In medical use, there is controversy about whether the benefits of amphetamines prescribed for ADHD and weight loss outweigh the drug's harmful side effects. There is agreement. However, that prescription amphetamines are successful in treating narcolepsy. Look-alike drugs, which imitate the effects of amphetamines and contain substances legally available over-the-counter include caffeine, ephedrine, and phenylpropanolamine.Amphetamine and methamphetamine pills can be ingested orally, crushed and snorted, dissolved in water and injected or smoked. "Glass" and "ice" (pure methamphetamine, which looks like clear crystalline rock) are most often inhaled in a glass pipe, allowing for quick absorption into the bloodstream without the risks of injecting the drug. Crystal, the powder form of methamphetamines, is consumed orally, injected or inhaled.When amphetamine activates nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, the mental focus, the ability to stay awake and the ability to concentrate is improved, which is helpful for those with hyperactivity disorders or narcolepsy. Although the physiological experience of using amphetamines and cocaine is almost identical, the effects of amphetamines can last several hours whereas the effects of cocaine last less than one hour. When mixed with alcohol or other drugs, the results of prescription amphetamines are enhanced. The onset of the impact from injecting methamphetamines occurs immediately. When this drug is snorted, effects occur within 3 to 5 minutes; when ingested orally, effects occur within 15 to 20 minutes.
How Addictive is Amphetamine?
Between two and four million children have been diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and as a result been legally prescribed amphetamine, which can improve symptoms when appropriately used. When prescription amphetamines are taken orally, and in low doses, drug abuse and addiction are not a severe risk. However, drug addiction becomes a risk when prescription amphetamines are consumed at doses higher than those prescribed for medical treatment. All forms of methamphetamine are highly addictive and toxic.Abuse of amphetamines, which can lead to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence, is characterized by consuming increasingly higher dosages and by the "binge and crash" cycle when users attempt to maintain their high by overindulging in these drugs. When binge episodes end, the abuser "crashes" and are left with severe depression, anxiety, extreme fatigue and a craving for more drugs. Soon they need amphetamines just to get through an ordinary day. In the meantime, the drugs do severe psychological and physical damage. The chronic abuse of amphetamine and methamphetamine is characterized by violent and erratic behavior, as well as a psychosis similar to schizophrenia, which can involve paranoia, picking at the skin and auditory/visual hallucinations. Amphetamine overdose is relatively common and often fatal, which is probably due to abusers’ ever-increasing need for more and more of the drug (tolerance.) When abusers try to overcome their tolerance by escalating their use, they overdose.Amphetamines can cause 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.