Amphetamine use disorders are very varied. Some are manifested in the short term and others can have effects on life. They range from simple intoxication to permanent psychotic disorders.
Amphetamine was first synthesized by L. Eledano, in 1887. However, it was not until 1920 that its stimulation effects on the central nervous system were studied in detail. Such a discovery is due to Gordon Alles.
During Prohibition in the United States, pharmaceutical laboratories brought amphetamine to market with the trade name Benzedrine. Then they circulated a more powerful one called Dexedrine. Only many years later they became controlled substances.
Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that accelerate the functions of the brain and of the whole organism. They circulate in the market illegally in the form of pills, capsules, tablets or powder. They are usually taken orally.
Amphetamines have a structural chemical formula very similar to that of adrenaline. There are two basic amphetamines from which most of the amphetamines that are distributed in the market are derived. These are the original formulas: Benzedrine and Dexedrine.
The most commonly used amphetamine preparations are amphetamine, phentermine, chlorphentermine, and methamphetamine. There have also emerged some compounds derived from the above that are marketed with many names.
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Effects of amphetamine
Amphetamine use disorders derive from the mechanism of action of this drug. These are mainly: an increased release of dopamine, inhibition of serotonin reuptake and increased release of noradrenaline. The main pharmacological effects of amphetamines are the following:
- At the peripheral level. Increased pressure and heart rate. Contraction of the iris and intraocular pressure. A decrease in body secretions and contraction of the bladder sphincter, which makes urination difficult.
- Central nervous system . Increased alertness, greater intellectual and manual performance; decreased the feeling of tiredness, sleepiness, and hunger.
Recent research has shown that the use of amphetamines during adolescence causes permanent brain damage. It basically alters brain areas related to memory and learning ability.
The habitual consumption of amphetamine gives rise to a phenomenon of tolerance. That is, every time you need to consume more of the drug to achieve the same effects. This progressively leads to dependence on this drug.
The main problem with amphetamine use is intoxication by this substance. In this case, the typical symptoms are presented, which are: tachycardia, dilation of the pupil, sweating, nausea, vomiting, agitation or psychomotor retardation, confusion, etc.
Another of the disorders for amphetamine use is the abstention syndrome that occurs when the ingestion of this drug is interrupted. Symptoms include:
- Dysphoric mood.
- Recurring nightmares
- Hypersomnia or insomnia.
- A remarkable increase in appetite.
- Agitation or psychomotor retardation.
Other disorders due to amphetamine use
The habitual and prolonged ingestion causes disorders for consumption of amphetamine of greater severity. The main ones are:
- Delirium due to amphetamine poisoning.
- Psychotic disorder induced by amphetamine.
- Amphetamine-induced anxiety disorder.
- Amphetamine-induced sleep disorder.
- A sexual disorder caused by amphetamine.
- Mood disorder induced by amphetamine.
Amphetamines give rise to persistent alterations at the neurochemical and neuronal levels. They also cause damage to different organs of the body, some of which may become permanent. Among the main adverse effects are:
- Damages at cardiovascular level. They can cause hypertension, severe arrhythmia, angina pectoris and acute myocardial infarction.
- Neurological damage. Cases of vertigo, seizures, and coma have been referenced. Also cerebral hemorrhages, cerebral infarcts, and thrombosis.
- Digestive system . Amphetamines can cause severe toxic hepatitis and impair digestive functions. Decreasing or eliminating the feeling of hunger can lead to anorexia, with continued low weight.
- Violent behavior. It is usual that amphetamines give rise to aggressive sensations that can be translated into violent or dangerous behaviors. Delirious ideas, hallucinations and anguish crisis are relatively common.