When the topic of amphetamine vs. methamphetamine comes up, many people often get the two drugs confused. While both substances do share a number of similarities, there are also differences, and understanding them is important.
Amphetamine and Methamphetamine Are Related But Distinct
Amphetamine is best thought of as the “parent” of methamphetamine. It predates meth and is a key ingredient in many medications. Methamphetamine is derived from amphetamine and has received a tremendous amount of press (mostly negative) due to the notoriety of crystal meth, which is meth in a crystallized form. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine are addictive but meth has become more popular among addicts.
The Origins of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine
Amphetamine was first introduced during the 19th century, but wasn’t widely adopted until after the First World War. Physicians of the time noted a number of advantages to using it, such as its ability to open the airways, which made it useful for the treatment of allergies and asthma. Amphetamines could also keep people awake for long periods of time and was administered to soldiers during wartime as a consequence. It suppressed the appetite while providing a burst of energy and was completely legal. However by the 1970s certain restrictions were placed on it.
Methamphetamine is derived from amphetamine akin to how orange juice is derived from an orange. It was first introduced during the 1950s and was administered to people suffering from depression, obesity and even Parkinson’s disease. Like amphetamine, methamphetamine is a stimulant, and can enhance the focus of the user. Both the dopamine and norepinephrine levels within the brain will increase significantly, providing feelings of euphoria and an increase of energy. Despite these benefits however, both substances are addictive and potentially deadly.
Differences Between Amphetamine and Methamphetamine
These two substances are chemically distinct, and are handled differently by the body. Methamphetamine will dissolve into amphetamine once the body metabolizes it. Another key difference between these two drugs is their legal status. While amphetamine is routinely prescribed within medicine methamphetamine is considered dangerous and as such is illegal in most nations.
Methamphetamine is “newer” than amphetamine and its effects are more powerful. Meth also functions faster than amphetamine and is more addictive overall. Even the addicts that abuse the two substances are different. While amphetamine and methamphetamine are usually categorized together by the media, in fact most people that are addicted to one are not addicted to the other. However, those that begin abusing amphetamine may ultimately transition to methamphetamine since meth is stronger. Methamphetamine addicts also have a greater likelihood of losing their jobs and becoming destitute. Criminality among meth addicts also seems to be higher.
Addiction to either of these substances however is extremely dangerous and those that are in this position should seek treatment as soon as possible. Overcoming addiction to either takes effort, inner strength and most important of all, the support of others. There are a number of quality rehab centers that can get you the help you need, so if you or someone you care about is addicted to either substance, get help today.