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What is Amphetamine Withdrawal?

Many illicit substances can cause physical or psychological disturbances when one stops taking them. Amphetamines, in particular, seem to carry a high risk of psychological symptoms during withdrawal. Prolonged amphetamine use causes changes to the brain and behavior that may make it difficult to maintain sobriety.

The Australian Government Department of Health explains, “The most frequently reported withdrawal symptoms in the Cantwell and McBride (1998) study were irritability (78%), aches and pains (58%), depressed mood (50%) and impaired social functioning (46%). Participants reported that symptoms persisted for between five days and three weeks. Relapse was common (most within four weeks of cessation) and the reasons given for reinstatement of use following self-detoxification included the wide availability of amphetamines, depression, boredom, peer pressure, persistent withdrawal symptoms and enjoyment of using. Interestingly, no participants reported craving as a reason for relapse.” Other symptoms during the acute phase of detoxification may include prolonged sleeping, depressed mood, overeating, and cravings.

After the initial period of prolonged sleep, an individual may face several days to several weeks of sleep disturbances or sleeplessness. According to a 1982 study in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “Sleep duration and indices of disturbed sleep, such as night-time waking and day-time sleep, were investigated in amphetamine users following hospital admission and withdrawal from the drug. Compared to controls, the amphetamine group showed an initial period of oversleeping and, towards the end of the first week, they showed a considerable degree of reduced sleep which persisted for the 20 days of this study. There was greater variability in sleep duration within the amphetamine group on almost all nights, and the variability in sleep duration from one night to the next was also greater. More night-time sleep disturbance was evident among the amphetamine ex-users.” The persistence of psychological symptoms as a result of amphetamine addiction may explain the high rates of relapse following detoxification.

During the early stages of withdrawal, psychological symptoms can be extreme in some cases. According to SA Health, “Psychotic symptoms may emerge during the first one to two weeks, particularly if they were present during times of use. Amphetamine withdrawal is largely subjective, but may be difficult to manage, particularly for friends and family members, due to mood swings. An inpatient setting may be necessary if the patient has significant psychotic symptoms, in which case a referral to mental health services is appropriate.” Amphetamine withdrawal symptoms vary by individual, and an inpatient treatment setting is the best way to ensure that symptoms are addressed and treated immediately to ensure a client’s safety.

Your life doesn’t have to be held back by the chains of addiction. You can begin building a brighter future in sobriety by making the decision to seek help today. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a high-quality medically supervised detoxification to ensure that all clients have a safe and positive start to the treatment process. For information about Detoxification and other treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431