Dextroamphetamine isn’t just an amphetamine enantiomer. This substance is also a potent stimulant for the central nervous system. Because of this, it is frequently prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.
The drug may also be prescribed for depression and obesity.
Additionally, it sees some use as a performance enhancing drug and/or as a cognitive enhancer. Military air forces use it occasionally for fatigue-inducing missions. In fact, dextroamphetamine was used during World War II to help soldiers fight fatigue.
On top of these functions, it is a go-to drug for many recreational users.
History of Dextroamphetamine
Dextroamphetamine was first introduced by pharmaceutical company Smith Kline & French under the brand name Dexedrine, a few years before the patent on Benzedrine lapsed in 1949. The company is now part of GlaxoSmithKline.
Originally, dextroamphetamine was used in the treatment of depression. Higher doses of the drug increased the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Because of this, it was moderately successful in the market. Benzedrine remained more popular than its successor, but Dexedrine was still considered a decent replacement.
Dextroamphetamine would later become extremely popular because of the reported weight loss benefits it produced. By 1955, Dexedrine’s sales were hitting $12 million annually.
However, the drug also became a popular substance for illicit use. People began abusing the stimulant. Thus, the adverse effects began manifesting in abusers. It became associated with tolerance and psychological dependence. Withdrawal symptoms became clear: dextroamphetamine causes fatigue and depression.
Nowadays, the drug is still prescribed. However, it is advised that users follow the prescription carefully, because the risk of developing dependence is high, especially when the drug is misused.
How is it Made?
Amphetamine consists of two different molecules that are mirror images of one another—thus, its molecule exists as two enantiomers. The two enantiomers within the amphetamine molecule are levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine.
Why is it Abused?
Dextroamphetamine is a popular drug for recreational use because it not only provides euphoria for the user, but it also serves as an aphrodisiac. Users get a boost in energy and they get a sense of joy and contentment.
Because of its feel-good effects, this substance has a high potential for misuse.
Taking large doses of dextroamphetamine is dangerous because it could lead to overdose. Recreational users put themselves at risk of serious health problems for a few minutes of boosted alertness and energy. This drug often comes in capsules, so they are taken orally. Some users also crush the contents in order to snort it. Some even dissolve it in water and inject it directly into their bloodstream. This last one is particularly dangerous because these are insoluble fillers within the tablets that can clog up the small blood vessels.
Overdose isn’t the only problem here. Chronic use of dextroamphetamine could lead to drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms when intake stops.
Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Individuals who abuse dextroamphetamine will often show various symptoms. If you think someone you know is abusing the drug, you can look for a couple of physical signs. Perhaps you have used the drug yourself and you’re worried that it has become an addiction. It could even be a family member who is abusing the drug. Common signs of dextroamphetamine abuse include irritability, dry mouth, nausea, and elevated blood pressure.
They may experience gastrointestinal difficulties like constipation or diarrhea. Some users even hallucinate or display compulsive behavior. After using dextroamphetamine, they will look generally euphoric. They’ll display a sunny disposition or an energetic vibe.
Over time, they may display drastic weight loss, and this may be an obvious sign of drug use. It is best to seek a treatment facility for your loved one’s recovery.
Aside from the general signs that may point to addiction, the person will also suffer from various adverse effects. These effects may vary from person to person. It depends on the person’s age, health condition, as well as the dosage taken and frequency of use. If the person abuses more than one drug, that’s another thing to be taken into consideration.
Cardiovascular side effects may occur. That includes hypertension, hypotension, and increased heart rate. For men, they may experience erectile dysfunction and frequent erections.
Other common side effects are abdominal pain, nausea, nosebleed, tics, and excessive sweating.
Abuse of dextroamphetamines may also cause psychological effects. They may suffer from frequent mood swings, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, and even psychosis.
Treatment for Addiction
Selecting the right treatment facility is gonna go a long way in helping you or your loved one recover. Consider the location, the program, the amenities, the staffing, and the cost. You should be presented with several options for financing the treatment.
The right rehab center can improve the process for the patient.
Most patients undergo behavioral treatments to help them get over the need for the drug. Cognitive behavioral therapy is considered one of the most effective clinical treatments for addiction. Studies show that daily physical exercise, particularly endurance exercises can have neurobiological effects that may benefit the patient. These exercises can help prevent relapse and drug-seeking. With counseling, the patient can readjust to life without relying on drugs.
In order to prevent withdrawal, the recovery process will also involve detoxification. The doctors will gradually lower the patient’s drug intake, while dealing with the various withdrawal symptoms that may occur.
Dextroamphetamine withdrawal is difficult. It will make the recovery process more challenging for the patient in question. But with the right treatment plan—and your unwavering support—they will be able to survive this tough part of recovery.
Patients will experience fatigue, slowed movements, and agitation. Dextroamphetamine withdrawal can even lead to vivid dreams and depression. Some patients find that they are unable to sleep—or that they are sleeping more than usual.
Like dextroamphetamine’s effects, the withdrawal symptoms will also vary from person to person. It depends on dose, frequency, drug history, and the individual’s physiology.
With the right treatment plan, these withdrawal symptoms won’t be anything but another minor bump in the patient’s sure road to recovery.