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  • Writer's pictureatif mian

Amphetamine Use Disorder and Its Consequences: What Patients Need to Know

Amphetamines, also known as "uppers," are prescription medications used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. They are also used illicitly as a recreational drug to enhance focus, energy, and mood. Unfortunately, over time, amphetamine use can lead to addiction and other debilitating consequences. Patients who use amphetamines for medical reasons or recreational purposes should be aware of the risks associated with chronic use.


What is amphetamine use disorder?

Amphetamine use disorder is a chronic condition characterized by compulsive drug-seeking, drug use, and drug-related behaviors despite negative consequences. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists amphetamine use disorder as one of the substance use disorders. Some of the signs and symptoms of amphetamine use disorder include:


Unable to cut back or stop using amphetamines

Spending a lot of time getting, using, or recovering from the drug

Cravings and urges to use amphetamines

Tolerance (needing higher doses to achieve the same effects)

Withdrawal symptoms when not using amphetamines

Continued use despite physical or psychological problems


What are the consequences of chronic amphetamine use?

Chronic use of amphetamines can have lasting consequences on physical, psychological, and social health. Some of the potential consequences of amphetamine use disorder include:


Cardiovascular problems (e.g., high blood pressure, arrhythmias, heart attacks, strokes)

Gastrointestinal problems (e.g., stomach ulcers, weight loss, constipation, diarrhea)

Psychiatric problems (e.g., anxiety, depression, psychosis, suicidal ideation)

Cognitive problems (e.g., memory impairment, attention deficits, executive dysfunction)

Social problems (e.g., academic and occupational failure, legal problems, relationship problems)


How is amphetamine use disorder treated?

Amphetamine use disorder is treatable with evidence-based interventions that address the biological, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. Some of the treatments for amphetamine use disorder include:


Medications: There are no FDA-approved medications for amphetamine addiction, but several medications can help with the withdrawal symptoms and cravings (e.g., benzodiazepines, bupropion, modafinil, naltrexone).

Behavioral therapies: Several evidence-based therapies have been shown to be effective in treating amphetamine addiction, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management (CM), and motivational interviewing (MI). These therapies help patients identify and modify their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors related to drug use.

Support groups: Self-help groups such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and SMART Recovery provide peer support and encouragement for individuals in recovery from amphetamine use disorder.


How can patients prevent amphetamine use disorder?

Prevention is the best strategy for avoiding the potentially devastating consequences of amphetamine use disorder. Some of the ways patients can prevent the development of amphetamine use disorder include:


Using prescription amphetamines only as directed by their healthcare provider

Not sharing amphetamines with others or using someone else's prescription

Avoiding recreational use of amphetamines

Seeking help from a healthcare provider if experiencing symptoms of amphetamine use disorder or other substance use disorders

Developing coping skills and stress-management techniques to reduce reliance on drugs


Conclusion:


Amphetamine use disorder is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that affects many patients who use amphetamines for medical or recreational purposes. Chronic use of amphetamines can lead to a range of physical, psychological, and social problems that can have lasting consequences. However, amphetamine use disorder is treatable with evidence-based interventions that address the biological, psychological, and social aspects of addiction. Patients who are struggling with amphetamine use disorder or who are at risk of developing addiction should seek help from a healthcare provider or a substance abuse treatment professional. With the right support and resources, patients can overcome amphetamine use disorder and lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

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