The Speed Drug: Risks, Signs of Abuse and Withdrawals - AspenRidge

The Speed Drug: Risks, Signs of Abuse and Withdrawals

Speed is any classification of an amphetamine drug. Whatever the type of speed drug, there is the risk of abusing it. is a drug that carries many risks when it is abused. There is no distinction between an amphetamine that’s legal or illicit if it’s abused. It can lead to addiction, and has for many people. Speed is a dangerous drug that comes in many forms, both illegal and legal.

The Speed Drug: Risks, Signs of Abuse and Withdrawals

the speed drug risks and signs of abuseIf you use speed recreationally or have been prescribed the drug for medicinal purposes, you may not realize its risks. It’s an important medication for people with ADHD or narcolepsy but can be harmful. There have been many cases where people have fallen into addiction with amphetamine use. Even if it’s just taken one time, it can become dependency and eventually full-blown addiction. There is bodily harm that can occur. For example, people have experienced heart attacks and dangerously high body temperature that damages the brain permanently. Perhaps you have been using speed, and you’ve been unaware of the consequences of it. You may have gotten the speed from a doctor to help with a particular condition. Or, it’s possible that you obtained it illegally on the street. Either way, if you’re abusing it, you need to know the dangers of it.

Speed helps users to stay awake and focused. It is used for a variety of medical issues due to it’s many effects on the body. When used as prescribed, it has the ability to help ease many health problems. It gets rid of fatigue and reduces appetite. However, as a Schedule II drug, it has proven to be highly abused. It causes severe physical and psychological dependence when it’s abused.

The following information is extremely valuable if you’re using amphetamines for medicinal or recreational purposes. You’ll learn more about the risks involved with speed. You’ll also learn about the signs of abuse and addiction, and how to get treatment for yourself or a loved one.

What is the Speed Drug?

Speed is a fairly well known and widely used street drug. A synthetic stimulant is made in ‘super labs’ all over the world. Amphetamines are sold for legal and illegal purposes. It is common for people to think that amphetamines are the same as methamphetamines. This is not the case. This quick video explains what amphetamines do to the body and it’s effects. As it comes in many forms, it has various appearances. This includes an off-white or pink-hued powder or in a crystal-like form.

Crystal meth (methamphetamine) is often called speed but is actually far more dangerous. It has a crystal-like appearance, and is highly addictive. There is but one methamphetamine that is prescribed with caution as a medication for the terminally ill. There are many amphetamines used for prescriptions. These are used to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

To be clear, the medical system doesn’t refer to Adderall as speed. They are in the same class of stimulant drugs which is known as amphetamines. Adderall is combined with dextroamphetamine. There is varying degree of strength for all speed drugs and are all stimulants.

Whether you’re using the type of speed that’s illegal or legal, misusing speed has its consequences. Any stimulant drug can be abused, and abuse will often leads to addiction.

History of Speed

The speed drug, in all it’s forms, has had a long history. Amphetamines were synthesized in 1887 in Germany. It was named phenylisopropylamine due to the compounds it took to create it. A Japanese chemist managed to synthesize ephedrine. Methamphetamine was then synthesized from ephedrine. Neither of these drugs were used as prescription medications until 1934. Amphetamine was sold in an inhaler and used as a decongestant.

During World War II, speed drugs were used with the Allied and Axis forces. The stimulant effects kept soldiers awake and focused. They also had a major comedown and were then susceptible to being captured or killed. They also became violent as usage continued due to psychosis. Soldiers even became unpredictable and it took some time to normalize. Many soldiers continued on with their addiction because there was no recognition of the dangers.

It eventually became evident that speed was highly addictive and causing mental issues within people using it. The government began to restrict the sales of all speed drugs. In the 1970’s, amphetamine was classified as a schedule II controlled substance.

Due to high demand for Methamphetamine which is nicknamed speed on the streets, they are synthesized illegally by people. If you’ve ever seen Breaking Bad, this tells the tale of a high school chemist turned meth maker. It was lucrative enough to pay for his huge medical bills due to his terminal cancer. This tells the tale of why people would ‘cook’ meth. Methamphetamine is prevalent on the black market whereas amphetamines are not as popular. This video includes users talking about what meth did to their lives.

Speed vs. Meth

Speed is the street name for stimulants. Methamphetamine is sold on the streets under the name speed or crystal meth. They are the same drug but they come in different forms and are used differently. This causes their effects and timelines to be different also. Meth that is sold as speed will come in the form of a pill or powder. It can be taken orally or injected.

Crystal meth is a solid rock or crystal and is smoked. Smoking it makes it more intense than ingesting it. Meth results in a stimulating blast of energy almost instantly. The user will be able to concentrate on things acutely and they will experience extreme pleasure. When someone takes a pill orally, the stimulating effects are less intense. In this sense, it’s safer than smoking meth.

With both drugs, there is a risk that the brain will become dependent on the surges of happy chemicals to feel good. Meth causes addiction far more quickly than prescription amphetamines. Regardless, they work on the brain in the same way. The risk of addiction is prevalent with both drugs.

Why is it Called Speed?

Science defines speed as the measurement of how fast something moves or is accomplished. Speed is accomplishing something quickly. When the ‘speed drug’ enter your body, it interacts with dopamine levels. The results of what this does as a high become clear. People talk fast, their reactions are speedy, and their movements become heightened. The heart rate increases too. Many of the body’s systems simply become faster. This is why it was given the name speed.

Effects on the Brain and Body

Speed has an effect on both your brain and body. It is one of the only drugs that can cause psychosis. Here are the effects of speed on the brain and body in detail.

Speed and the Brain

As speed has an impact on the brain’s neurotransmitter chemicals and dopamine, it alters your central nervous system. Every time you take speed, it causes dopamine levels to surge. Dopamine is the chemical of pleasure. It helps you to feel good. When you take any kind of drug that increases dopamine levels, you’re putting yourself at risk of becoming hooked on the feeling. Your brain will begin to give the job up to the drug.

The brain becomes dependent on speed to feel good. Speed suppresses your appetite. When the brain is overstimulated constantly be speed, it will change the brain structurally. If you try to stop once the brain become dependent on the stimulation, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms such as anger, restlessness, sweating, and uncontrollable shaking. Going through the recovery process when speed addiction occurs will include mental health therapies.

Speed and the Body

Due to the surge of dopamine levels, you will feel euphoria. Your body will experience tingles and you’ll have increased energy. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase so you’re at risk of high fevers in the body or cardiac arrest. Studies have found that amphetamines of all kind age the arteries dramatically. This can cause a user to look much older than they are. As the drug interferes with stem cell functioning, the body is unable to repair and renew itself. The skin looks aged beyond your years and there are often skin sores that are scratched to make matter worse. There is also risk of stroke, heart attacks, and aneurysm rupture.

List of Amphetamines and Their Description

Amphetamine is created with the compounds levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine. The compound dextroamphetamine is more potent and is used in ADD, ADHD, and narcolepsy medications. Methamphetamine is a drug made illegally in labs strictly for recreational use. This is due to the high health risks. There are plenty of amphetamines that are used pharmaceutically and have various brand names. The following is a list of these medications legally used:

  • Adderall – the brand name of a medication used for ADHD in both children and adults. It is also used for narcolepsy. Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is in the class if central nervous system stimulants.
  • Adderall XR – It is the same ingredients as Adderall and prescribed for ADHD but it is an extended-release form.
  • Ritalin – A name brand that is used as a central nervous system stimulant. It is used for ADHD and narcolepsy. It contains methylphenidate and is under the same drug classification as amphetamines by the FDA.
  • Ritalin-SR – It is the same as Ritalin but is an extended version of the drug. It slowly releases the drug over a 30-day period and is ideal for those with narcolepsy.
  • Dextroamphetamine (Dextrostat, Dexedrine, Zenzedi). These medications are used for ADHD as well as narcolepsy and are moderately priced. It increased attention and decreases the restlessness that occurs in people who have ADHD.
  • Concerta – This is another stimulant in the amphetamines family that is prescribed for ADHD. It comes in higher doses that last up to 12 hours. They come in 18 mg, 36 mg, and 54 mg and are only meant to be taken once daily.
  • ProCentra – ProCentra contains dextroamphetamine sulfate and comes in a 5 mg form. It is treated for ADHD, sleep disorders, and narcolepsy. It is potent and acts on the central nervous system as a stimulant an amphetamine enantiomer.
  • Dexedrine Spansule – This drug is another potent amphetamine that contains dextroamphetamine. It is usually taken 1-3 times daily and should be taken 4-6 hours apart.
  • Vyanse – This is the brand name that has lisdexamphetamine as the active ingredient. It is a substituted amphetamine. As an inactive prodrug of dextroamphetamine, it metabolizes into an active form inside the body. So the drug itself requires the body’s functioning to work properly. It is a CNS stimulant like dextroamphetamine. It treats ADHD and is sometimes used in extreme cases of eating disorders but should not be used as a diet pill.
  • Dexmethylphenidate (Focalin) – Focalin is the brand name that contains a form of amphetamine known as dexmethylphenidate. It is a man-made mild stimulant that comes from methyphenidate.
  • Atomoxetine (Strattera) – This is a stimulant drug and a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It is FDA approved for ADHD treatment. For ADHD patients, it is believed to restore the balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
  • Desoxyn – This is the one and only FDA approved drug that contains methamphetamine hydrochloride. Although just a small amount, it is highly regulated and only prescribed to those in extreme pain from terminal illness.

Street Names

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has said there’s not much in the way of legal amphetamines. There are not many street names for these drugs when compared to other prescription drugs like opioids.

Street amphetamines are known as:

  • Uppers.
  • Black beauties.
  • Bennies.
  • Speed.
  • Wake-ups.

Dextroamphetamine is known as dexies. They are an amphetamine and a CNS stimulant used to treat brain disorders like ADHD. They have long-lasting effects that are alluring to those into the euphoric high of stimulants. This also makes them a risk for physical and psychological addiction.

Street meth is well-known in society. Breaking Bad was an in-depth show that allowed us to look into the life of making meth as well as the darkness that surrounds the industry. Meth is extremely addictive and causes many health issues for those who abuse it.

Street meth has many names. They include:

  • Crank.
  • Crystal.
  • Crystal Meth.
  • Meth.
  • Speed.

There is concentrated methamphetamine hydrochloride which is called ice and crystal on the streets.

Goofballs are a street drug that combines amphetamines and barbiturates.

Speed in Pop Culture


Adderall is popular to take recreationally in society regardless of the known consequences. Many students will purchase it off people with ADHD or on the streets to help them study. It gives you mental endurance and a greater ability to concentrate and focus. This is why it’s sometimes termed, “study buddy.” It has amphetamine and dextramphetamine which is prescribed to those with ADHD.

Due to it’s ability to help people think better because they can focus, the ambitious will choose this as their drug of choice. Not for the high but for the ability to achieve. Tao Lin is a writer and has confessed taking Adderall. He would stay up all day and night to write. Detroit rapper Danny Brown called himself the Adderall Admiral. He says the drug is like steroids in the rap game.

Ecstasy and Molly

Ecstasy is methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA). It is an extremely euphoric drug that was introduced in the rave scene. Before that, it was actually a psychotherapy treatment in the 1970’s. It was introduced into the party scene as a safer alternative to cocaine. Molly is another form of ecstasy that comes in powder and crystal form.

Word on the streets is that Molly is the second coming of ecstasy. In the 90’s, the rave scene started in New York and Chicago. Now it’s Molly’s turn. Electronic dance music has increased in popularity and there are some big festivals that happen in Las Vegas, New York, and Miami. The Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh actually dedicated a novel to the drug, which became a bestseller. The book was called Ecstasy: Three Tales of Chemical Romance.

Miley Cyrus sang about Molly in her hit called, “We Can’t Stop.”

“So la da da di

We like to party, 

Dancing with Molly,

Doing whatever we want.”

Celebrities Addicted to Speed

There are many celebrities over the last few decades that used amphetamines for various reasons. Here are some of the most prevalent.

Lindsay Lohan, a child Disney star was suspected of smoking meth. Her father spoke out about it in 2011. Lohan has been admitted into detox and rehabilitation on a number of occasions for meth and other substance addictions.

Robert Downey Jr. has reclaimed his life and career but things weren’t always so good. In 2000, he was arrested for having methamphetamine and cocaine in his possession. He went to rehab, got himself healthy and eventually made a career comeback.

Marilyn Monroe was given a secret vitamin formula by Dr. Max Jacobson which incorporated methamphetamines in it. She was injected with this meth formula regularly.

Fergie, singer from Black Eyed Peas and solo artist has been vocal about her drug use. She did a lot of meth and experienced the psychosis that comes with it. Fergie was in fear that the FBI and CIA were following her. She was just 90 pounds at one point.

Yasmine Bleeth, co-star in Baywatch has experienced a problem with meth and cocaine addiction.

Stephanie Pratt, star on the Hills reality TV show had an addiction to meth. She wrote about it in her book saying that addiction developed right away. She would take four hits before school and would usually have an average of 12 hits per day.

Tom Sizemore has experienced drug addiction with both heroin and crystal meth. He is still struggling with his battle and has been on the Rehab TV show with Doctor Drew.

Actor Nick Stahl checked into rehabilitation two times for his meth addiction.

Signs of Speed Abuse

When someone recreationally uses a form of any speed drug, they are abusing it. Speed abuse can be classified as using prescription amphetamines for too long. Both types of abuse are common.

If you’re abusing speed, there will be several signs. Common symptoms include:

  • An irregular heart beat
  • An increase in your breathing rate
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Feeling nervous or restless
  • Having problems with sleeping
  • Aggressive behaviors

Speed abuse doesn’t necessarily mean you’re addicted to speed. Of course, it can lead to addiction in time but the conditions are different in many ways. If you’re abusing speed, it may be because it makes you feel good. You’re more energetic and you may like the fact you lose weight rapidly.

That doesn’t mean you do it all the time and when you stop, withdrawal symptoms don’t occur. You may not experience addiction symptoms. The problem is there is the risk that addiction may develop without you realizing it. These types of addictions always begin with abuse. It also might not take long to form an addiction once you start abusing speed.

Is it Possible to Form a Speed Addiction?

Yes, there are high risks of becoming addicted to speed. Methamphetamines are more likely but when someone abuses amphetamine prescriptions, it’s also possible to develop addiction. Users like the way the family of speed drugs make them feel. It evokes feelings of euphoria that keep them coming back to use the drug repeatedly.

How long it takes to becoming addicted to speed is dependent on each user. Someone can become hooked on meth on the very first puff they smoke. It can also take months of chronic use for someone else. While short-term abuse makes a user feel excited with intense feelings and a greater sense of focus, long term abuse becomes dangerous.

The use of speed causes damage to a user’s body and mind. Depression and memory loss are common issues with chronic use of the drug. The short-term side effects can cause delusion, high temperature, problems with the heart, and paranoia. When used frequently due to addiction, it can develop into psychosis. Brain damage can occur from chronic use as well, which is irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Speed Addiction

For someone who is addicted to speed, they will experience various signs and symptoms of addiction. They will usually have many of the signs of speed abuse, along with a few additions.

The signs of speed addiction may include:

  • Consistent dilated pupils.
  • Violent and rapid mood swings.
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations.
  • Frequent paranoia.
  • Bouts of nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Becoming easily overheated.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Frequent and painful headaches.
  • Cravings for the speed drug.

Are You Addicted to Speed?

You may be addicted to speed if you have experienced any of the above symptoms. Have you noticed any of these signs within yourself? If you have, it is likely that your speed abuse has become an addiction.

If you’re still unsure, taking a drug addiction quiz can offer you some clarity. This quiz will ask you many questions about your speed use. Answer them honestly. You’ll get immediate access to your results. This will tell you if you do have a speed addiction and how to get help.

Speed Withdrawal Symptoms

One of the indicators of an addiction is the presence of withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged speed use will often cause people to experience withdrawal symptoms. Stopping this drug can be quite a shock to the body, which why speed withdrawal symptoms occur.

When you stop using speed, you’re likely to experience many of the following speed withdrawal symptoms:

  • Symptoms of depression.
  • An increase in fatigue.
  • Difficulty sleeping at night.
  • Spending too much time sleeping.
  • Physical agitation.
  • An increase in your appetite.
  • Weight gain.
  • Unpleasant dreams.
  • Aches and pains in the body that are similar to the flu.

These withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with. This is why professional treatment is recommended. Drug detox can help to alleviate many of them, making for a smoother recovery.

The Speed Drug Compared to Other Illicit Drugs

Speed is just one of the many illicit drugs available on the streets. Let’s see how speed drugs compare against the other commonly abused drugs in the United States.

Speed vs. Meth

To keep it simple, speed is amphetamine. This includes prescription amphetamines. It is much like Adderall or Ritalin. Speed is usually a fine powder or a paste. Meth is methamphetamine, a drug that is created in a laboratory illegally.  It is a totally difference substance and comes in a crystal or rock form. Yes, it is a stimulant also but the two are vastly different. Meth is considered to be a form of speed. However, speed is not a form of meth.

Many would say that meth is much more dangerous than speed. This is the case for the prescription type.

The Risks of Speed for Abusers and Addicts

There are many risks associated with using speed. These risks and effects depend on what type of speed is being used. It also depends on how long you use it. Speed has both short and long-term effects for those who use it regularly.

The Short-Term Effects of Speed

The short-term effects of speed might surprise you. You don’t have to use any type of the speed drug for very long to experience the side effects. The different short-term effects of speed include:

  • An increased breathing rate
  • Bouts of diarrhea
  • Clenching of the jaw
  • Grinding teeth
  • Becoming easily overheated
  • Excessive hot or cold sweats (sometimes alternating)
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations.
  • Thought disorders. A person won’t think rationally or logically. They may think someone is following them when nobody is there.
  • Users may act aggressively as a result of threats that don’t actually exist.

There are extreme side effects that can occur as well. They include:

  • Dangerously high body temperatures that can cause brain damage or death.
  • The heart and lungs can fail completely.
  • Psychosis.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Nausea and headaches.
  • Tremors.

The symptoms will often be short-term but can cause damage that is irreversible. While most effects aren’t life-threatening, there are risks of health problems. Taking too much can cause hypertension, pain in the chest and psychosis.

The Long-Term Effects of Speed

The long-term effects of speed can include:

  • Having severe dental problems.
  • Constant dizziness.
  • Problems with skin like scabs or discoloration.
  • Convulsions.
  • Experiencing significant weight loss.
  • Going through a stroke.
  • A risk of heart problems. The heart may pound constantly.
  • Breathing issues.
  • A very high risk of speed dependence or addiction.
  • The risk of falling into a coma.

People who use the speed  drug for a long time may have additional risks as well. They are often at a high risk for exposure to different types of diseases. These can include hepatitis B, HIV, and hepatitis C.

Also, long-term speed or amphetamine use is associated with physical violence. Verbal abuse is also connected as is reckless and aggressive behavior. Tolerance is going to build up quickly which means the user will have to take more to get a similar high. The more speed in the body, the more damage it does. Toxic psychosis is an example of this.

Is There Treatment for Speed Abuse?

If you are a speed drug abuser, you may be wondering if you need treatment. Amphetamine or speed rehab probably isn’t necessary if you don’t have an addiction to speed. However, that doesn’t mean that you don’t need treatment of some kind.

You should think about what it is that is causing you to use speed. External reasons can include the following:

  • Have you experienced the loss of a relationship in your life?
  • Are you under an excessive amount of stress?
  • Have you experienced the loss of a job?
  • Do you have a mental health condition like anxiety or depression?
  • Have you experienced a traumatic event that is troublesome to you?

There is the possibility that you have a co-occurring disorder and don’t even recognize it. Co-occurring disorders are typically associated with two or more addictions occurring at the same time. This is something you need treatment specific treatment for. Doing so now can help you stop using speed or even avoiding addiction to it in the future. After the detox process, you may need counseling may be all that you need to help you stop abusing speed.

Amphetamines Rehab Can Help with Addiction

Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers offer help for speed addictions. There is generally no need to seek out a specialty rehab facility or program for speed. A general addiction treatment center will be able to help you with your speed addiction. This is accomplished in a few different ways, such as:

Offering you the type of speed addiction treatment that will work for you. This includes behavioral therapy and education, diet and nutrition that helps the body recover, and opportunities to improve mental and physical health through activities.

Providing you with counseling and therapy that specifically addresses your unique needs.

Introducing you to other addicts who can offer support and encouragement.

Providing you with family therapy that can assist you with rebuilding broken relationships in your life.

Arranging the appropriate type of aftercare for you to ensure that your recovery is ongoing.

It’s much easier to overcome a speed addiction if you have the necessary support. There are aspects of addiction that you might not be aware of. When you know the spectrum of how speed addiction works and why you became addicted in the first place, you begin to heal. Your chances of being successful are much higher with the appropriate treatment.

If You’re Addicted to Speed, Treatment Offers You Freedom from Addiction

Any speed drug can cause addiction if misused. This is due to the way it works on the central nervous system which affects the brain and body. Amphetamines are helpful for certain medical issues but they also come with side effects that can cause people to want to use more. When they use more, the body and mind becomes dependent. Then the behaviors of addiction begin to unravel your life. It becomes difficult to function without having amphetamines in the system. This is true for legal and illicit versions of the drug.

Speed in all its forms can cause bodily systems to shut down. It causes mental issues like depression and anxiety. One can become angry and violent when they’re on the drug or when they’re withdrawing from it. Something that speed does to someone that other drugs don’t do is cause psychosis. This psychological problem can become quite serious. Delusional thoughts and seeing things that aren’t there can cause you to react irrationally. Injuries can also occur because you’re not thinking rationally. If you begin to feel like there’s a cycle of abuse forming or addiction is ruining your life, there is help available.

Whether it’s a prescription amphetamine or you’re addicted to street speed, there are a variety of treatments that have proven to help. It may feel as though you’re tied to amphetamines forever but it doesn’t need to take over your life. The right speed or amphetamines rehab can help you recover and find the freedom from addiction you’re looking for.

Where Can I Get Help For Speed Addiction?

At AspenRidge Recovery, we know how it feels to become addicted to a drug. We know because our staff has been working with addicts for many years. We have professionally trained therapists and addiction experts that will help you with tried and tested therapies. We understand that you never meant to form an addiction to speed. Addictions can come on quickly and often completely by accident. Once it has set in, it isn’t as easy as just stopping. The brain and body go through withdrawal and it feels like they’re screaming for more of the drug to survive.

Often, addiction treatment is necessary to recover successfully. We want to help you find the success you’re searching for.

Our Intensive Outpatient program (5-Day IOP) is designed to offer you a flexible opportunity to get addiction treatment. You’re still able to go about your normal life while getting the treatment required to rebuild your life. If you’re addicted to speed, it’s much easier to recover successfully when you get treatment. This program will provide you with a treatment plan that meets your unique needs.

If you, or someone you love has an addiction to a speed drug, isn’t it time you seek professional help? addiction Are you looking for a way to recover from speed? Please contact us right away to discuss your options for speed recovery. (April 2004). The amphetamine withdrawal syndrome. Retrieved from: (February 2014). What is speed? Retrieved from: (February 2014). Speed facts at a glance. Retrieved from: (2005). Speed Versus Meth – What is the Difference?. Retrieved from:

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