When it comes to amphetamine vs. methamphetamine, there are not too many differences. In terms of chemistry, these two drugs are very similar. Both are controlled substances. Both can be abused and both are addictive. And while both of these drugs can have serious consequences when abused, one is much worse than the other.
Methamphetamine is often called meth for short, while amphetamine is typically referred to as amphetamines, a class of related drugs. Both meth and amphetamines are stimulants. This means that when you take them they cause your blood pressure and heart rate to increase. They speed up the body’s metabolism and raise body temperature. These effects are also accompanied by a pleasant feeling of euphoria, lots of energy, an increased ability to focus and often the desire to be active and get things done.
Chemically, methamphetamine and amphetamines have very similar structures. There is one small structural difference that allows meth to enter your brain more quickly than an amphetamine can. This means that for anyone abusing meth, the rush or the high comes on more quickly and more intensely. This makes meth more susceptible to abuse, more addictive and more dangerous.
Both meth and amphetamines are Schedule II controlled substances as categorized by the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA. Schedule II means they have accepted medical uses and can be prescribed, but that they are also highly addictive. Amphetamines as prescription medication are actually very common. They make up the main class of drugs used to treat kids with ADHD. Meth can also be used for ADHD, but is less common. It can also be used to treat obesity. As compared to amphetamines, meth is not prescribed very often.
Abusing either drug is harmful and risky. Side effects are similar and include increased heart rate and blood pressure, loss of appetite and excessive sweating. Meth additionally causes headaches, teeth grinding, tremors, blurred vision, dizziness and constipation. The side effects become more severe and dangerous when a person abuses one of these drugs as opposed to following a doctor’s orders. Overdose, addiction and death are possible with each drug. Long-term effects of abusing meth are particularly bad and can include psychosis, rotting teeth, skin infections and permanent brain damage.
There are many negatives to recreational drugs. Both meth and amphetamines have medical uses and both are often abused. Meth is most often abused for a high, while abusers of amphetamines may be looking to lose weight or to focus and stay up late for studying. There is no good reason to abuse either of these drugs, and both of them can cause serious and lasting damage. If anyone you know is abusing meth or amphetamines, it is important to intervene and make sure that person gets help before addiction sets in or permanent harm is done.