The effects of any drug (including amphetamines) vary from person to person. How amphetamines affect a person depends on many things including their size, weight and health, also whether the person is used to taking it. The effects of amphetamines, as with any drug, also depend on the amount taken.
There is no safe level of amphetamine use. Use of any drug always carries some risk—even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It is important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Depending on how amphetamines are taken, the effects may be felt immediately (through injecting or smoking) or within 30 minutes (if snorted or swallowed).
A high dose of amphetamines can cause a person to overdose. This means that a person has taken more amphetamines than their body can cope with. Not knowing the strength or purity of amphetamines increases the risk of overdose. Injecting runs a greater risk of overdose due to large amounts of the drug entering the blood stream and quickly travelling to the brain.
The effects of a high dose of amphetamines can intensify some of the effects listed in the diagram. People may also experience:
High doses and frequent heavy use can also create an “amphetamine psychosis”, characterised by paranoid delusions, hallucinations and bizarre, aggressive or violent behaviour. These symptoms usually disappear a few days after the person stops using amphetamines.
As the effects of amphetamines begin to wear off, a person may experience a range of effects. These effects can last for several days after use and may include:
Some of the long-term effects of amphetamine use include:
The effects of mixing amphetamines with other drugs, including alcohol, prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines, are often unpredictable.
Mixing amphetamines with other stimulant drugs (such as cocaine or ecstasy) increases the stimulant effects and places enormous pressure on the heart and body, which can lead to stroke.
Combining amphetamines with depressant drugs such as alcohol, cannabis, heroin or benzodiazepines also places the body under great stress.
Last Reviewed: 27 January 2012
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