The objective of this article is to point out the effects and dangers of amphetamines.
By: Susan Adams, M. Ed.
Summary: Amphetamines are the stimulants that excite the central nervous system. In high doses, euphoria is present and, as the dose wears off, depression can follow. Amphetamines have been found in diet pills and taken as such for many adults who experienced many negative consequences. The drugs are dangerous and can cause psychosis.
The amphetamines, which excite the central nervous system, produce an increase in alertness and activity. A high dose produces an extreme feeling of euphoria or pleasure and sometimes this occurs with lower doses. The drugs are synthetics and the most common are (Benzedrine), dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine) and methamphetamine (Methedrine). These drugs are swallowed in the form of “pep pills”. Methamphetamine (“speed”) comes in liquid form and may be injected. Pills as well may be dissolved to make them injectable and this is also called ‘speed”.
The drugs of this nature create a feeling of energy and alertness that cover up fatigue and sleepiness. This means that they may be taken by students who want to stay awake to study and all-night drivers as well as other people wanting to avid fatigue. They also may be legally prescribed to people who want to reduce their weight. Amphetamines increase the heart rate, raise blood pressure, and may cause restlessness, excitement, and palpitations. They dilate the eye pupils, dry out the mouth, cause headache, diarrhea, and paleness.
Amphetamines do not lead to physical dependence except that it takes larger and larger doses to feel the effects. This is more a tolerance issue. However, there is a psychological dependence that occurs with people who use “uppers” that requires them to use the drug compulsively in order to ‘keep going”.
This group of drugs is dangerous. Even small and infrequent doses of amphetamines can produce destructive effects. These effects can include restlessness, anxiety, mood swings, panic, disturbances of the heart and blood circulation, paranoid thoughts, hallucinations, convulsions, and coma. Since fatigue is masked but not overcome, long physical exertion may result in extreme exhaustion and disorientation which can lead to accidents.
Heavy users, especially someone who is a “speed freak” who is injecting methamphetamine for its extraordinary thrill effect during a “run” that may go on for days, are likely to suffer brain damage that results in speech disturbances and mental confusion. If an unsterile needle is used for injections, serious infection and abscess can result. Also, injected overdoses have resulted in death. Amphetamine psychosis with paranoia and bizarre behavior has sometimes included violence to the user and others. Amphetamines remain in the body for some time and frequent use of even small amounts may result in psychosis.
Slang terms for amphetamines include: Pep pills, bennies, speed, dexies, dust , footballs, gold dust, greenies, hearts, meth, oranges, peaches, roses, wakeups, whites, browns, black beauties, and cartwheels.