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What is the Difference Between Amphetamines and Methamphetamines?

woman discusses amphetamines and methamphetamines with doctor


Amphetamines are a class of drugs that work to stimulate the nervous system.  These drugs have been or are currently being used by doctors to treat obesity, narcolepsy, ADD, ADHD, and allergies.  They also create a high that results in a sense of euphoria and increased energy. Methamphetamines are a subclass of these drugs and can create a more intense high.  Both amphetamines and methamphetamines are addictive, though methamphetamines are said to lead to addiction at a much faster rate. Amphetamines are more likely to be abused in pill form when taken by individuals without a prescription, while methamphetamines often appear in powdered form when sold as a street drug, and may be called crystal meth, ice, or speed.   


Adderall is a common prescription drug used to treat ADD but often abused by people without a prescription.  This amphetamine is said to help increase focus and energy, and has become popular among high school and college students as a “study drug”.  Because amphetamines are still so widely prescribed, there is far less of a stigma associated with taking them compared to methamphetamines. While methamphetamines deliver chemicals to your brain almost immediately, thereby producing a rush for the user, the long-term effects of both amphetamines and methamphetamines are very similar. Even with one use, amphetamines and methamphetamines can cause paranoia, headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, and muscle spasms.  As addiction develops and users begin to increase their dose, these risks are amplified. Aside from the usual consequences of addiction such as damage to relationships and job loss, abusing any type of amphetamine can potentially lead to brain damage and even death.  Neither of these drugs should be taken at any time without a prescription and the close supervision of a medical professional, and even then, there are risks of dependency. Contact us to learn more!

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction, now is the time to reach out for help.  At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  The Arbor uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 844-413-2690.