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Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine

What are Amphetamines?

Knowing the differentiation of amphetamine vs methamphetamine is helpful for anyone who suffers or has a loved one who suffers from drug addiction. When you suspect someone close to you is struggling with substance abuse, it’s immensely helpful to gain as much knowledge about the potential drug they’re using as possible.

Amphetamines are prescription stimulants that are used to treat Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Used as a study aid, to stay awake, and to suppress appetites. Prescribed as Adderall®, Concerta®, Dexedrine®, Focalin®, Metadate®, Methylin®, Ritalin®. [1] Amphetamines are drugs. They can be legal or illegal. They are legal when they are prescribed by a doctor and used to treat health problems such as obesity, narcolepsy, or ADHD. Unfortunately, the misuse of the drug can lead to substance abuse or amphetamine addiction.

Amphetamine is a DEA Schedule II controlled substance. Substances in the DEA Schedule II have a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

What Kind of Drugs are Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulant drugs. They make the messages between your brain and body move faster. As a result, you are more alert and physically active. Some people use amphetamines to help them stay awake on the job or to study for a test. Others use them to boost their performance in sports.

Amphetamine Addiction
The drugs amphetamine vs methamphetamine are often discussed, but what exactly are the differences between the two?

Types of Illegal Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine

There are different kinds of street amphetamines. Common ones and some of their slang terms are:

  • Amphetamine: goey, louee, speed, uppers, whiz
  • Dextroamphetamine (ADHD medicine used illegally): dexies, kiddie-speed, pep pills, uppers; black beauty (when combined with amphetamine)
  • Methamphetamine (crystal solid form): base, crystal, d-meth, fast, glass, ice, meth, speed, whiz, pure, wax
  • Methamphetamine (liquid form): leopard’s blood, liquid red, ox blood, red speed

Illegal amphetamines come in different forms:

  • Pills and capsules
  • Powder and paste
  • Crystal
  • Liquid

They can be used in different ways:

  • Swallowed
  • Dabbed onto the gums
  • Inhaled through the nose (snorted)
  • Injected into a vein (shooting up)
  • Smoked

What are Some Examples of Amphetamines

Prescription stimulants are used to treat Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Used as a study aid, to stay awake, and to suppress appetites. Prescribed as Adderall®, Concerta®, Dexedrine®, Focalin®, Metadate®, Methylin®, Ritalin®.

Amphetamine products such as Adderall, Dexedrine, and their generic equivalents are currently approved by the USFDA for long-term therapeutic use. Recreational use of amphetamine generally involves much larger doses, which have a greater risk of serious adverse drug effects than dosages used for therapeutic purposes.

What are Methamphetamines?

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that may affect your central nervous system. Although medications have proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of methamphetamine. Also, there is no medication yet to prolong the abstinence from meth or to reduce the misuse of the drug. Evidently, the most effective meth addiction treatment at this point are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency management interventions. [2]

The methamphetamine drug is also known as meth, blue, ice, and crystal. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Meth can also be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative consequences, including addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use and accompanied by functional and molecular changes in the brain.

What are the Ingredients in Methamphetamine

Unlike drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, which are derived from plants, meth can be manufactured using a variety of store-bought chemicals.

The most common ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, commonly found in cold medicine.  Through a cooking process, the pseudoephedrine or ephedrine is chemically changed into meth.  The ingredients that are used in the process of making meth can include ether, paint thinner, Freon®, acetone, anhydrous ammonia, iodine crystals, red phosphorus, drain cleaner, battery acid, and lithium (taken from inside batteries). 

Other similarities of Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine include the effects they give a user and how the central nervous system becomes more active.

Meth is often manufactured or “cooked” in very crude laboratories.  Many of these labs are not sophisticated operations and do not require sophisticated chemistry equipment.  And the people who cook the meth usually do not have any chemistry training.  Cooking meth is relatively simple, but highly dangerous and toxic. [3]

There are two basic categories of meth labs:

Superlabs produce large quantities of meth and supply organized drug trafficking groups that sell the drug in communities across the U.S. Most of the larger labs are controlled by Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations operating in the U.S. and Mexico.

Small Toxic Labs produce smaller quantities of meth.  These labs can be set up in homes, motel rooms, inside automobiles, and in parks or rural areas — really almost anywhere.

What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine

As is the case with many drugs, tolerance to methamphetamine’s pleasurable effects develops when it is taken repeatedly. Abusers often need to take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or change how they take it in an effort to get the desired effect. Chronic methamphetamine abusers may develop difficulty feeling any pleasure other than that provided by the drug, fueling further abuse. Withdrawal from methamphetamine occurs when a chronic abuser stops taking the drug; symptoms of meth withdrawal include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug. [4]

Most users try to maintain the high by taking more of the drug. In some cases, people indulge in a form of binging known as a “run,” foregoing food and sleep while continuing to take the drug for up to several days. [5]

The short-term effects of meth according to the SAMHSA [6] includes the following:

  • Even taking small amounts of meth can cause harmful health effects such as irritability
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature
  • Faster breathing
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite, disturbed sleep patterns, or nausea
  • Erratic, aggressive, or violent behavior

Drug abuse of meth can lead to many damaging, long-term health risks, even when people stop taking meth, including:

  • Permanent damage to the heart and brain
  • High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes, and death
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Anxiety, confusion, and insomnia
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, or violent behavior (psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after meth use)
  • Intense itching, causing skin sores from scratching
  • Premature osteoporosis
  • Severe dental problems 

Differentiation of Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine vs amphetamines? they both hold Schedule II controlled substance categorization by the D.E.A. However, doctors prescribe amphetamines for specific conditions.

Amphetamines work for patients with ADHD, particularly in children. However, abuse is both risky and harmful for each. They provide similar side effects like central nervous system stimulants, but meth also causes teeth grinding, dental decay, headaches, tremors, blurry vision, constipation, and dizziness. Long-term effects are similar, with meth adding to the list psychosis, skin infections, and permanent brain damage.

Both amphetamine and methamphetamine drugs make their way to the streets for sale and are both used recreationally. People will buy meth for its high, and amphetamines for weight loss or study focus. However, there is no safe means of using either of these drugs without a doctor’s supervision.

What are the Similarities, Amphetamines vs Methamphetamines?

Amphetamines vs methamphetamine? they are both stimulant drugs. They speed up the information traveling between your brain and the rest of your body. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that in the short-term, both can make you feel:

  • Intense pleasure or happiness
  • More active and talkative
  • Less hungry

Which is More Deadly: Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine Addiction?

When it comes to amphetamines vs methamphetamines on addiction potential, both carry a significant amount of risk. Both drugs result in unnaturally high levels of dopamine output which inherently puts users at risk of developing tolerance and dependence (not to mention the risk of overdose, and other consequences such as respiratory issues, health problems, and severe dental damage). However, the increased potency of crystal meth also makes addiction to it even more dangerous compared to addiction to prescription amphetamines. 

Knowing the differentiation of amphetamine vs methamphetamine is helpful for anyone who might have either impacting their life. 

Get Help Now

Clearing amphetamine vs methamphetamine from the body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms is the goal of detox, which is the first step of treatment for meth addiction. [7] Here at We Level Up TX, a comprehensive team prescribing medications can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours during the detox. We prioritize your safety and comfort because this is a fragile and challenging time for you.

Once detox is complete, a new doorway in treatment opens up, which is referred to as a residential level of care. Our residential care program slowly and effectively introduces the individual into an atmosphere of therapeutic growth, marked by master’s level therapists, clinicians, group counselors, psychiatrists, and a community of like-minded individuals with the same aim: to attain sobriety and live a great life.

Some of the many modalities applied and practiced within our residential treatment facility are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • 12-Step Groups
  • Group Therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Alumni Support
  • Stabilization
  • Holistic Therapy

Our treatment tailors the program to the individual and the individual to the program of recovery. We begin by assessing our client’s history of mental health, drugs, and alcohol-related past. The needs of each client are specific and personalized because we aim to provide comprehensive support for mental health, addiction, and dual diagnosis treatment. Our supportive environment is designed accordingly to give patients 24-hour care for sobriety. Most importantly, we hope to have our clients live comfortably within the facility during this crucial and fragile time.

We prioritize removing temptations for amphetamine vs methamphetamine relapse and applying an air of recovery into every component of the treatment timeline, including meth addiction treatment. At We Level Up TX, we find that when clients are living in a supportive community, especially during their early recovery process, they can truly focus on what matters most: their recovery.

Above all, if you or a loved one is struggling with Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine, reach out to us because we may be able to help you explore treatment options.


[1] Amphetamines – the United States Drug Enforcement Administration
[2] Methamphetamine – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[4] What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine misuse? – National Institute on Drug Abuse
[5] Meth – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)
[6] Methamphetamine Misused – National Institute on Drug Abuse