Originally considered to be a “helpful” drug, amphetamine known most often by a number of street names including “speed” quickly became a drug of abuse. It was listed as a Schedule II drug which makes it among the most restricted in prescription medications. Legal forms such as Adderall are still prescribed although many behavioral and addiction specialists believe that the drug is overused even by medical standards and the addiction levels to it are staggering. So, why are so many Americans addicted to speed in any form and how many of them will face a life time of drug addiction and trips to rehab centers to try and finally get clean?

Strange History

Discovered in 1887, amphetamine and its counterpart, methamphetamine were being used for a wide range of medical ailments by the 1940’s. During its original history, the drugs were used for everything from soldiers who were on patrol to people with depression as well as to treat obesity. Japan even gave the drug to kamikaze pilots just before their missions.

Legal methamphetamine is very rarely prescribed and only for very extreme cases of certain conditions. Amphetamine is prescribed as Adderall in much higher numbers and is also one of the most widely abused prescription medications especially among young adults. In fact, the highest rate of use is among 21-22 year olds with males using the drug at a slightly higher rate than females. (Drugabuse.com)

Why Speed?

The modern world is keyed to non-stop action. You can shop for clothing at 4 am. News outlets and other media vie for your attention around the clock, blaring their messages from every direction. This never ending need for movement and engagement coupled with the pressure to get good grades, get in to a good college and then get a good career can become a real grind. Many students end up turning to speed and similar drugs just to keep up with their studies. According to the information at Drugabuse.com, students are more than two times as likely to use stimulant type drugs if they are going to school full time than those who are either going part time or not at all.

Use begins fairly early and then begins to increase over the years before reaching its peak. During this time, there will be many very young people who will be faced with drug rehab and treatment and that will usually be after an incident that may include an overdose.

So, You Suspect You Might be Addicted

For many people, it is hard to realize when there is a problem until it is too late. Drug addiction can be a sneaky issue especially when you don’t think of what you are doing as that bad or that you are even using “drugs”. A number of people in rehab centers seem shocked to find so many people that are similar to them with nearly identical stories. If you think you may have a problem with addiction, it is important to get help as quickly as possible.

There are physical and mental and behavioral warning signs that you might be reaching a critical time where rehab might be your only solution. The physical signs:

  • Elevated or fast heart rate
  • Higher than normal blood pressure
  • Weight loss, especially with lack of appetite
  • Constant picking at the skin and nails
  • An increase in body temperature

The mental signs:

  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • A deep sense of confusion
  • Delusions and/or hallucinations

The behavioral signs:

  • Questioning friends’ and family’s motives without cause
  • Stealing prescriptions from others
  • Stealing money to buy more drugs

Just under half of all of the people who have used drugs such as Adderall have used them without a prescription.

Getting Help

The first step is recognizing your problem and then getting the help that you need. Talking to a trusted friend or family member is a good start but professional help and treatment is going to be needed as well. You may need to spend some time in a facility, depending on how serious your problem is and how much your drug use has already affected you. You may also need to take some time off from school or from work so that you can focus on your health away from the stressors that may have helped drive your need to abuse drugs.

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