Amphetamine Effects

What is Amphetamine? Amphetamine is a medication used in the management of narcolepsy and ADHD treatment. It is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. Amphetamine has high misuse/substance abuse potential. All interprofessional team members (clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral therapists) involved in the care of a patient taking amphetamines should monitor closely for signs of medication misuse. […]

What is Amphetamine?

Amphetamine is a medication used in the management of narcolepsy and ADHD treatment. It is classified as a central nervous system stimulant. Amphetamine has high misuse/substance abuse potential. All interprofessional team members (clinicians, nurses, pharmacists, behavioral therapists) involved in the care of a patient taking amphetamines should monitor closely for signs of medication misuse. As a schedule II controlled substance, there are no refills for amphetamine, which may necessitate monthly appointments with the prescribing physician. [1]

Amphetamine Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to amphetamine effects: hives, difficult breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Short Term Effects of Amphetamines

The more common short term side effects that can occur with amphetamine include:

  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Dizziness
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Mood swings

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines

Serious side effects and their symptoms [2] can include the following:

  • Heart problems that can result in sudden death, including stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
    • Weakness in one part or side of your body
    • Slurred speech
    • Pain in your chest, left arm, jaw, or between your shoulders
Amphetamine Effects
Long-term amphetamine effects from misusing the drug can damage the brain and the cardiovascular system and may lead to psychosis, malnutrition, and erratic behavior.
  • Mental health problems such as:
    • New or worsened behavior and thought problems
    • New or worsened bipolar illness
    • New or worsened aggressive behavior or hostility
  • New psychotic symptoms in children and teenagers who have psychiatric problems. These can include:
    • Hearing voices
    • Seeing things that aren’t real
    • Believing things that aren’t true
    • Being suspicious
    • Feeling overexcited
  • Circulation problems. Symptoms can include:
    • Fingers or toes that feel numb, cool, or painful
    • Fingers or toes that change color from pale, to blue, to red
    • Unexplained wounds on your fingers or toes

Amphetamine Effects on Nervous System

Amphetamine effects activate receptors in the brain and increase the activity of a number of neurotransmitters, especially norepinephrine and dopamine. Dopamine is associated with pleasure, movement, and attention.

The Effect of Amphetamines on Weight Control

The amphetamine effects on weight control: are real, but small and limited in duration. is usually to increase weight rather than decrease it.

Amphetamine Effects on Heart

Amphetamines are stimulants that can cause heart effects such as elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and aneurysm rupture, the researchers said.

Amphetamine Use and Mental Health

The use of amphetamines is common among patients with psychiatric disorders, especially in the United States. In animal models, there is sensitization to the rewarding amphetamine effects. Sensitization is also seen in human subjects. There is reason to believe that an earlier psychosis involves a risk of future psychotic episodes due to this sensitization, or possibly to the development of dopaminergic supersensitivity.

Psychosis may be precipitated acutely by amphetamine due to its effects on dopaminergic activity in the CNS. In the longer term, the neurotoxic effects of the drugs on serotonin and dopamine neurons and dopamine transporters may play a role. Amphetamine sensitization seems to cause dysregulation of dopamine by the ventral subiculum. There is an over-expression of the dopamine receptor, subtype 2 (DRD2), and a higher sensitivity of DRD2 to the effects of amphetamines in vulnerable individuals. [3]

Amphetamine Effects
Even if the amphetamine effects have worn off, there may still be amphetamines in your system.

In addition to the increased risk of psychosis following the use of amphetamines in people who have experienced amphetamine-induced psychosis previously, patients with schizophrenia and schizotypal personality traits may more readily become psychotic after the use of amphetamines. Other risk factors for psychosis may include amphetamine use disorders (abuse and dependence), the presence of other psychiatric disorders (primarily attenuated psychosis syndrome, personality disorders, and affective disorders), early cognitive dysfunction (such as those found in the prodromal states of schizophrenia), family history of mental disorder and the use of other drugs like opiates, benzodiazepines, cannabis, and alcoholism.

Amphetamine psychosis may be purely related to high drug usage, or high drug usage may trigger an underlying vulnerability to schizophrenia. There is some evidence that vulnerability to amphetamine psychosis and schizophrenia may be genetically related.

The increased vulnerability for acute amphetamine psychosis seen among those with schizophrenia, schizotypal personality, and, to a certain degree other psychiatric disorders, is also shared by non-psychiatric individuals who previously have experienced amphetamine-induced psychosis. Schizophrenia spectrum disorder and amphetamine-induced psychosis are further linked together by the finding of several susceptibility genes common to both conditions. These genes probably lower the threshold for becoming psychotic and increase the risk for a poorer clinical course of the disease.

Amphetamine Overdose

Amphetamine effects and toxicity generally occur in the setting of recreational use. There is always a high risk for amphetamine overdose due to its addiction potential. The high from amphetamines can make users feel increased amounts of energy, confidence, and a sense of clarity. For these reasons, amphetamines can be very addicting both psychologically as well as physically due to the stimulating effects. This can take a detrimental toll on an individual’s body as there are long-term amphetamine effects of abuse which include damage to nerve cells, seizures, gross psychosis, strokes, and dysrhythmias. [4]

Amphetamine Effects May Interact With Other Medications

Amphetamine oral tablets can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well. To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully.

Treatment Options

Patients acutely intoxicated with amphetamine effects will require chemical and physical restraints to prevent self-harm or harm to others, as these patients can be hostile with severe paranoia. Some life-threatening signs and symptoms need to be addressed on an emergent basis such as trauma, compromised airway, seizures, and any cardiac dysrhythmias.

A patient can be treated with supportive therapy with sedation and observation if there are no life-threatening signs and symptoms. The medications that provide supportive treatment include benzodiazepines for sedation and to control seizures, activated charcoal in some cases if the patient is conscious and able to take it orally as this may help reduce amphetamine absorption in the digestive tract, and fluids to treat dehydration. Death related to amphetamine toxicity is rare; however, the risk of death is higher when a patient uses amphetamines while using or overdosing on other drugs.

Treatments for amphetamine use disorder may include a combination of the following:


If you experience strong drug cravings, you may find it easier to go through amphetamine withdrawal in a hospital setting. Hospitalization may also help if you have negative mood changes, including aggression and suicidal behavior.


Individual counseling, family therapy, and group therapy can help you:

  • Identify the feelings associated with amphetamine use
  • Develop different coping mechanisms
  • Repair relationships with your family
  • Develop strategies to avoid amphetamine use
  • Discover activities you enjoy in place of amphetamine use
  • Get support from others with use disorder as they understand what you’re going through, sometimes in a 12-step treatment program [5]


Your doctor may prescribe medication to ease severe symptoms of withdrawal. Some doctors may prescribe naltrexone to help with your cravings. Your doctor may also prescribe other medications to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, and aggression.

Treatment begins with recognizing there is a problem. Once you decide you want to do something about your drug use, the next step is to get help and support. Treatment programs use behavior change techniques through counseling (talk therapy). The goal is to help you understand your behaviors and why you use amphetamines. Involving family and friends during counseling can help support you and keep you from going back to using (relapsing). [6]

Amphetamine Effects
Over time, the body may come to depend on amphetamine effects just to function normally. 

If you have severe withdrawal symptoms, you may need to stay at an inpatient treatment program. There, your health and safety can be monitored as you recover. At this time, there is no medicine that can help reduce the use of amphetamines by blocking their effects. But, scientists are researching such medicines.

Inpatient drug rehab provides a drug-free place away from obstacles that could trigger your cravings. You typically stay in a treatment center for several weeks and participate in individual and group therapies. If you or a loved one is struggling with amphetamine effects and amphetamine psychosis, We Level Up TX addiction specialists are standing by to help. Contact us today, there’s no obligation and calls are 100% confidential.