiction Recovery Referrals know that it is very difficult to help a loved one with an addiction when he or she does not want help. Our staff is here to guide you through the difficult maze of recovery choices. These initial decisions are critical to your loved ones recovery as well as your family’s.