Amphetamine Addiction: Symptoms, Signs and Side Effects

Amphetamines are a class of drugs called stimulants. They stimulate the central nervous system, causing an increased level of focus and awareness, and increase heart activity and other key organs. Amphetamines can be used to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Amphetamines stimulate the release of endorphins such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin. These endorphins cause feelings of euphoria and pleasure, also known as feeling high. The euphoria can lead to a desire for more of the drug which can turn into strong cravings and addiction.

Addiction is evident by uncontrollable urges for the drug. Amphetamine abuse symptoms are more far-reaching than many people may realize. Being able to identify specific symptoms is key to identifying addiction in yourself or a loved one.

Symptoms of Amphetamine Abuse

There are several types of symptoms people experience when misusing amphetamines. Some common physical symptoms include heart disturbances and nausea. Additional symptoms of amphetamine abuse include:

  • Malnutrition: Amphetamines cause increased energy use and can lead to decreased food intake. This effect leads to decreased weight and malnutrition.
  • Financial Difficulty: Financial difficulty results from the misuse of finances, such as overspending to obtain amphetamines.
  • Depression: Depression results from the absence of amphetamines. When amphetamine use stops, the most common side effect is depression. Depression can also develop when the drug is desired but unavailable.
  • Mood disturbances: While when people misuse amphetamines they are typically in a good mood, they may experience severe mood swings including paranoia, anxiety and irritability when they are between highs or the drug is not available to them.
  • Insomnia: Prolonged misuse of amphetamines can cause sleep disturbances due to their stimulatory effect.

Side Effects of Amphetamines

Beyond the symptoms of amphetamine abuse, there are several side effects of amphetamine use. These side effects are all related to the increased stimulation of the central nervous system and include:

  • Palpitations
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Fatigue
  • Erectile dysfunction

In addition to these symptoms, it is also likely that amphetamine use will cause a euphoric high, an increased sex drive, feelings of well-being and grandiosity, and feelings of increased focus.

Side Effects of Long-Term Amphetamine Abuse

The long-term effects of amphetamine abuse can create permanent and severe physical and psychological problems. The chronic effects of amphetamine include a condition called rhabdomyolysis which results from an overactive metabolism in the muscles and leads to kidney failure. Chronic amphetamine use can also result in permanent paranoia and psychosis or hallucinations which can lead to prolonged depression and increased risk of suicide. Chronic dental problems may also be a common side effect of long-term amphetamine misuse.

Signs of Amphetamine Overdose

More serious side effects can be experienced when excessive amounts of amphetamines are used and can lead to serious health problems. Amphetamine overdose symptoms include:

  • Excessively rapid heartbeat
  • Problems with the electrical activity controlling the heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Delirium
  • Seizures
  • Dangerously high temperature
  • Bleeding in the brain
  • Death

If you or someone you know experiences symptoms of an amphetamine overdose, you should contact emergency medical services immediately by calling 911.

By calling The Recovery Village Ridgefield you can help yourself or a loved one recover from amphetamine addiction. Contact a representative today to learn what treatment options may work best for you. Make the call and start your healthier future right now.


O’Mally, Gerald F. & O’Mally, Rika. “Amphetamines.” Merck Manuals, March 2018. Accessed March 8, 2019.

Castle Craig Hospital “What are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Amphetamines?” 2018. Accessed March 8, 2019.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.