Amphetamines are very addictive stimulants with an almost mythological status. They are everywhere and not just in the rural areas of the United States. In the modern drug trade, the demand rivals the rage of cocaine in the 1970s and 1980s.
Today, it’s easy to find all kinds of abused amphetamines like Adderall and Benzedrex in the workplace, schools, the playing field, and of course in Hollywood. It’s anywhere that requires a better performance. I’m sure you’ve heard of the epidemic of ADHD over-prescriptions across the nation. How about meth-labs in trailers and motels across the country?
This article will show you the depths of the amphetamine addiction throughout the United States. It will show you in every walk of life stimulants play a part. There are those that mistakenly claim drugs like Adderall are performance enhancers or “smart drugs.” It’s still very prominent white collar drug because of the perceived effect of enhancing focus and discipline. If you’ve been part of any high-energy office environment, you’ve probably run into this over the years.
White Collar Amphetamine Addiction
Most of the time when you hear about amphetamines, people think about crystal meth, Sudafed purchasing restrictions, and the hit show Breaking Bad. It’s true that crystal methamphetamine abuse is one of the most destructive habits in the world. It’s also true stimulants like diet pills are one of the most overprescribed drugs too.
Amphetamines have the stigma of a being a drug consumed by poor people in rural areas. This is a myth at best. Yes, the majority of crystal methamphetamines are created in these rural areas. That’s mainly because many of the chemicals needed to create methamphetamines come from agriculture. Most of the stimulants found in Hollywood, sports, and in the business world are of a slightly different chemical make-up, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.
There are many behavioral enhancements when you first start taking stimulants. For instance, amphetamines help to improve your work performance. In sales jobs, the drug has historically been given to new recruits to enhance their ability to talk fast, dial more customers, and easily forget the constant rejections. It’s popularized and humored in many movies like the Wolf of Wall Street or Boiler Room.
Today, amphetamines like Adderall are the go-to drug for focus, because of the high amount of prescriptions. However, Benzedrine and Methedrine also called “bennies” or “black beauties,” are still around and “enhancing” the performance of athletes in high pressure situations.
My Adderall Abuse a.k.a. “Smart Drugs”
Adderall is a highly abused amphetamine commonly known as a ‘smart drug.’ It’s used to enhance the focus of students and workers all over the world. Bruce Ervin, the 2013 Defensive End for Seattle Seahawks, was suspended for testing positive for it. He believed it helped him focus during high-pressure situations he faced every week on the field.
I can attest to enhanced focus from Adderall specifically being an amazing aid for studying for exams and creating large presentations for work. The amphetamine high, if taken in large doses, produces a euphoria that is tough to match. The only negative thing for me was the withdrawal of habitual users like myself.
Amphetamine treatment and recovery is awful at first. Drugs like Adderall are very helpful in some cases, but you will build a tolerance very quickly. This will undoubtedly make the withdrawal and rehabilitation more difficult.
Amphetamine withdrawal for me was brutal. When I weaned off Adderall, I experienced flu-like symptoms for a few days after quitting then relapsed after 12 hours. Weaning myself off Adderall was impossible and I finally had to seek professional help to ease the withdrawal symptoms. The tapering protocol they prescribed was much gentler than the almost cold-turkey attempts I had tried.
In my own personal experience, Adderall was a significant help for me in school. After long nights of drinking or all-night study sessions, popping an “addy” was an amazing help with focusing. They were so readily available, I could simply walk up and down my dormitory asking a few of my neighbors until I found one.
Dextroamphetamine vs Adderall and The Possibility of a Dual Addiction
Dextroamphetamine is the generic form of Dexedrine, DextroStat, and ProCentra. These stimulants are similar in almost every way except Adderall contains both dextroamphetamine and amphetamines. Stimulant abusers consistently confuse these drugs and use them to stay up late, lose weight, or become euphoric.
A habitual user will notice a difference between the two drugs. It’s a slight difference, but enough to differentiate. This could cause the user to prefer one to the other, or cause a dual dependency.
Considering the similarities of the drugs, they will cause the same amphetamine side effects to the user like headaches, dry mouth, weight loss, and restlessness. The added ingredient in Adderall creates more possibilities for side effects. The NLM says, Adderall will also cause vomiting, nervousness, stomach pain, difficulty breathing and motor tics. If any of these symptoms become obvious, consult your doctor immediately.
Speed for Weight Loss
Some amphetamines side effects are reduced hunger, a higher heart rate, and an increased amount of energy for workouts to promote weight loss. This isn’t as common anymore, but during the 1980s and 1990s taking stimulants to lose weight was a commonly prescribed practice. All you had to do was go to a clinic and say you wanted to lose weight and your doctor would give you the dosages you needed to lose a few pounds every week.
The amphetamines speed up your heart rate and increase your energy to work out. They also decrease your appetite to promote a calorie deficiency and help you lose weight. The problems arise after you hit your target goal and get off the stimulants. The hunger comes surging back and so does the weight.
Another amphetamine side effect is twitching or shaking of the hands and legs when off the drug. When on the drug, everything is seemingly normal. However, when the addict begins to wean off of the stimulant they become irritable, aggressive, and may start to tremble uncontrollably.
Many patients decide to continue with their amphetamine addiction to maintain their weight. This will inevitably cause severe damage to the digestive organs and the brain. The withdrawal symptoms from “diet pills” are very aggressive for long-time users. Following a tapering schedule and seeking professional help is a must for habitual abusers.
Amphetamine Addiction Touches All Walks Of Life
In 1962, the FDA estimated that more than “200 million amphetamine pills were in circulation in the United States alone.” There was a staggering increase in the last decade. After rethinking the treatment and over-prescribing these drugs to millions. Many doctors are looking for alternatives to treat ADD & ADHD.
An Addictive Affair with a Lethal Combination
As famous and beautiful as Marilyn Monroe was, she was a victim of the deadly combination of barbiturates and amphetamines. Many people take these doctor recommended prescriptions to deal with anxiety and improve focus.
Allegedly, after a two failed movies, Marilyn began abusing amphetamines, barbiturates, and opioids to cope with her depression and bipolar episodes. It seems her fear of losing her stardom became a real possibility for her and she didn’t know how to properly cope with her feelings.
Her stimulant abuse ultimately led to her death. She was found dead in her Brentwood, Los Angeles home, at the age of 36. The police found an assortment of amphetamines and barbiturates next to her bed including, Amytal, Dexedrine, and methamphetamine.
Combining amphetamines and alcohol was a common thing for Marilyn. This combination with the other prescriptions pills she consistently took formed a severe addiction and ultimately a deadly overdose.
Dexedrine Abuse in Major League Baseball
Soldiers during World War II used amphetamines to stay awake, be more alert, and less anxious under fire. The army gave the soldiers many stimulants for the war effort, but when the men returned they brought their addictions back with them.
Many of the soldiers were Major League Baseball players. When they put their cleats back on, many of the ball players continued their amphetamine addiction. Dexedrine and Benzedrine were the most popular forms of stimulants back then, but today uppers seem to be making an appearance back in the limelight for some on the field.
Back in 2016, Kameron Loe and Stephen Dezzi both tested positive for two forms amphetamines abuse and the league considers these drugs as performance enhancers. They claimed the drugs improved their focus and reduced anxiety in big games. Considering their line of work, handling their nerves is essential to their success.
These athletes both checked into amphetamine rehab to overcome their addiction, but athletes are always looking for ways to improve their performance and help their team. If the opportunity exists, they will take anything if they believe they have a chance of getting away with it.
Deadly Crystal Methamphetamine Side Effects
One of the most dangerous and popularly known forms of abused amphetamines is crystal meth. It’s commonly made in meth labs all across the nation using items you can easily find at your local hardware or drug store.
The cheap chemicals methamphetamines are made from make the drug highly addictive for any user. The labs themselves are known to be dangerous because of the toxic fumes and the highly explosive possibility. They make the news quite a bit, and the penalty for operating one or owning the property for is very steep. Meth is one of the most destructive drugs a person can take.
Amphetamine side effects include: aggressive changes in abuser’s physical appearance within a matter of months if seriously abused. Many users lose their teeth, drop significant amounts of weight, and are simply sometimes unrecognizable after 6 months of abuse. The addiction to methamphetamine is so strong the occurrence of overdose is almost imminent.
Amphetamines abuse will cause a variety of issues for a habitual user. They are almost everywhere you can think. One you might not remember is Benzedrex inhalers. They provide temporary relief for nasal congestion by constricting the blood vessels in the nose. The ease of acquiring the nasal spray and the quick high contributed to the widespread abuse.
Another seemingly odd case of this drug is amphetamine salts or “bath salts.” There was an incident in Florida where a bath salt addict was attacking police officers and withstanding the gunshots like her was superhuman. The false sense of power is a part of a severe addiction to these deadly substances.
All amphetamine addiction is a way to cope with something we are not dealing with appropriately. Many people have social anxiety and rely on these kinds of drugs to “take the edge off” before a big meeting or sometimes to have a good time at a party. Knowing your tendencies and understanding how you react in certain situations is a key element in creating health in all areas of your life.
When faced with the burden of depression or anxiety, turning to drugs like amphetamines for treatment may seem like a logical and sometimes doctor prescribed choice. Many people are doing it and it will appear that it is the right thing to do, but it’s not. The best thing you can do is face your fears without the help of a narcotic.
The worst thing you can do is think you cannot get help for amphetamine addiction. It took me a long time to recognize the fake story I was telling myself, and the reasons why I needed to take Adderall. You don’t have to make the same mistakes I made. Get help and learn as much as you can about addiction. For more information on stimulant addiction, check out this link on Concerta and Ritalin.