Amphetamines: Treatment and rehabilitation

Last modified: Thursday, 25. December 2008 - 5:07 am

Withdrawal can be unpleasant, and feelings of cravings and depression can return long after the withdrawal period. During the withdrawal period, individuals may experience abdominal pain, increased fatigue, fever, infection, loss of appetite, diarrhea, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, emotional upset, insomnia, nervousness, and weight loss. Amphetamine withdrawal brings on intense cravings for the drug, which often leads to relapse. Intense craving is experienced by 87% of all amphetamine abusers who attempt to abstain from the drug.

Current research has demonstrated that there are no medical treatments effective for treating amphetamine abuse. This means that other drugs cannot be substituted to assist in the weaning process. However, thousands of individuals have successfully gone through withdrawal and continue to abstain from amphetamine use despite the long and uncomfortable process. Twelve-step programs are helpful for many substance abusers in recovery.

Besides intense amphetamine cravings, other unpleasant withdrawal side affects include agitation, anxiety, vivid or unpleasant dreams, decreased energy, increased appetite, lethargy, and increased sleep. People in withdrawal lose interest in the pleasure of other activities. Their physical movements are slowed, and clinical depression is prevalent. Although symptoms may lessen after just four or five days, some symptoms can continue for weeks or even months.

While medical literature indicates that other drugs have limited benefits during the recovery process, the psychological/behavioral literature on addiction rehabilitation reveals that although relapse rates are high, rehabilitation is possible. Addiction experts say that amphetamine withdrawal and treatment is a time-consuming process, and behavioral and emotional support is essential for success. Organizations such Phoenix House, Freedom House, and SAFE (Substance Abuse Family Education) run withdrawal Treatment and rehabilitation programs for teens that last for as long as a year at live-in residence centers.

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