What Are Amphetamines?
At Abbeycare, we deal with many patients looking to recover from an incredibly harmful addiction to Amphetamine Type Stimulants, also known as ATS.
Rising to popularity during the 1960’s, Amphetamine type drugs are known under an almost unlimited number of nicknames including: Meth, Crystal meth, Crank, Glass, Ice, Whizz and Speed.
Variants are also known as methedrone, mephedrone, or methylone.
As some of the names reveal, Amphetamines are synthetic drugs which have been designed to speed up the body’s physiological processes, with the desired result being a massive increase in both energy levels and alertness, mainly due to a massive increase in heart rate – the main aim of the drug is for users to feel alert, confident and powerful – until the drug wears off, when a crushing come down takes place.
Amphetamines Recreational Use
Although used very carefully in medicine, the vast majority of Amphetamine users are recreational drug users – and are using Amphetamine which has been purchased on the street.
Incredibly popular with party goers looking to extend the party all night, whilst feeling more confident – amphetamine is available in powder form, which usually looks either white, or white with a tinge of yellow, pink or grey. It’s usually sold in wraps of cling film. In some cases, it is also available as a paste.
Amphetamine available on the street, like most other drugs is incredibly dangerous – as it almost always mixed with a range of other ingredients to maximise profit for drug dealers.
Other ingredients in Amphetamine can include everything from dried baby milk to caffeine, as well as other drugs such as paracetamol and aspirin.
Amphetamine Dangers & Risks
As with any drug that provides an immediate high, the return back to ‘normal’ feeling can be a dramatic and depressing process, avoiding the come down process can lead to addiction in a very quick space of time.
The stimulating nature of the drug can put the organs of the body under massive amounts of pressure, especially when increasing heart rate.
Amphetamine use has been associated with dental problems, with users often grinding their teeth whilst under the influence.
Tolerance to Amphetamine can build up, meaning a user needs more of the drug to feel the same kind of high – ingesting more of the harmful substance.
Amphetamine is also a leading cause of anti-social behaviour and fights are common with those who take it. Increased confidence and aggression can be blamed.
Amphetamine Side Effects
As well as the above risks & dangers, amphetamine addiction can also be attributed to a number of physical and social problems, including:
Amphetamines have a longer chemical half-life than other stimulants like cocaine, meaning that amphetamine withdrawal symptoms can continue for hours, days, and in rare cases, longer, as the body and mind recalibrate.
It takes time for chemical and emotional balance to be restored following a period of amphetamine misuse.
Over long term use, the brain’s system of neurotransmitters and receptor’s develop a dependence on a certain level of amphetamines being present in the system, and it takes increasing amounts to achieve the same chemical effects in the brain, and the same resultant feelings.
Physical withdrawal usually includes:
- First hypersomnia (sleeping much more than normal),
- Followed by a period of insomnia, and slower or disturbed physical movement., accompanied by physical aches and pains.
- Appetite normally increases, in some cases with cravings for specific foods.
- Most in withdrawal report lethargy generally.
Emotional withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety to different degrees,
- Increased anger and irritation,
- A loss of interest or happiness in day to day events, including reduced ability or desire to socialise with others.
Changes in mood can be significant, and can make it difficult for loved ones to cope.
In more extreme cases, this can mean, hallucinations, paranoia, and suicidal ideation.
Without a supervised detox, withdrawal symptoms can be extremely difficult to overcome, and are the primary cause for relapse in those abusing amphetamines.
In most cases we recommend being in a residential clinic during withdrawal as a means to increase comfort and safety, both emotionally and physically, during amphetamine detox.
This is especially important where you’ve experienced psychotic episodes of mental health issues while under the influence of amphetamines, in the past.
Where treatment is completed in a residential clinic with supervised detox, you may be prescribed withdrawal medication to manage symptoms, such as an anti-depressant, anti-psychotic, or mood stabiliser.
The duration of amphetamine detox depends largely on:
- The level of current usage,
- The level of tolerance built up to date,
- The nature of the amphetamine most recently consumed,
- Historical duration of amphetamine use, combined or multi-substance abuse in combination with other drugs,
- Personal attributes such as age, physical health, emotional health, gender, and how detox is being undertaken
Amphetamine withdrawal timeline typically looks like this:
- Days 1–> 3 – The time of greatest chemical withdrawal and therefore the time with greatest likelihood of relapse. Acute symptoms such as swings in sleep patterns, depression, and exhaustion are of greatest likelihood at this stage.
- Days 4 –> 7 – Exhaustion and fatigue continue. With lower users, the initial acute mental lows are normally abating.
- Days 8 –> 14 – Fluctuations in sleep patterns are continuing through days 8-14, in some this will swing from oversleep to insomnia at this stage.
- Days 15 –> 28 and beyond – Some psychological symptoms may persist during this stage, especially if the individual suffers from pre-existing mental health issues.
Amphetamine Detox > Rehab > Aftercare
There are few options typically available via public healthcare or home services for Amphetamine detox.
Home detox from amphetamine is not recommended:
- Physical and chemical detox requires appropriate medical supervision, not possible at home
- Home detox options do not include therapeutic support, leaving the individual vulnerable to relapse following detox
- Long term success typically relies upon addressing the underlying behavioural patterns, associations, conditionings, triggers, anchors, and elements of life in place that are enabling the addictive pattern. It’s not possible to address these in the home environment without specialist help.
Likewise, we do not recommend outpatient treatment for amphetamines as even gains from one-to-one counselling, when delivered on an outpatient basis, can be undone, as the individual is re-triggered on their way home, and is left with no therapeutic gains.
It’s only in the surroundings of a residential clinic, away from such triggers, that true psychological gains can be made, and the benefits retained and converted to longer term abstinence.
Residential Amphetamine Detox
Many of the side effects of withdrawal are psychological, as well as physical. So having the right support from experienced professionals usually means admitting to a private treatment clinic.
Staff in private rehab clinics are experienced to know your needs, anticipate your reaction in withdrawal, co-ordinate supervised detox medication, and support you through the process. Many have first experience of addiction themselves.
There is no dedicated medication widely used specifically for amphetamine detox, rather the professionals in the clinic may prescribe medication to alleviate the individual symptoms experienced themselves.
In some clinics an anti-depressant or anti-psychotic is prescribed to alleviate psychological withdrawal.
Together with your case manager in the clinic, you’ll agree upon a care plan and goals for your stay in the clinic and detox from amphetamines.
Once comfortable, after a few days in the clinic you’ll usually be invited to begin taking part in therapeutic sessions 2-3 times per week to assist in understanding and addressing the underlying issues behind the Amphetamine addiction.
This means understanding how you arrived in addiction in the first place.
For long term abstinence, there is no substitute for:
- Expert help in identifying the underlying patterns behind the amphetamine addiction
- How addiction affected you personally
- Factors in your life which have enabled your addiction, or allowed it to continue
- Practical tools and ways to avoid future relapse, in light of these insights
You’ll be assigned to an individual case manager in the clinic, a member of our addictions team who’s assigned to look after you, throughout your stay.
Together you’ll complete individual one-to-one sessions, 2-3 times a week, to help augment the therapeutic gains you’ve made, and put in place a structured aftercare plan, custom to you.
Aftercare planning includes taking account of both your practical recovery (what will my day to day life in recovery be like?), as well as emotional supports to help you stay addiction-free, like working with a sponsor, attending specialist local groups, and additional counselling options, if required.
- What detox will I receive for amphetamines?
Since there is no widely used amphetamine-based detox medication associated with amphetamine treatment, our medical team will decide upon an appropriate approach for your needs, tailored to any individual symptoms you’re experiencing.
- How long does amphetamine treatment last?
In most cases we strongly suggest an amphetamine detox and treatment period of 28 days as anything less is unlikely to allow sufficient progress on the underlying psychological areas of addiction, to deliver long term gains.
- Can I return to low use of amphetamine in future?
No. Our clinic advocates an abstinence based approach which means you are expected to stay drug-free for life.
- What does amphetamine treatment cost?
Costs of amphetamine treatment depend on your duration of stay, and your needs.
Abbeybot below can give you instant personalised pricing.
This will be subject to agreement from our medical and admissions teams, and depends on individual factors we evaluate during your initial call with us.
- What should I expect from amphetamine detox & rehab?
We’ll help you detox comfortably, safely, and with our support.
Our staff are experienced in addiction and know the landscape well.
They will help you to look honestly at your behaviours, thoughts, and feelings in addiction, in order to help you recover.
Recovery from amphetamine addiction is a team sport and you’ll have lots of support around you on this journey to redefine yourself, without addiction.
- What happens when I admit to the clinic?
We’ll get you settled in to your room, you’ll then meet with your assigned case manager initially, and our clinical team will have an initial chat and prepare your amphetamine detox medication, if appropriate.
Our specialist team will support you through the first few days of detox, thereafter you can normally begin attending therapeutic sessions comfortably.
Therapeutic work, 12 step sessions, and the remainder of the program continue throughout your stay.
We have a daily agenda in the clinic, which you’ll be taking part in.
At this stage you’ll be making gains in therapy, and beginning to restructure your new life, in recovery.
- What are the success rates for amphetamine treatment?
Long term abstinence rates will depend on your ability to follow through on aftercare treatment, identify problems as they arise, and seek support to address them.
We’ll help you understand your addiction, and construct a comprehensive aftercare plan, but the individual must follow through on this, for best long term results.
- How quickly can I arrange detox and admission?
When you ring, we’ll take you through a few questions and you can usually be admitted within 24hrs, subject to availability. Contact us to get started.