What are amphetamines?
Amphetamines are a groups of drugs that are stimulants, which means that they speed up the messages going to and from the brain. In small doses, they give a burst of energy, which can cause you to feel alert and refreshed.
There are a number of amphetamines, which are closely related, in a chemical sense, for example ' amphetamine' and 'methamphetamine'. These drugs can come in a number of different forms, like powder, tablets, paste, crystal or liquid, and are called many different names, like 'speed', 'goey', 'whiz', 'ice', 'crystal meth', 'shabu' or 'base'. In most cases amphetamines are made in backyard laboratories and sold illegally.
Usually, the drug sold on the illegal market is mixed with other substances, and these cutting agents can have dangerous effects.
Amphetamines and mental health
Research has shown that amphetamines can cause psychosis, which may mean you experience paranoia as well as delusions, hallucinations and bizarre behaviour. If you use amphetamines heavily you can develop an acute paranoid psychosis. This means you may hear, see, and feel things that do not exist. You may also have delusions (irrational thoughts or beliefs), become paranoid and/or violent. Amphetamine use can also lead to delirium, which is a state of mental confusion and disorganization.
Mixing other drugs with amphetamines
Avoid mixing the use of other drugs with amphetamines as it can have serious physical and psychological problems. Using amphetamines when you're drinking alcohol may make you feel less drunk and can increase the risk of unsafe driving or sex.
Mixing amphetamines and alcohol can lead to increased aggression and violence. Sometimes people take other drugs as a way of coping with some of the unwanted affects of amphetamines, like sleeping tablets such as Valium or Serepax, but again, this can be dangerous to your safety and health.
Family and work difficulties
Family problems, financial, legal and other personal problems may be related to amphetamine use. Disagreements over drug use can cause family arguments and affect personal relationships. Use of amphetamines may also lead to problems at work, like taking sickies, difficulty concentrating, or feeling unmotivated. These problems can be made much worse because some users become irritable, hostile or violent. It is also dangerous to drive and operate machinery after using amphetamines. Even though you may not feel like they've affected you, amphetamines can disturb your perception and your judgement.
Getting help for amphetamine use
If you feel like your amphetamine use might be getting out of control, there are a number of ways to cut down on how much you are using. The treatment option that suits best may be different from one person to another. If someone is using amphetamines regularly and feels like they may want some help to get it under control, then it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor, drug and alcohol worker or other health worker about the treatment options that are best for them.
There are a few prescription drugs that have amphetamines as an ingredient. Excluding these, the possession, use, supply and manufacture of amphetamines is illegal in Australia.