Married With Addiction: How Amphetamine Abuse Alters Your Spouse's Brain

Amphetamine addiction comes in many forms. Some people become addicted to illegal amphetamines, such as methamphetamine. Others become addicted to legal amphetamines, such as Adderall. But regardless of the source, amphetamines cause major changes in a person's body. Listed below are some of the ways amphetamine abuse alters your spouse's brain.

Excessive Dopamine Levels

When your spouse abuses amphetamines, you'll likely see behavioral changes in your loved one, such as an increase in energy, confidence, and risk-taking behavior. These changes are due to the fact that amphetamines increase dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for human movement, cognition, pleasure, and motivation. It's essential for human survival; however, excessive dopamine levels cause major problems.

High dopamine levels can leave your spouse prone to bouts of psychosis similar to those experienced by individuals with schizophrenia. If this happens, your loved one may experience the following symptoms:

  • hallucinations
  • paranoia
  • delusional thinking
  • incoherent rambling
  • memory disturbances

When left untreated, the above symptoms can result in erratic, dangerous behavior. Consequently, if your spouse is experiencing the above symptoms, get your loved one help immediately.

Low Dopamine Levels

In the short term, amphetamines cause an increase in dopamine levels; however, as time goes by, amphetamines actually cause low dopamine levels. This happens as the brain's natural dopamine production is disrupted by the effects of amphetamines.

Symptoms of low dopamine include the following:

  • lack of motivation
  • lack of energy
  • fatigue
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • difficulty concentrating
  • memory loss
  • feelings of hopelessness
  • suicidal thoughts

If your spouse has been suffering from extreme depression and has been speaking about suicidal thoughts, get your loved one help as soon as possible.

Psychological Dependence

Because amphetamines cause feelings of euphoria and pleasure, the stimulants are extremely addictive. To make matters worse, when the brain's natural dopamine production is disrupted by long-term amphetamine abuse, the addict's brain becomes dependent on amphetamines just to feel normal. Without the drug, the addict's brain remains in a state of low dopamine, resulting in extreme depression and lack of energy and motivation.

If your spouse has been abusing amphetamines for a long time, psychological dependence is a real concern. This dependence makes harmful behavior patterns difficult to stop -- and your spouse may not be able to quit abusing amphetamines without receiving professional help. Because long-term amphetamine abuse can cause permanent brain damage, it's vital to get your spouse help before irreversible damage is done. For more information, contact a clinic such as Bridgeway Recovery Services Inc.