Amphetamine BLOG

Side Effects of Amphetamine and Cocaine

Amphetamines and cocaine are two of the most commonly abused drugs in society. They have existed for years and millions of people have been affected, directly or indirectly, by the abuse of these substances.

Amphetamines and cocaine can cause tolerance and psychological dependence. These central nervous system (CNS) stimulants are mood elevators and appetite suppressors used to combat drowsiness and fatigue. Use of these drugs has declined in recent years, but the potential for abuse is still high.

Symptoms of Amphetamines and Cocaine

The effects of amphetamines depend on the individual’s mental state, dosage, concentration, and route of administration. There are major differences between the effects of cocaine and the amphetamines; amphetamines side effects last longer than cocaine.

Long-term cocaine users can experience both positive and negative effects of the drug. An excess of cocaine may cause cardiac arrhythmias, rhabdomyolysis, convulsion, strokes, and possible death from cardiorespiratory arrest.

Some of the more serious effects of amphetamine abuse are hypertensive episodes, pulmonary edema, tachycardia, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death, especially when the drugs are used at high dosage level.

Common Side Effects of Amphetamine Use

  • Euphoria
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Hypervigilance
  • Paranoia
  • Delirium
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • GI symptoms
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Sleep disorders
  • Respiratory depression
  • Cardiac arrhythmias
  • Seizures
  • Coma

Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Many symptoms of cocaine abuse are similar to those of the amphetamines such as sleep disorder and sexual dysfunction. Cocaine is an alkaloid derived from the coca plant and is one of the most widely used drugs across all socioeconomic groups. Common symptoms include:

  • Delirium
  • Mood and anxiety disorders
  • Hallucination and delusion
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure
  • Reduced social inhibitions
  • Insomnia
  • Compulsive behavior

How to Treat Dependency

Drug management protocol is divided into three stages:

  1. Assessment
  2. Management of dependence
  3. Prevention of relapse

The assessment level is deemed fundamental to the future application of appropriate interventions. This process aims to identify all experimental and recreational users of amphetamines. Factual information and advice are given by psychiatrists once amphetamine use at this level is detected.

Meanwhile, under management of dependence, the patient's environment is a crucial factor to address. If the patient is continuing to use amphetamines and does not currently wish to stop, management should be along the lines of harm reduction. On the other hand, education is required about the dangers of amphetamine use and the options available for changing that behavior, as outlined above for those experimental and recreational users.

The prevention of relapse stage is further divided into three parts:

  • Raising awareness about high-risk "triggers"
  • Developing "trigger" coping skills
  • Implementing a lifestyle change

This model is only one of the many types of treatment and management performed for amphetamine dependents or users. Health experts continue to conduct studies and research that would identify other ways and means to help amphetamine users abstain from their drug dependency.

For cocaine users, treatment is normally aimed at reducing the craving and managing the severe depression. Careful and constant monitoring of the client is necessary to prevent actions aimed at carrying out the idea of suicide. A cocaine user has an intense craving for cocaine and a strong denial that cocaine is addicting. Inpatient programs may be necessary for some clients with cocaine dependency, whereas other clients can be effectively treated in outpatient programs.