Amphetamines are a type of central nervous system stimulant. They provide a sense of increased wakefulness, energy, attention, concentration, sociability, self-confidence, improved mood, and decreased appetite. They are frequently prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in both children and adults. Amphetamines appears to have a calming effect on individuals with ADHD and sometimes afternoon sleepiness has been observed in adults with the condition. Amphetamines are also used to treat narcolepsy, treatment resistant depression and obesity. When overused these medications can be addictive. Additionally, some individuals without ADHD may use amphetamines during times when high levels of productivity are required. The increase in the ability to perform and accompanying psychosocial effects often leads these individuals to continue taking amphetamines even after the demand for productivity has passed.
Causes of Amphetamines Dependence
Genetic: If you have a parent with an amphetamine use problem, it is possible you inherited a susceptibility to develop the same disorder. In addition, temperament, the inherited building blocks of personality, can predispose you to develop a problem with amphetamine use. Individuals who are open to novelty, are curious and frequently experiment with ways to increase happiness, prefer feeling overactive rather than underactive, and have difficulties coping with delayed gratification are more likely than their peers to develop an amphetamine use disorder
Brain Chemistry: In the brain, amphetamines cause the release of chemicals called catecholamines, in particular dopamine. The effects of dopamine are especially strong in areas of the brain responsible for producing pleasure, which is known as the “reward pathway.” The effect produced on this pathway heavily contributes to addicting quality of amphetamines.
Social: Many people begin taking amphetamines to lose weight. In today’s society we still are bombarded with images suggesting the ideal body type is thin. For girls, their self-image is largely affected by body perception. During puberty when it is natural for girls to gain weight, they often diet. When they reach a point when they can’t seem to lose more weight and feel weak due to lack nutrition, many discover amphetamines. For boys, body image is also important and male models are also thin. In addition, many boys engage in sports that require a lower body weight such as track or a sport where lower weight will give them an advantage such as wrestling where losing a few extra pounds will put them at the top of the next lower weight class. For both males and females, amphetamines also provide the added benefit of increasing energy and performance.
Another social cause of amphetamine use disorders are factors related to comfort in social interactions. Many people in the US experience social anxiety. Amphetamines can make people feel more comfortable interacting in social situations and become more talkative.
Life Stressors and Lack of Coping Strategies: Many men’s and women’s lives are filled with real or perceived stressors that appear to build up with no end in sight. Some individuals have difficulty tolerating stress due to never having learned adequate coping strategies. Even for individuals who have coping skills to rely upon, when experiencing numerous, uncontrollable stressors over a period of time, the sense that they have no ability to alter the occurrence of these stressful life circumstances leads to a state of helplessness. Some of these individuals begin taking amphetamines to escape from the world for a while, and upon discovering how better things appear to be and how much more tolerable stress seems, continue taking the substance until an addiction develops
Employment Factors: Todays world has become extremely fast paced, and frequent technological advances can increase stress levels for those who aren’t able to keep up. Many of these individuals feel unable to compete for or keep the better jobs currently trending in our society. Additionally, in addition to job related factors, the ability to fit in and be perceived as a team player or maintain the persona of the boss also adds to the stress of remaining competitive in today’s job market. In order to increase energy, alertness, concentration, self-confidence and sociability, many individuals will begin taking Amphetamines. The addiction process in this situation is often rapid due to the fast acting nature of the substance and positive effects experienced in areas many people want to improve. Over time, the psychological addiction surpasses the physical one, as any success achieved is attributed to the effects of the drug not the capabilities of the individual.