A lot of people mix up amphetamine and methamphetamine, no surprises there, as both drugs are similar in several ways. Even if they may sound alike there are huge differences between the two. It is important to understand they the two are not the same drug. Each one affects the body differently and produces different side effects.
As a central nervous system stimulant, amphetamine affects the brain chemicals and nerves which control hyperactivity and impulse control. The drug has been around for a long time. Doctors prescribed amphetamine to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The drug is also used to treat Narcolepsy, a chronic sleep disorder.
Meanwhile, methamphetamine or meth is derived from amphetamine. Over the past years, methamphetamine gained popularity as a recreational drug because of its highly addictive properties and addiction rates.
History of the two drugs
The origin of both drugs can people in understanding the difference of amphetamine and methamphetamine.
The drug was developed during the 1900s but was not used until 1920s. During the early days of discovery, doctors use amphetamines to treat several illnesses like:
- weight loss management
- increase activity
During the World War II, officials gave the drug to soldiers to help them stay awake in their post. They also believed that the drug increases energy in the battlefield. Soon after, it made its way into the market as a readily available legal drug because it can suppress appetite and increased energy. It targeted housewives who wanted to lose weight. Today, doctors can only prescribe the controlled drug as to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
Methamphetamine comes from amphetamine and was discovered in the 1950s. Before reports of its highly addictive properties, doctors used to prescribe the drug as a medical treatment for:
- Parkinson’s disease
Eventually, people began to use meth heavily particularly those working in the trucking business to stay alert. It also became a popular weight loss medication. However, the drug can cause more harm than to treat those health problems.
Research shows how dangerous the drug is, these include:
- In a study conducted in 2000, around 5% of American use methamphetamines.
- Around 30,000 more Americans used methamphetamine as a recreational drug in 2013 compare in 2012.
- A total of 12.3 million American used meth and 530,000 of them have regularly used the drug.
- The yearly expenditure of users for meth amounts to $12 billion for the year 2010 alone.
Similarities of the Drug: Deadly and Addictive
Both drugs are central nervous system stimulants, increasing the user’s ability to stay awake and energy levels. Also, they affect the brain chemicals and functions, resulting in a production of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain. This can cause to more psychological problems compared to other drugs.
Other Side Effects include:
- Extreme mood swings
- Loss of appetite
- Extreme weight loss
- Change in sleeping patterns
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- a sudden change in behavior
- Dry mouth
Methamphetamine can affect the user quicker and the effects are stronger compared to amphetamine. Meth can also easily induced addiction than amphetamine. However, both drugs can produce withdrawal symptoms if users choose to stop abruptly.
Withdrawal symptoms of both drugs include:
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound
- Drug cravings
- Extreme mood swings associated with bipolar disorder
- Suicidal thoughts
- Sensory misperception
- Hearing sounds that are not real
Other physical symptoms of amphetamine withdrawal include:
- Oversleeping is a common occurrence amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction
- Excessive hunger
- Muscle Pain
- Stomach cramps
- Lack of coordination
- Cardiac arrest
In chemistry, Amphetamine is chemically known as phenylethylamine. While methamphetamine referred to as N-methylamphetamine. When the body metabolized methamphetamine breaks down into amphetamine. This means meth turns into and excreted as amphetamine.
In summary, the differences of both drugs are as follows:
- Use to treat ADHD and narcolepsy, a type of sleep disorder
- Doctors can prescribe the drug as a treatment for certain diseases
- Amphetamine referred as phenylethylamine
- Meth is more popular among drug users.
- It affects the users quicker and produces stronger side effects.
- Methamphetamine is chemically known as N-methylamphetamine.
- When the body metabolized methamphetamine it breaks down into amphetamine. This means the body converts the drug into amphetamine and excreted the same way.
- Considered too dangerous to prescribe and classified as an illegal drug worldwide.
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