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Free, independent and confidential advice from a clinician on all aspects of amphetamine addiction, withdrawal, detox, rehab, admission,
counselling, therapy, cost and location.
What are amphetamines?
Amphetamines are drugs that are known as psycho stimulants. This means that they speed messages traveling between the brain and the body. Because of this action, they are often prescribed for conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy. They are also used to treat Parkinsons disease. Outside of prescribed use they are often used as performance enhancing drugs and to stay awake. The most potent form is Crystal Methamphetamine, also known as ICE.
How do they work?
Amphetamines work in the brain by raising the level of certain chemicals, known as neurotransmitters. These, in turn, affect a number of both psychological and physical processes. This can include cognition (concentration, perception, learning, memory and attention) as well as motivation,appetite,mood and flight or fight response.
Amphetamines act as both a psychedelic and a stimulant. This means that they produce a potent energizing effect but also provide a distorted reality for the user: time and perceptions are altered so there is significantly enhanced enjoyment of tactile experiences. It gives the user a high and can enhance sexual pleasure.
It is not uncommon for tablets to be mixed with other illicit substances.
How is it made?
Amphetamines are synthesized in laboratories. For the European market, a large amount comes from the Netherlands.
What is it known as on the streets?
As with all drugs, it is known by various names and slang terms, among them:
* lovers speed
What does it look like?
Amphetamines are usually sold in tablet form and it is common for them to have logos on them. It can also be taken in a liquid or powdered form. Some people inject it.
While some people take one tablet at a time, others will "stack" by taking three or more tablets at a time. Some pay "piggy back" by taking one, waiting a short time, taking another, and so on. Others, especially younger people, will mix LSD with Amphetamines, a practice known as candy flipping.
Amphetamines mainly affects brain cells that use Serotonin to communicate. This chemical is responsible for regulating mood, sexual activity, sleep and responses to pain.
Long term effects
Clinical studies suggest that amphetamines have the potential to increase the risk of permanent, if not long term, learning and memory. This can take the form of:
* increased sensitivity to touch
* increased energy levels
* need for continued mental stimulation
* heightened sexual arousal
It can also cause psychological effects such as:
* sleep disturbance
* craving for more
How fast does it take effect?
Normally, amphetamines take between thirty to forty five minutes to start working and the effects can be up to six hours. However, it can take weeks for the effects to come on and equally as long to disappear.
What physical effects do amphetamines have on the users body?
It is not uncommon for users to experience a raft of physical symptoms including, among others:
* Extreme restlessness and agitation
* increased heart rate
* heightened blood pressure
* teeth grinding
* muscle cramps
* flu like symptoms
* seeing double
* Extreme raise in body temperature which can lead to fatality
* Long term inability to feel pleasure
* dilutional hyponatremia (drinking more water than the body can cope with)
What does withdrawal from amphetamines look like?
There are two established phases of withdrawal. The first is known as the crash phase and occurs as soon as the stimulant effects wear off (between two to six hours).
The signs of a crash phase are:
* excessive sleeping
* low mood (and possibly some irritability in the initial phase)
This can last for 24-48 hours and then, for the next 4-5 days:
* irritability,depression and an inability to experience pleasure
* Excessive tiredness
* poor sleep
* cravings for more amphetamines
* psychotic symptoms: These may emerge during the first or second week , especially if psychotic symptoms were present during use. In these instances, hospitalization may be needed.
How is amphetamine dependency treated in a residential treatment centre?
There are no recognized medication regimes that will alleviate the symptoms of Amphetamine withdrawal. However, adjunctive medication will , usually, be offered to minimize withdrawal symptoms. It is not uncommon to prescribe both benzodiazepines and small doses of anti-psychotics to help someone through the first few days. However, ordinarily, this should be kept to a minimum and for no longer than ten days. Modafinil and Mirtazapine can also be of use.
Benefits of residential treatment
As with all admissions, a comprehensive and holistic pre-admission assessment, carried out by an experienced clinician in addictions can help to frame a comprehensive and effective treatment plan. Information sharing between the center and the patients GP (with permission) may be necessary, in some cases.
For the first few days, close medical monitoring, with appropriately trained and experienced staff will help to minimize any potential medical emergencies. As soon as the user is physically able to do so, a fully immersive therapy programme is provided. This is either using a 12 STEP approach or a SMART model: It matters not. Alongside this there are other bolt on therapies that are normally available to those in treatment such as:
* art therapy
* music therapy
* Gentle exercise/group walks
* individual therapy (for those staying in treatment for more than seven days)
Effective discharge planning starts from pre-admission and it is important for the person seeking treatment to be linked in, before leaving treatment, with local support groups as well as, if appropriate, statutory services.
Not all treatment centers are the same and not every person seeking treatment will find every centre a good fit. Like with all healthcare services, there is choice. Firstly, it is essential that anyone looking to book into a centre ensures that there is current registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) . There may also be inspection reports. Always check with the CQC : independently.
Costs vary between centers but that does not mean that a more expensive centre is necessary. Paul has worked, as a clinician, in a wide range of centers and has an excellent relationship with all the established service providers.
Call Paul to discuss your needs so he can give you impartial advice: in total confidence.
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