Amphetamines are often referred to as speed, and a prescription form of the drug is Adderall, which is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. People without those conditions who take speed will experience an intense high that increases their ability to perform and concentrate. While amphetamines might seem to have short term benefits, they have serious long term consequences. Here’s a look at some of the long term effects of amphetamines.
Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines on the Body
A lot of the short-term side effects of amphetamines will become more persistent and acute with long term use. Long term users may more often experience things like dizziness, headaches, rapid breathing, and blurred vision. They will also have weakened immune systems, which increases their risk of catching a virus or infection.
Amphetamines raise a user’s blood pressure and heart rate, so over time they may have damage to their heart and its blood vessels, which increases their risk of heart disease, heart attack, and cardiac arrhythmias. There is also an increased risk of seizures, coma, and death.
Ulcers are often common in long term speed users. Sometimes users will experience feelings of crawling skin, which will cause them to pick at their skin. They might have permanent scarring because of this. Other physical side effects are related to how a person uses speed. If they inject it, they have an increased risk of infection, scarring at the injection sites, and contracting diseases like HIV or Hepatitis C. If they snort it, they can cause damage to their nasal passageways and have a persistent runny or stuffy nose.
Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines on the Brain
Long term use of amphetamines can cause permanent damage to the brain cells, and this can have a variety of effects. Amphetamine psychosis is one of the most severe; it resembles schizophrenia and occurs when users take high doses of speed, because their brains become poisoned by the large amount of the drug. This generally subsides after a few days, but psychosis can also occur for a longer period of time or permanently, depending on the person and how much of the drug they use.
Long term effects of amphetamines also include mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. Users may feel particularly irritable and moody. They can have quick and potentially violent mood swings. Some users will feel the desire to self-harm or commit suicide.
Interesting Video about Amphetamines Effects on the Brain
More reading: Quitting Adderall
Other Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines
Addiction is the biggest risk of long term amphetamine use. Besides physical consequences, addiction can also cause a lot of damage socially and financially. Addiction also increases a person’s likelihood of taking risks, which can result in things like STDs or other bodily injuries. They may also experience unhealthy weight loss and malnutrition. With addiction comes an increased tolerance of the drug, which increases the damage that will occur to a person’s body and brain, as well as their risk of death.
Factors such as a person’s weight, individual brain chemistry, pre-existing conditions, when they started using, how much they use, and how frequently they use will also directly affect the severity of the side effects they experience from long term amphetamine use.