Amphetamine Abuse Prevention & Treatment Programs

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  • 00:01 Amphetamine Abuse
  • 2:20 Amphetamine Abuse Prevention
  • 3:53 Amphetamine Abuse Treatment
  • 6:55 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ashley Dugger

Ashley has a JD degree and is an attorney. She has taught and written various law courses.

Amphetamine is often prescribed for medical uses, but it's considered to be highly addictive. Some varieties of amphetamine are also sold illegally as street drugs. This lesson discusses prevention and treatment programs for amphetamine abuse.

Amphetamine Abuse

The United Nations estimates that there may be up to 52 million amphetamine abusers in the world today. Sound staggering? The numbers may be so high because amphetamine is available in many different forms.

Amphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug. It works by increasing certain chemicals in the user's brain. Stimulant drugs, in general, produce extra brain activity, increase alertness, improve energy, and promote a sense of well-being.

Note that amphetamine is available in both legal and illegal varieties. Legal amphetamines are a fairly popular type of prescription drug. They're often prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (or ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. You might recognize the names of these commonly prescribed amphetamine drugs:

  • Adderall
  • Ritalin
  • Phentermine
  • Concerta
  • Dexedrine
  • Vyvanse

The most popularly-used illegal amphetamines include:

  • Methamphetamine
  • Ecstasy
  • MDMA or Molly
  • Speed

Whether prescribed or used recreationally, amphetamine can be dangerous. When amphetamine or any other type of stimulant is over-used or misused, it can lead to stimulant use disorder. This is a broad term used to describe stimulant abuse, stimulant addiction, stimulant dependency, and any other disorder caused by the recurrent use of stimulant drugs.

Besides dependency and addiction, stimulant use disorder can cause cardiovascular troubles, insomnia, stroke, anxiety, and other serious physical and mental problems. For that reason, it's important to try to prevent stimulant use disorder altogether, and to otherwise treat stimulant use disorder when it's first suspected.

Amphetamine Abuse Prevention

Let's first address prevention. Most experts agree that proactive steps through drug abuse prevention are preferable when addressing use disorders. It's easier to keep non-drug dependent people off of drugs than to help drug-dependent people kick the habit. A drug prevention program educates people, typically with a focus toward young people, on the dangers of drug use.

Many schools, churches, and communities invest in drug prevention programs. Often, prevention programs are simply more cost-efficient and more successful than treatment programs.

Drug prevention researchers have identified several different risk factors for amphetamine abuse. Successful drug prevention programs must identify those at risk and work to rectify the risk factors, where possible. Some risk factors include:

  • Living in the Western, Southwestern, or Midwestern U.S.
  • Having easy access to amphetamine
  • Viewing amphetamine use as acceptable
  • Having depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia
  • Having low self-esteem or other emotional difficulties
  • Having financial problems or other major lifestyle stresses

Amphetamine Abuse Treatment

Now let's take a look at what happens once someone is diagnosed with amphetamine-based stimulant use disorder. Fortunately, there are many different treatment options available in the U.S.

Let's first take a look at behavioral therapy, which is a treatment method that helps change destructive behavior by replacing bad habits with good habits. Many experts believe behavioral therapy to be the best choice of treatment. Behavioral therapy focuses on the patient's psychological dependence on or perceived need for amphetamine. Behavioral therapy can be accomplished through in-patient or out-patient treatment.

In particular, there are two types of behavioral therapy that have proved successful as amphetamine treatment. The first is the matrix model, which is a 16-week program that focuses on sustaining abstinence from amphetamine. The program incorporates both group and individual therapy.

The second is the motivational incentives for enhancing drug abuse recovery, or MIEDAR, program. It grants incentives to help amphetamine abusers sustain abstinence. Rewards, such as restaurant gift certificates and movie tickets, are granted to participants who have clean drug test results. One study showed that MIEDAR participants were twice as likely to sustain abstinence eight weeks post-treatment as participants in other types of therapies.

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