Speed is used to refer specifically to methamphetamines, or meth. However, speed refers to just about any amphetamine drug today, except Adderall, which usually goes by other names when it’s being misused on the street.
Meth, and the other amphetamines that get called speed, generally have the same side effects, risks, and symptoms associated with use. However, the severity of the side effects and risks can vary somewhat from amphetamine to amphetamine.
One of the problems associated with using speed is that the users often don’t know which amphetamine they have been given. This can lead to dosing problems or people underestimating their risk of side effects or behavioral effects from the drug.
One of the problems with speed is that, regardless of what amphetamine is used, many options are available for users in how they want to use the drug. That means that it can sometimes be harder to spot the obvious signs of amphetamine being used, especially if the person using the drug chooses one of the less obvious methods of use.
That said, not all amphetamines can be used all the ways amphetamines can be used, which means that often people using these drugs go from a less obvious method, like orally ingesting the drug, to a more obvious method, like smoking or injecting the drug.
The most common ways to use speed include:
- Swallowing (oral route)
Most amphetamines are available in either a pill or a powdered form, but crystal meth, the crystalline form of methamphetamines, is another option. Like most other crystalline drugs, there are several different ways to use amphetamines, but it often takes a little more preparation.
The additional work combined with the higher penalties often associated with crystal meth and other crystal drugs often work together to lower the price of this form of the drug. Unfortunately, crystalline drugs are often harder to dose and may be contaminated with other substances or swapped out for other crystalline drugs. This can lead to an increased risk of overdose, extreme side effects, and other problems associated with using recreational amphetamines.
There are a lot of potential side effects from speed, depending on what drug you’re taking, how much you take, and how long you take the drug.
Here are some of the common side effects of amphetamines:
- Agitation or anger
- Bladder pain
- Bloody or cloudy urine (may need medical attention)
- Crying for no reason
- Feeling persecuted or mistrustful of others
- Difficult or painful urination
- Needing to urinate more often than normal
- Lower back pain
- Rapid emotional reactions
- Mood swings
- Feeling detached from your body
- Feeling like you aren’t real
- Less appetite
- Weight loss
- Voice changes
In addition to those relatively common side effects, here are some of the more uncommon side effects of amphetamine use:
- Hoarse voice
- Significant metal alterations
In addition to these symptoms, many others are either rare, may be associated with specific amphetamines more than others, or may occur with anyone. However, we don’t know how frequently or who is at the greatest risk.
There are also the more stereotypical risks associated with amphetamine use, like grinding or otherwise damaging your teeth, muscle cramps, weight loss, constipation, loss of sex drive, constipation, or thinning hair.
There are also a large number of symptoms that may indicate an overdose, including:
- Extreme aggression
- Extreme anger
- Dark urine
- Dizziness or faintness
- Fast breathing
- Seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there
- Stomach cramps
You might have noticed a fair amount of overlap between the common side effects and symptoms of speed use and the signs and symptoms of an overdose. This is because there are some serious similarities between the side effects, which can make it a lot more difficult to tell when you’re dealing with an overdose, vs. just having some side effects from the drug.
Overcoming speed addiction can be complicated and can take a lot of work and willingness to examine your life, mental health, and physical health to recover and achieve lasting sobriety.
Fortunately, you don’t need to overcome speed addiction on your own. If you’re serious about kicking this habit, contact Achieve Wellness Center. Our team is here to help you overcome addiction and give you the treatment and tools you need to live life on your terms, free from substance dependence.
Medically Reviewed By
Nicole Rettino-Lambert LCSW, LCADC, CCS, CCTP, CSTIP
Nicole Rettino-Lambert is a dually licensed clinician with over 20 years of experience working with children, adolescents, and adults in both addiction treatment and mental health treatment. Along with extensive experience in clinical work, she has held leadership roles in both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatments centers in New Jersey. Throughout her various leadership positions, Rettino-Lambert has developed clinical programming, assisted staff in their growth and development in the clinical field, and had the privilege of helping numerous individuals on their path to recovery.