Amphetamines -Friend and Foe

Amphetamines are drugs that speed up the central nervous system. Amphetamines are drugs that treat children with ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Amphetamines are drugs that are abused. The big abuser is methamphetamine, more commonly called speed, meth, ice, or crystal. It can be very stimulating and very addictive.

In the 1930s, an amphetamine was first marketed as an over-the-counter drug to help
clear up nasal congestion. By 1937, it was used to treat those with narcolepsy, a disorder that causes a person to fall asleep at inappropriate moments. Amphetamines were also prescribed for asthma sufferers. The drug was dispensed to pilots and soldiers during World War II to help fight fatigue and battle stress.

Children between the ages of six and 12 with attention deficit disorder or narcolepsy are started on daily doses of amphetamines, usually given an hour or half hour
before meals. Long used in the treatment of children with such conditions, there has been growing but unconfirmed concern over possible changes in brain development or stunted growth with drug use. Amphetamine drugs should be taken during the day to prevent interference with sleep and should be used only under the supervision of a
physician. They should not be taken by those with a history of high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease. Usage should be stopped only gradually.

There is no doubt that amphetamines are highly addictive. In the United States, they
are listed as Schedule II stimulants, which means their potential for abuse is high
and their medical use is limited. For recreational purposes, they are generally taken orally or injected. However, with the introduction of crystallized methamphetamine hydrochloride, commonly called ice, they also can be smoked. Amphetamines remain in the central nervous system longer than the effects of cocaine. The result is long-term feelings of stimulation. With chronic abuse, these drugs produce a kind of
schizophrenia, which spawns erratic and even violent behavior in addition to high pulse and heart rates, loss of appetite, and insomnia. An overdose can lead to
convulsions and death.

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