What Is An Amphetamine?

What is an amphetamine exactly? First synthesized in 1887 by a German chemist named L. Edeleano, the stimulating effects of amphetamine drugs were not discovered until the 1930s. Once the discovery that amphetamine drugs had a stimulating effect on the human body, these substances were adapted and marketed to be used as a form of a nasal inhaler, to help relieve congestion. The use of amphetamine drugs grew rapidly as the drug was prescribed to aid in everything from nausea experienced in pregnancy, to depression. It was inexpensive, easy to access, and had long-lasting effects like no other drug on the market at that time. Unfortunately, it was not without consequences, as amphetamines were later found to be highly addictive substances.

If you or someone you love is addicted to amphetamines, please call SJRP at 833-397-3422 to learn about our Florida addiction and recovery center.

In those early days, medical professionals did not think the drug was a risk for addiction. Thus, oral and intravenous methods for using the drug were developed, and derivatives of the amphetamine were also made to aid in therapeutic processes. It was not until the 1960s and 70s that addiction to the drug began to arise, as it was discovered, that when injected, the drug worked much faster, creating a fast onset of euphoria in patients. The 1980s began to see the true increase of addiction to amphetamines, and the problems that came with it. Now the real question is, what type of drug is amphetamines?

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Amphetamine Definition

Amphetamines are a central nervous system stimulant that affects certain types of brain activity. Amphetamines, by definition, are known to increase energy levels, concentration, confidence, and (at times) feelings of euphoria. The drug is a multifaceted “boost” to the brain. Amphetamines are classified as a Schedule II class substance, as its potential for addiction is high.

What is Amphetamine Used For?

Since its early days, amphetamine use has been widely varied. What amphetamines are used for medically, is to treat everything from morning sickness in pregnancy, to depression, or help World War II soldiers boost their energy levels and focus. Today, amphetamines are commonly used to treat:

  • Narcolepsy – A condition in which people fall asleep suddenly
  • Hyperactivity – In younger individuals, also referred to as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Amphetamines are also still used to treat depression at times. Although this is much less frequently done today. Amphetamines are used to increase brain activity, as they activate receptors in the brain that stimulate chemicals in the human body, such as dopamine and norepinephrine. Stimulating the human mind to such responses as:

  • Increased concentration
  • Increased energy levels
  • Increased confidence

So, what is amphetamines used for “recreationally”? The answer is for their ability to boost feelings of euphoria. Recreational use can also suppress appetite, resulting in weight loss. But uses outside of professional treatment can result in addverse effects and symptoms, including addiction.

Amphetamine Street Names

Amphetamine addiction and abuse has led to the drug adopting new names, slang, or street terms. This is done in order for amphetamine users to acquire or discuss the drug, with limited risk of discovery from “wandering” ears. These names or terms can vary depending on region or type of amphetamine being used. But, here is a list of amphetamine drugs street names we know of right now:

  • Bennies
  • Black Beauties
  • Speed
  • Eye Openers
  • Copilots
  • Pep Pills
  • Uppers
  • Lid Poppers
  • White Crosses
  • Wake Ups
  • Dexies
  • Crank
  • Chalk
  • Chris
  • Christy
  • Crystal
  • Crystal Meth
  • Meth
  • Go
  • Go Fast
  • Zip
  • Ice
  • Glass
  • Whip
  • Goey
  • Shards

Street names of combined amphetamine and other drugs:

  • Speedballs (methamphetamine and heroin)
  • Goofballs (amphetamines and barbiturates)

Street names associated with amphetamine users:

  • Speeders
  • Speed Freaks
  • Speed Run (referencing the increased use of amphetamines over the course of a week)

What Does Amphetamine Look Like?

Like other types of drugs that can be used both medically and “recreationally”, amphetamines can come in a wide variety of “looks”. Leaving family and loved ones to wonder, what does an amphetamine look like? Amphetamines can look like a powder, tablet, crystal, or capsule. And they can be delivered in plastic balloons, aluminum foil, or plastic bags when sold illegally.

Amphetamine powders themselves can range in color. It also tends to be bitter in taste, and smells very strong. Typical shades of color for amphetamine powder are:

  • White
  • Brown
  • Traces of Grey
  • Traces of Pink

Amphetamines in pill or capsule form are much harder to identify, as they come in a large variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Most typically, these types of pills are either round or football shapes though, and come in shades of pink, white, and blue. Although it is important to remember that these pills can look differently as well. Illegal amphetamines can also come mixed or laced with other types of drugs, or other binding agents like sugar and caffeine.

Types of Amphetamines

There are many different types of amphetamines. Some are types of prescription amphetamines, others amphetamine type stimulants. Prescription amphetamines are made and distributed in order to aid those who commonly experience ADHA related symptoms, narcolepsy, and sometimes depression. Any other type of this distributed stimulant, are used predominantly for their potential euphoric side effects, or “recreational” use. As of today there are many types of amphetamines that are medically prescribed including (but not limited to):

Some of these are also abused types of amphetamines, used for their ability to stimulate euphoria, concentration, or other pleasure receptors in the brain. The list above focuses on amphetamine or amphetamine drug types sold medicinally in the United States, although other countries in the world have been kno2n to distribute their own brands of amphetamines as well.

Side Effects of Amphetamine Use

The potential side effects of amphetamine use are wide and varied. Their intensity can fluctuate, and symptomes can range from short-term effects, to long-term effects and issues. The most severe potential amphetamine side effect is addiction. But, there can be other unpleasant repercussions to using the drug – whether medically or illicitly.

Short-Term Effects of Amphetamines

Along with the potential for addiction, amphetamines effects can jump start other medically hazardous issues within the human body. Short term effects of amphetamines can include:

  • High body temperature
  • Cardiovascular failure
  • Hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Irregular or increased heart rate
  • Increased diastolic / systolic blood pressure
  • Increased activity / talkativeness
  • Euphoria
  • Heightened sense of well-being
  • Decreased fatigue / drowsiness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased respiration
  • Heightened alertness / energy
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe painful menstruation (in women)
  • Palpitations
  • Altered sexual behavior
  • Tremor / twitching of small muscles
  • Release of social inhibitions
  • Unrealistic feelings of cleverness, great competence, and power

The short-term side effects of amphetamines, or amphetamine side effects short term results, are sometimes very similar to those of cocaine. These effects are quickly felt after use, normally within 30 minutes of administration to the system. But the “highs” of amphetamine drug use never last very long.

Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines

Long term effects of amphetamine use can be severe, unpleasant, and potentially life-threatening or leading into addiction. Typically, the amphetamines’ side effects long term only occur with long term use, but side effects can be unpredictable. The frequency and severity of side effects also depends on the individual person. Not every amphetamine user will experience the exact same effects as another. Common amphetamine side effects after long term use can include (but are not limited to):

  • Toxic psychosis
  • Physiological disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Dizziness
  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Mood swings
  • Severe fatigue
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Repetitive motor activity or twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Weight loss
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Verbal tics
  • Hallucinating
  • Coma
  • Ulcers
  • Malnutrition
  • Mental illness
  • Skin disorders
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Flush or pale skin
  • Loss of coordination

Both long and short term side effects of amphetamine use can affect either the brain or motor skills. Both the psyche and physical body suffer from abuse of these types of drugs, and can end in life-threatening circumstances.

Dangers of Heavy Amphetamine Use

The dangers of heavy amphetamine use are many. There is the potential to develop any and all short and long term side effects, that could lead up to addiction and life-threatening circumstances. Within those short and long term effects are the very real physical and psychological dangers that could surface, as a result of using amphetamines heavily. These risks can have mild or severe repercussions.

Physical dangers of heavy amphetamine use: can include (but are not limited to):

  • Low blood pressure
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapide or erratic heart rate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Acne
  • Rash
  • Hives
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Increased pain during menstruation
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon (reduced blood flow to the extremities)
  • Blurred or impaired vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Verbal tics
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle twitching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Nosebleed
  • Sweating
  • Congestion
  • Seizures
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Psychological dangers of heavy amphetamine use can include (but are not limited to):

  • Increased alertness and focus
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Apprehension
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in libido
  • Exaggerated sense of one’s own importance
  • Obsessive behaviors
  • Excessive energy
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations

And of course, as we made mention of before, addiction is always possible with this drug as well. And severity or frequency of any and all of these symptoms vary depending on the individual who has been abusing amphetamines for an extended amount of time. Onset of these symptoms may vary as well, depending on how many amphetamines have been taken, what they have been taken with, and pre-existing psychological or physical factors present within the user.

How Long Do Amphetamines Stay in Your System?

So, there remains the question, how long do amphetamines stay in your system? Different types of amphetamines have the potential to linger in the system for different time frames. They are a type of central nervous system stimulant, that can be orally or intravenously enter the system, and at times be snorted. They have a fast acting working time, generally producing a “high” within 30 minutes of use.

Generally, amphetamines remain in the human system for around two to five days. Of course, the rate in which amphetamines metabolize can vary depending on the individual factors of the human system, and the drug brand itself. The amphetamine half-life, relies on some of the very same factors, and only lasts around 9 to 11 hours.  Yet, different types of testing can be done in order to determine whether an individual has been using or abusing this type of drug. These tests include urine tests, blood tests, saliva tests, sweat specimens, and even hair follicle analysis.

  • How Long Do Amphetamines Stay In Your Blood:
  • Amphetamines blood levels can remain detectable for 4 to 6 hours following use. This type of testing, along with other blood tests for drugs, has a limited shelf life, but can actually help doctors determine whether or not the amphetamines that were used were controlled in their nature (medical prescription) or abused. This is because the blood will reflect the dose taken, by how much of the drug is present in the blood at the time of testing.
  • How Long Do Amphetamines Stay In Your Urine:
  • Amphetamines in urine remain detectable for around 3 days after use for an average prescription user. For frequent amphetamine users though, this timeline can be increased by a day, leaving up to 4 days for amphetamine urine tests to detect the drug in urine samples.
  • How Long Do Amphetamines Stay In Your Hair:
  • The amphetamines in hair drug test can detect how long amphetamines stay in your hair, for up to 90 days following use. This of course depends on the length of the hair itself, and they cannot test for exactly how often or how much of the drug was used, but this type of testing is determined to be one of the most reliable ways to determine amphetamine use or not. Hair tests can be performed 7 to 10 days after intake, as it takes about a week for the drug to circulate into the hair follicles.
  • Many amphetamines using mothers have asked, “how long does amphetamine stay in breastmilk” or “how long does adderall stay in breastmilk”? Amphetamines are not thought to concentrate in breastmilk, although medical professionals advise that mothers wait a period of time before pumping, or attempting to breastfeed their child, if they have used any type of the stimulant. Normally, this period of time is advised to be 24 to 48 hours after the last dose of amphetamines.

Are Amphetamines Addictive?

Individuals have often wondered, “are amphetamines addictive”? Or, is amphetamine addiction potential high? Amphetamines are central nervous system stimulants with a known high addiction rate. They are easy to use, obtain, and induce a “high” relatively quickly, sending users into a happy, energetic, or euphoric filled state. The highs are never long, and the side effects can be damaging in both mind and body, as well as life-threatening.

If you or a loved one is struggling with amphetamine addiction St. John’s Recovery Place is here to help. Feel free to call a representative to learn more about amphetamines, and amphetamine addiction, or read more on our website.


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