Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • JoAnn T. Tschanz
  • Katherine Treiber
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1755



Amphetamine refers to a group of synthetic chemicals with psychoactive stimulant effects. There are two forms, dextro-amphetamine (d-amphetamine) and levo-amphetamine (l-amphetamine), of which d-amphetamine is the more biologically active. Chemical modifications to the basic structure have produced derivatives with even more potent psychoactive properties. For example, addition of a second methyl group to the chemical structure creates methamphetamine, a highly addictive drug. Modification of the benzene ring of the amphetamine structure creates methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) or Ecstasy, another drug with high addiction and abuse potential (Iversen, Iversen, Bloom, & Roth, 2009).

The behavioral effects of amphetamine include increased alertness, confidence, and euphoria. The drug also reduces fatigue and enhances performance on cognitive tasks, possibly by increasing attention and working memory. However,...

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References and Readings

  1. Feldman, R. S., Meyer, J. S., & Quenzer, L. F. (1997). Stimulants: Amphetamine and cocaine. In Principles of neuropsychopharmacology (pp. 549–568). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar
  2. Gouzoulis-Mayfrank, E., & Daumann, J. (2009). Neurotoxicity of drugs of abuse-the case of methylenedioxyamphetamines (MDMA, ecstasy), and amphetamines. Dialogues in clinical Neuroscience, 11, 305–317.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Iversen, L. L., Iversen, S. D., Bloom, F. E., & Roth, R. H. (2009). Psychostimulants. In Introduction to neuropsychopharmacology (pp. 447–472). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Meyer, J. S., & Quenzer, L. F. (2005). Psychomotor stimulants: Cocaine and the amphetamines. In Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the brain and behavior (pp. 292–300). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • JoAnn T. Tschanz
    • 1
  • Katherine Treiber
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Utah State UniversityCenter for Epidemiologic StudiesLoganUSA
  2. 2.Santa Clara Valley Medical CenterUtah State UniversityLoganUSA
  3. 3.University of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA