Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Top 10 thing about Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Key Differences of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Amphetamine and methamphetamine are two powerful stimulant drugs that act on the central nervous system but differ significantly in terms of chemical structure, potency, and uses. Amphetamine, often prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy symptoms by increasing dopamine and norepinephrine release to create alertness and focus, has milder stimulant properties when compared to methamphetamine’s strong stimulant effects.

Methamphetamine, on the other hand, is an even more potent and addictive substance than cocaine or marijuana. Though sometimes prescribed medically, its street form, commonly referred to as crystal meth or “meth,” has long been notorious for illicit use.

Methamphetamine’s stronger euphoric effects and longer-lasting highs make it more vulnerable to abuse prolonged use may result in addiction, cognitive impairments, and dental issues commonly referred to as “meth mouth.”

What is Amphetamine?

Figure 01: Amphetamine

Amphetamine is a synthetic psychoactive substance classified as central nervous system stimulant. Its chemical structure mimics those found naturally within our bodies such as dopamine and norepinephrine; amphetamine generally increases release while inhibiting uptake into neurotransmitter systems in the brain.

Medically, amphetamine and its derivatives have long been used to treat various conditions, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and sometimes obesity.

When prescribed to individuals suffering from ADHD or excessive daytime sleepiness, amphetamine-based medicines like Adderall or Dexedrine help improve focus, concentration, and wakefulness for improved care and control of symptoms.

Amphetamine’s stimulating effects lead to enhanced alertness, improved mood, and energy levels; but its misuse also presents risks of abuse and addiction when taken at higher doses or when not prescribed by healthcare professionals. Long-term misuse may result in adverse health issues like cardiovascular disorders, anxiety disorders insomnia, or cognitive impairments if misuse continues for too long.

amphetamine can often be found being produced and distributed as an illicit recreational drug referred to as “speed,” leading to significant health and legal ramifications. Uncontrolled production and consumption can have unpredictable results that are potentially dangerous; understanding its medical applications as well as any risks is vital in encouraging responsible use and preventing abuse and addiction.

Chemical Structure and Composition of Amphetamine

Amphetamine’s chemical structure is relatively straightforward yet vitally important to its action as a stimulant drug for central nervous system stimulation. Amphetamine’s molecular formula, C9H13N, indicates it contains 9 carbon atoms (C), 13 hydrogen atoms (H), and one nitrogen atom (N).

Amphetamine’s basic chemical structure can be summarized as follows:

  • At its center is a phenethylamine structure made up of six carbon rings with nitrogen attached, creating the core. To one side of this core lies an ethyl group (C2H5) composed of two carbon and five hydrogen atoms.
  • On the other side of things stands a methyl group (CH3) composed of one carbon and three hydrogen atoms.

Amphetamine’s stimulant properties come from its combination of phenethylamine core with ethyl and methyl groups; this structure interacts with and affects neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitters in the brain to increase alertness, enhances mood, and heightens energy levels resulting in greater alertness, improved mood, and enhanced energy.

Note that although this description provides an oversimplification of amphetamine’s chemical structure, its actual molecular makeup is far more intricate and may exist in various forms and isomers; each can produce differing effects and potencies.

Treatment Options for Amphetamine

  • Detoxification: Detoxification may be the initial step for individuals struggling with amphetamine addiction. Through gradual tapering off, with medical supervision provided to manage withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, depression, and cravings.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation: Residential rehabilitation programs offer 24/7 care in a structured environment. Activities provided through such programs typically include individual and group therapy sessions, educational lectures, and activities designed to address both the physical and psychological components of addiction.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation: Outpatient programs allow individuals to remain living at home while attending treatment sessions at a clinic or facility, making this option suitable for milder forms of addiction or for use as part of post-inpatient recovery plans.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Behavior therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management may prove successful in helping individuals manage their patterns of drug abuse while developing skills necessary for long-term stability and to avoid relapse.
  • Support Groups: Participating in Narcotics Anonymous or SMART Recovery self-help groups is an invaluable way to find community during recovery, offering both support and peer guidance from fellow members.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): Although no specific drug exists for amphetamine addiction, certain medicines may help manage certain symptoms or co-occurring mental health conditions associated with amphetamine withdrawal, for instance, antidepressants could help manage depression associated with amphetamine withdrawal.
  • Family Therapy: Engaging family members in treatment can be invaluable; this allows for rebuilding damaged relationships caused by addiction while creating an encouraging and nurturing atmosphere to aid recovery.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many individuals suffering from amphetamine addiction also exhibit co-occurring mental health disorders; therefore, dual diagnosis treatment addresses both substance use and mental health concerns simultaneously.
  • Relapse Prevention: Mastering strategies to identify and overcome triggers, cravings, and high-risk situations is crucial to avoiding relapse.
  • Long-Term Aftercare: Constant care and support are an integral component of successful recovery, including ongoing therapy sessions, counseling appointments with licensed counselors, and participation in support groups.

Medical Uses

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): Adderall and Dexedrine are widely prescribed stimulant medications used for managing ADHD; such medications help increase focus, attention, and impulse control by acting directly upon neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Narcolepsy: Amphetamine-based drugs may also be prescribed to treat narcolepsy, a sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.
  • Obesity: Amphetamines were once commonly prescribed to help individuals temporarily reduce weight; however, their usage has since decreased due to concerns of abuse and addiction risk.

Side Effects and Risks of Amphetamine

Short-Term Side Effects

  •  Amphetamines: Increased Alertness and Energy: Since amphetamines are stimulants, they often lead to increased alertness, energy, wakefulness, and wakefulness.
  • Elevated Heart Rate and Blood Pressure: Amphetamines may lead to rapid heart rate (tachycardia) and elevated blood pressure levels (hypertension), potentially increasing both risks.
  • Reduced Appetite: Amphetamine use often causes individuals to experience decreased hunger levels, leading to weight loss in many instances.
  • Insomnia: Difficulties with falling asleep or staying asleep is one of the common side effects associated with taking amphetamines late in the day, particularly later doses taken late at night.
  • Jitters and Restlessness: Use of amphetamine can result in feelings of restlessness, anxiety or nervousness.
  • Dizziness: Individuals may occasionally experience dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Long-Term Risks:  Amphetamines pose long-term risks through misuse and addiction, leading to compulsive use despite negative consequences.

Long-Term Side Effects

  • Cardiovascular Complications: Chronic amphetamine use increases your risk for cardiovascular issues like heart attacks, stroke, and cardiomyopathy.
  • Psychological Effects: Prolonged use may lead to psychological side effects such as anxiety disorders, paranoia, and hallucinations.
  • Cognitive Impairments: With prolonged usage comes an increased risk for cognitive impairments that impair memory, attention span and decision-making processes.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies: Reduced appetite and weight loss can result in nutritional deficiencies that lead to serious health complications.
  • Dental Issues: Methamphetamine misuse has long been linked with dental complications known as “meth mouth,” including severe tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Mental Health Disorders: Amphetamine use may aggravate or precipitate mental health conditions like depression and bipolar disorder.
  • Social and Legal Consequences of Amphetamine Misuse: Misusing amphetamine can result in legal troubles, damaged relationships and social isolation.
  • Tolerance and Withdrawal: Over time, individuals may develop tolerance, needing higher doses to produce the same effects. This may then result in withdrawal symptoms when stopping taking the drug abruptly.

What is Methamphetamine?

Figure 02: Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, more commonly referred to by its street name “meth,” is a potency and highly addictive central nervous system stimulant similar to amphetamine. Its effects are significantly stronger on brain and body functioning. Methamphetamine comes in both legal prescription forms via Desoxyn for rare conditions like ADHD and obesity as well as illicit street use such as crystal meth.

Illicit methamphetamine has long been recognized for its high potential for abuse and the severe physical and psychological consequences associated with its use. When used recreationally, methamphetamine produces intense feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and alertness that quickly subside. Yet these short-lived highs often prompt repeat use to maintain them; This cycle may quickly spiral into addiction unless regular doses are consumed to sustain its high.

Long-term methamphetamine use has the potential to bring with it serious health concerns, from cardiovascular issues and dental decay (commonly referred to as meth mouth), cognitive impairments, and mental health disorders such as paranoia or hallucinations to environmental and safety risks related to its production process. Additionally, its production can pose environmental and safety hazards due to the toxic chemicals involved in its creation.

Methamphetamine abuse poses a substantial public health threat due to its highly addictive nature and harmful side-effects; thus requiring preventative, treatment, and rehabilitation programs in order to deal with its widespread challenges.

Chemical Structure and Composition of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, an even more potent derivative of amphetamine, possesses the chemical formula C10H15N to indicate this fact. This signifies it contains 10 carbon atoms (C), 15 hydrogen atoms (H), and one nitrogen atom (N).

Here is an explanation of methamphetamine’s chemical structure:

Methamphetamine also shares with amphetamine the same central phenethylamine structure with an attached nitrogen atom in its central core; in methamphetamine’s case however, this core comprises of an interlinked carbon six-membered benzene ring structure and one nitrogen atom.

Methamphetamine contains additional methyl (CH3) groups than amphetamine; these two methyl groups, one on either side of its core of phenethylamine, contribute significantly to its increased potency and effects.

Methamphetamine contains a chiral carbon atom, meaning that its chemical structures allow it to exist as two mirror-image enantiomers known as dextromethamphetamine (D-methamphetamine) and L-methamphetamine (L-methamphetamine), with dextromethamphetamine being the more psychoactive, stimulating form primarily responsible for methamphetamine’s stimulant properties.

Treatment Options for Methamphetamine

  • Detoxification: Individuals suffering from methamphetamine addiction must first go through detoxification to safely withdraw. Detox can include managing withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and intense cravings with medical supervision and support from healthcare providers.
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation: Residential treatment programs offer intensive, round-the-clock care within a safe environment. Such programs typically consist of individual counseling sessions, group therapy sessions, education on addiction treatment methods and skill building to address both its physical and psychological aspects.
  • Outpatient Rehabilitation: Outpatient programs allow individuals to stay at home while attending treatment sessions at a clinic or facility. This option may be ideal for milder forms of addiction or as a step down after inpatient treatments have concluded.
  • Therapy and Counseling: Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management and motivational enhancement therapy may assist individuals in changing their patterns of drug abuse, managing cravings and creating healthier coping skills.
  • Support Groups: Peer support, encouragement and guidance during recovery is often found through self-help groups like Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA) or SMART Recovery.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT): At this point in time, no FDA-approved medications exist specifically to address methamphetamine addiction; however, research into potential medications continues. Some may even be prescribed in order to manage symptoms associated with co-occurring mental health disorders or other related medical problems.
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment: Many individuals struggling with methamphetamine addiction also exhibit co-occurring mental health disorders; therefore, dual diagnosis treatment involves simultaneously treating substance use issues as well as mental health concerns simultaneously.
  • Family Therapy: Engaging family members in treatment can provide invaluable help and provide an environment conducive to recovery.
  • Relapse Prevention: Learning strategies to identify and control triggers, cravings and high-risk situations is paramount in order to stop relapse from happening.
  • Long-Term Aftercare: Continued care and support are crucial in aiding recovery from mental illness, so postcare services such as ongoing therapy sessions, counseling sessions with counselors or participation in support groups may all play an essential part of healing and restoration.

Medical Uses

 Limited Medical Applications: Compared with amphetamine, methamphetamine has very limited medical applications. Although in rare instances, Desoxyn which contains methamphetamine could potentially be prescribed to treat ADHD or obesity, this form of methamphetamine treatment remains uncommon and preferred as there’s often risk associated with its abuse potential.

Side Effects and Risks of Methamphetamine

Short-Term Side Effects 

  • Methamphetamine Use: Intense Euphoria: Methamphetamine use can produce an intense and pleasurable state known as “rush.”
  • Increased Energy and Alertness: Users often report increased energy, alertness, and less fatigue after taking this supplement.
  • Reduced Appetite and Weight Loss: Methamphetamine use often results in significant reduction of appetite and subsequent weight loss.
  • Increased of Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine use can increase both heart rate and blood pressure. Tachycardia occurs rapidly while hypertension refers to elevated levels.
  • Dilated Pupils: Some users may suffer from dilated (enlarged ) pupils that can make them more responsive to light.
  • Focus and Concentration Enhancer: Some individuals use methamphetamine to enhance their ability to concentrate and focus on tasks at hand.
  • Clenching of Jaw and Teeth Grinding: Common side effects associated with methamphetamine use include jaw clenching and teeth grinding – known collectively as “bruxism.”

Long-Term Risks:

Addiction: Methamphetamine can be highly addictive, leading to physical and psychological dependence if regularly used.

Cardiovascular Complications: Long-term methamphetamine use may result in heart-related problems such as arrhythmias, heart attacks and cardiovascular disease.

Neurological and Cognitive Effects: Extensive use may result in cognitive impairments, memory problems and changes to brain structure and function over time.

Methamphetamine Misuse Can Affect Mental Health Conditions: Methamphetamine misuse has the potential to contribute or aggravate mental health conditions like anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, and psychosis.

 Dental Complications: Methamphetamine use has been linked with serious dental complications, including tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – sometimes referred to colloquially as “meth mouth.”

Skin Issues: Chronic users can develop skin conditions like acne, sores, and open wounds due to repeated skin-picking sessions or hallucinated “bugs” underneath their skin.

Weight Loss and Malnutrition: Prolonged appetite suppression and weight loss may result in nutritional deficiencies and physical weakness, possibly even leading to permanent injury or weakness.

Social and Legal Consequences of Methamphetamine Abuse: Methamphetamine use may result in legal troubles, broken relationships, unemployment or social isolation – among many other problems.

Tolerance and Withdrawal: People who regularly take methamphetamine may develop tolerance, needing higher dosages to achieve the same effects. Quitting abruptly may result in severe withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue, and intense cravings that make life very unpleasant indeed.

Comparison between Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Here’s a comparison chart highlighting the key differences between amphetamine and methamphetamine:

Aspect Amphetamine Methamphetamine
Chemical Structure Similar to naturally occurring neurotransmitters like dopamine and norepinephrine. Similar to amphetamine but with an additional methyl group, making it more potent.
Medical Uses Prescribed for ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity. Limited medical use, primarily Desoxyn for ADHD and rarely for obesity.
Recreational Use Less commonly abused recreationally. Widely abused as a recreational drug, known as “crystal meth.”
Potency Milder stimulant effects compared to methamphetamine. Stronger and more potent stimulant effects.
Addiction Potential Lower potential for addiction when used as prescribed. High potential for addiction, often leading to severe dependence.
Side Effects Generally milder side effects at therapeutic doses. More pronounced and potentially harmful side effects, even at lower doses.
Health Risks Fewer health risks when used as prescribed. Increased risks of cardiovascular issues, dental problems (“meth mouth”), and mental health problems.
Legal Status Generally available as prescription medications. Classified as a Schedule II controlled substance in most countries due to its high abuse potential.
Production Hazards Less commonly associated with illegal production. Illicit production involves dangerous chemicals, posing environmental and safety hazards.
Street Names Adderall, Dexedrine (brand names for prescription versions). Crystal, crystal meth, ice (street names for illicit versions).


Amphetamine and methamphetamine are both stimulant drugs, yet differ greatly in terms of potency, usage, and abuse potential. Amphetamine may be prescribed for ADHD or narcolepsy with milder effects and reduced abuse potential.

On the other hand, methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance often abused as “crystal meth” with serious health risks and legal ramifications if misused; understanding these distinctions is key for responsible use as well as addressing public health concerns associated with these substances.