What Are Amphetamines?
Amphetamine addiction has become a major challenge facing the people of our nation. Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Dexedrine, along with illicit amphetamines like methamphetamine and ecstasy, are highly addictive and disruptive when used as recreational drugs. Understanding more about these medications and drugs and how they work in the body creates an ability to recognize the signs of addiction, so individuals can learn how to get help in treating this challenging issue.
Amphetamine is a central nervous stimulant. Its use results in an increase in certain types of brain activity, resulting in a feeling of higher energy, focus, confidence, and in a dose-dependent manner, can elicit a rewarding euphoria. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, amphetamine was first synthesized in Germany in the late 1800s; however, its stimulant properties were not discovered until about the 1930s, when it began to be used to treat nasal congestion.
As time went by, amphetamine began to be used to treat a variety of conditions, from alcohol hangovers to weight loss. It was also used to treat two conditions for which it is still known today: hyperactivity in young people (including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy, a condition in which people fall asleep suddenly. Occasionally, it is used to treat depression.
How long do amphetamines stay in your system? Urine, Hair and Blood
People who have been abusing amphetamines often wonder how long these drugs stay in their systems. If you’ve quit taking amphetamines or are considering discontinuing your use, it is important to consult with a doctor to determine the best process for giving up these drugs, as you may experience amphetamine withdrawal. A doctor can recommend a tapering process or refer you to treatment to help you manage withdrawal.
Once people have completely discontinued using the amphetamines, they normally want to know how long it will take for the drugs to be removed from their systems. Naturally, the process of elimination from the body varies slightly from person to person. Experts have provided guidelines regarding how long amphetamines stay in the urine, hair, and blood. These guidelines are averages and can change from person to person. They are as follows:
- Urine: Up to 2-3 days
- Hair: Up to three months
- Blood: Up to 46 hours
Average Peak Levels And Half-Life Of Amphetamines
How long do amphetamines stay in your system? The peak effects of amphetamines occur 1 to 3 hours after a person takes them by mouth, and effects last for as long as 7 to 12 hours. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the half-life for the popular amphetamine Adderall is 9 hours for the immediate-release version and 10-13 hours for its extended-release version.
Factors that Influence How Long Amphetamines Stay in Your System
How long do amphetamines stay in your system? Several factors play a role in how long amphetamines linger inside the body. The most influential factors to consider when coming off stimulants are:
- Age: Age plays a dynamic role in organ function as well as metabolism rates. The younger a person is, the faster their metabolism is usually going to be and the better their normal organ functions will be. The older someone is, the less likely they are to have a fast and fully-functioning metabolism and organ function. Therefore, age is a huge factor in how quickly someone can eliminate toxins from his or her body.
- Body composition: We must look at height, weight and fat content in comparison to the dosage amounts someone has been taking. If they have been taking amounts disproportionately to these factors, their elimination process will vary significantly from someone who is within average proportions.
- Genetics: Addiction is often a function of genetic makeup. Genetics also dictate a person’s body type and metabolism. A person’s body type and genetic makeup will affect how someone is able to process stimulants through their system.
- Function of the Kidney & Liver: A person with a dysfunctional liver or kidney is going to have a harder time eliminating toxins from amphetamines than someone with a healthy, fully-functioning liver and kidney. Those organs are essential for elimination and thus will affect clearance timeframes.
- Metabolism: While diet, supplements and fitness can affect someone’s metabolic rates, the rule of thumb is that the higher a person’s metabolism, the faster they will be able to process and excrete drugs, food and other liquids.
- Frequency of use: The frequency at which someone is using amphetamines and the amount they are using will greatly affect how quickly they will be removed from the system. If someone is a heavy user, they will take longer to rid their body of a drug than someone who only took a single dose one time.
Signs of Amphetamine Addiction
There are multiple ways of recognizing amphetamine addiction, including physical and mental symptoms and changes in behavior as described here:
- Visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations
- Inability to keep up with work, school, or home responsibilities
- Much of the person’s time spent seeking or using the drug
- Missing pills from a prescription
- Changes in groups of friends and difficulties with relationships
- Loss of interest in previous activities
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Decreased appetite and weight loss
- Digestive upset
- Mood swings
- Paranoia and anxiety
In the case of methamphetamine, dental problems, skin sores, and severe weight loss are highly visible signs that the drug is being abused, as described by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
What is amphetamine withdrawal?
Are amphetamine withdrawal symptoms your biggest fear? Fearing these symptoms can keep you in addiction’s hold. However, the way out of these ill symptoms is through a quality detox and rehab treatment program.
Specifically, amphetamines are stimulants of the central nervous system. This means the drugs in the amphetamine category stimulate or speed up your body’s natural functioning, particularly when it comes to the brain and spinal cord. You can buy these drugs on the street or abuse prescription drugs, such as in the case of Adderall addiction.
You start feeling amphetamine withdrawal symptoms when you reach addiction. Moreover, your brain relies on having amphetamines in your system at this point to function properly. If you stop taking the drugs, you’ll feel the ill effects of withdrawal, which is your body’s cue to give it more of what it wants. It’s also the result of your brain and body trying to adjust to functioning without the drugs it became dependent on.
You fear these amphetamine withdrawal symptoms because they are unpleasant. Some of these effects include depression, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, concentration problems, and appetite changes. You oftentimes feel a crash after stopping your dose for about two days. However, these light symptoms soon give way to more intense amphetamine withdrawal symptoms by day two or three of detox.
Your more intense amphetamine withdrawal symptoms last around five days. During withdrawal, you need help from a quality detox and rehab treatment program, one able to provide safe and professional detox. In addition, this type of program also helps you get through the worst symptoms using helpful medications and other services.
Managing Withdrawal Symptoms of Amphetamines
Understanding how long amphetamines stay in the body is helpful; however, knowledge alone will not prevent amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and is often not enough to break the cycle of addiction to stimulants. Some of amphetamine withdrawal symptoms to be aware of are:
- Depression or low mood
- Lack of energy
- Excessive Sleepiness
People can benefit from undergoing a detox program, where staff can monitor symptoms and mood as they withdraw from amphetamines and cleanse their bodies of these substances. Experts report that some people may benefit from antidepressant medications as they complete the withdrawal process.
Treatment and Therapies for Amphetamine Addiction
Treating amphetamine addiction can be challenging because of the changes in brain structure that occur with chronic use. The sometimes severe depression and loss of pleasure that occur when the use of the drug is stopped can be a major obstacle to avoiding relapse. Nevertheless, therapies that help people understand and adjust their behaviors based on triggers of drug use can contribute to the individuals being able to get and stay on the path to recovery. These therapies include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for amphetamine addiction
- Motivational Interviewing
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy
- Family counseling
- Addiction education
- Peer support or 12-Step group participation
Reclaim Your Life From Amphetamine Addiction
Understanding how long do amphetamines stay in your system is helpful; however, knowledge alone will not prevent amphetamine withdrawal symptoms and is often not enough to break the cycle of addiction to stimulants. Amphetamine addiction is a chronic disease that can cause major health, social, and economic problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up California can provide to you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from this condition with a professional and safe detox process. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 Piper, B. J., Ogden, C. L., Simoyan, O. M., Chung, D. Y., Caggiano, J. F., Nichols, S. D., & McCall, K. L. (2018). Trends in use of prescription stimulants in the United States and Territories, 2006 to 2016. PloS one, 13(11), e0206100. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206100.
 NIDA. Five million American adults misuse prescription stimulants.
 Cox, D., Bowers, R., & McBride, A. (2004). Reboxetine may be helpful in the treatment of amphetamine withdrawal. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 58(1), 100–101. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2125.2004.02094.x