At Visions Treatment Centers, teens struggling with amphetamine addiction and mental disorders are treated via a multipronged approach combining addiction recovery with first-line medication, various therapies, and alternative treatments.

Amphetamines are a class of drugs used in the treatment of narcolepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and, in select cases, asthma and hypertension. Amphetamines are prescription drugs, meaning they can only legally be purchased for the treatment of these conditions and select other cases. However, amphetamines are also sold and distributed illegally for athletic performance enhancements, recreational use, and as a “study drug”.

The most abused amphetamine is Adderall. There are many other addictive prescription stimulants, including Ritalin/Concerta (methylphenidate) and Dexedrine (dextroamphetamine). When not sold in pill form, some amphetamines are cut and mixed as white powders with other chemicals, including cheaper, less potent stimulants like caffeine, and other substances.

Depending on the dose and individual sensitivity, Amphetamines are powerful stimulants that pose many use and abuse dangers, and more importantly, heart health risks. Chronic use can lead to amphetamine addiction, and some research indicates amphetamines have long-term side effects on the brain’s cognitive and memory abilities, as well as other organs such as kidneys and the liver.

While amphetamines are prescribed in cases of severe ADHD to induce and promote focus, they can cause bouts of panic and severe anxiety in teens inclined towards anxious symptoms and anxiety disorders, and amphetamine addiction can exacerbate the symptoms of depression as a result of the high comedown and subsequent withdrawal issues.

Signs and Symptoms of Amphetamine Addiction

As a stimulant, the effects of amphetamines are similar to cocaine and methamphetamine. Upon reaching the brain, it causes neurotransmitter dopamine release. Chronically high levels of dopamine lead to the overactivation of a dopamine pathway in the brain linked to addiction. Amphetamine addiction is well-researched, showing regular high dose use gradually increases addictive behavior in individuals who self-administer the drug.

On the other hand, children and teens who used amphetamine as prescribed for ADHD were at a lower risk of developing substance abuse issues as they got older. Potential reasons for this disparity include dose differences, as well as differing neurological factors in teens with and without ADHD. While amphetamine addiction may still occur in someone who first started out using the drug medically, it’s much less likely to occur when used as prescribed. When amphetamine addiction does take place, some of the signs and symptoms include:

  • Heartbeat and heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Increased levels of blood pressure
  • Headaches, tremors, insomnia
  • Paranoia, anxiety, delusions
  • Uncontrollable muscle spasms (especially in the face)
  • Loss of appetite and weight
  • Changes in behavior and mood (intrusive violent thoughts, depressive and/or suicidal thoughts)

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Teen Amphetamine Addiction Treatment Programs

The dual diagnosis treatment of amphetamine addiction with a mental disorder, such as anxiety or depression, can be a challenging process. Amphetamine addiction can counteract low mood in the short-term, although it subsequently worsens symptoms once it wears off, and can actively trigger or reinforce symptoms of panic and anxiety.

Because the two play off each other, amphetamine addiction treatment must simultaneously address the symptoms as well as the mental disorder. At Visions Treatment Centers, we work with teens and their parents to find an effective amphetamine addiction treatment path. Our treatment programs include (but are not limited to):

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

At Visions Treatment Centers, our residential dual diagnosis centers aim to help teens with an addiction and a mental disorder by addressing both in an individualized treatment plan combining talk therapy with relevant medication, experiential therapies, and alternative treatments.

Outpatient Treatment

We also have an outpatient care location for teens seeking help for a dual diagnosis of amphetamine addiction and mental disorder. Our outpatient program includes an individually scheduled treatment plan helping individuals cope with symptoms, keeps them on track towards long-term recovery, and helps them find resources to continue treatment after the program ends.

Treatment for amphetamine addiction and mental disorders may entail long-term therapeutic care, including support groups, individual therapy, exercise therapy, and other methods of recovery. At Visions, we prepare families for continuing care by working with them to identify local sources of support and treatment and identify the roadblocks on the path towards better mental health.