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What Are the Different Uses of Amphetamines?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 12 August 2014
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Among the many uses of amphetamines, very few are legal or currently prescribed. Amphetamines have many outdated uses, but typically the only current use is as a treatment for attention deficit disorder. It is common for amphetamines to be misused for a variety of purposes, not all of which relate to focus. Some doctors may still advise uses of amphetamines unrelated to attention, but this should be undertaken only in unusual circumstances. Most areas consider amphetamines to be dangerous controlled substances, and uses of amphetamines outside the medical system can result in serious punishments.

The main medical uses of amphetamines are for focus, but mood disorders are sometimes treated with amphetamines as well. Amphetamines can promote focus in people who have attention deficit disorder or otherwise disordered thoughts, though typically the person must qualify as having a specific disorder in order to obtain the drugs. As amphetamines can elevate a person's mood rapidly, these drugs are sometimes prescribed for people who are depressed or otherwise down. The mood-enhancing effects of amphetamines are so strong that they can create delusions of grandeur or an unusually optimistic attitude toward life in general.

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Some of the more unusual uses of amphetamines are for professional purposes. Pilots, astronauts, and other people who perform dangerous, detail-oriented tasks can be told to take amphetamines in order to promote safety. While these drugs can be effective for this purpose, they can also result in extreme fatigue once the drugs wear off. This can be problematic when the problem that requires focus has not yet been resolved.

Amphetamines have also been used for weight loss and sometimes are still prescribed for this purpose. Unfortunately, the way that amphetamines promote weight loss is through making a person cease to eat. People who take amphetamines often feel increased energy and a severe reduction in hunger. It is common for people on amphetamines to stop eating entirely while on the drug. Essentially, weight loss by amphetamines is no better than drug-induced anorexia and should only be used in the direst of cases.

Illegal use of amphetamines is somewhat varied and includes all the uses above but without a prescription. People abuse amphetamines in order to study, improve focus, and lose weight. While studying under the influence of amphetamines is probably the most common abuse of the drug, using amphetamines to stay alert while under the influence of alcohol is also common. Simply taking amphetamines in order to feel the pleasant high provided by the drug or combat withdrawal is typical for abusers.

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