In DSM-III, this disorder is called Amphetamine or Similarly Acting Sympathomimetic Dependence

Diagnostic Criteria

Either tolerance or withdrawal:

  • Tolerance: need for markedly increased amounts of substance to achieve the desired effect, or markedly diminished effect with regular use of the same amount.
  • Withdrawal: development of Amphetamine or Similarly Acting Sympathomimetic Withdrawal after cessation of or reduction in substance use.


For more information, see Substance Dependence

The patterns of use and course of Amphetamine Dependence are similar to those of Cocaine Dependence because both substances are potent central nervous system stimulants with similar psychoactive and sympathomimetic effects. However, amphetamines are longer acting than cocaine and thus are usually self-administered less frequently. As with Cocaine Dependence, usage may be chronic or episodic, with binges ("speed runs") punctuated by brief drug-free periods. Aggressive or violent behavior is associated with Amphetamine Dependence, especially when high doses are smoked (e.g., "ice") or administered intravenously. As with cocaine, intense but temporary anxiety, as well as paranoid ideation and psychotic episodes that resemble Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type, are often seen, especially in association with high-dose use. Tolerance to amphetamines develops and often leads to substantial escalation of the dose. Conversely, some individuals with Amphetamine Dependence develop reverse tolerance (sensitization). In these cases, small doses may produce marked stimulant and other adverse mental and neurological effects.


The following specifiers may be applied to a diagnosis of Amphetamine Dependence:

  • With Physiological Dependence
  • Without Physiological Dependence
  • Early Full Remission
  • Early Partial Remission
  • Sustained Full Remission
  • Sustained Partial Remission
  • On Agonist Therapy
  • In a Controlled Environment


See Stimulant Use Disorder

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