How To Tell If Someone Is On Speed


Speed is a powerful stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system, leading to increased energy, alertness, and euphoria. You can recognise when someone has taken this amphetamine by their sudden burst of energy, erratic behaviour and unusual agitation.

It is useful to know the effects speed has on individuals, as prolonged or excessive use of the drug can result in a range of physical and psychological symptoms, including mood swings, panic attacks, and extreme weight loss.

If someone you know shows regular patterns of drug use, potentially followed by periods of withdrawal, there is a chance they are suffering from amphetamine addiction.

This article will explore the symptoms of speed use and what to do if you or someone you know needs help to overcome an amphetamine addiction.

Physical Signs of Amphetamine Abuse

The physical signs of speed use include increased energy and restlessness, such as constant fidgeting or rapid speech. If you’re worried that a loved one might be struggling with amphetamine addiction, being on the lookout for these physical signs is an important first step. Apart from the obvious signs of increased energy, you might also notice dilated pupils, a higher-than-normal heart rate, and an unusual elevation in body temperature.

Other red flags include weight loss, appetite changes, depression, and sleep disturbances like insomnia or staying awake for unnaturally long periods. Such unusual behaviours stem from the drug’s impact on the body’s natural rhythms and can lead to severe health issues if not addressed.

If you do recognise these signs in someone, be sure to approach them with empathy and understanding. Withdrawal symptoms from amphetamines can be severe, and individuals need support rather than judgment when they run the risk of addiction.

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Behavioural Changes

Speed affects people’s behaviour in ways that can be subtle or blatant. You may notice increased talkativeness or that a person becomes more energetic and overly confident, in a manner that stands out from their usual demeanour.

Aggressive behaviour and mood swings are common, with individuals sometimes swinging from euphoria to irritability without clear reasons. This unpredictability can strain relationships, as can the tendency to engage in risky activities that would previously have been avoided. This recklessness can further endanger a person’s well-being and make intervention all the more urgent.

While these sudden changes can bring up feelings of resentment towards the person suffering, it is important to remember that they are caused by the drug and that the individual you love deserves compassion and empathy.

Psychological Symptoms

Like many stimulant drugs, speed can greatly impact a person’s mental state. When someone you care about seems unusually energetic, excitable, or even aggressive, they might be under the influence of speed. These psychological effects, including agitation, even panic attacks, and sometimes delusions, are clear signs of substance abuse that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Paranoia is another red flag, where the individual might feel excessively suspicious without a reasonable cause. This can isolate them from their support groups and networks, worsening their situation. Recognising these mental changes is the first step in offering support, guiding them towards seeking professional help, and ensuring they don’t have to face their struggles alone.

Detecting speed use early can be pivotal in preventing drug addiction. The drug’s psychological symptoms, though lasting only 3-6 hours, can have a profound and lasting impact on an individual’s mental health. The comedown phase, lasting days, may exacerbate or reveal underlying mental health issues.

Changes in Social Behaviour

When someone is consuming a lot of speed, it is common for them to withdraw from their friends and family, leading to increasing social isolation, which in turn makes it harder for them to end their substance abuse.

Be alert to rapid changes in a person’s friendships. If you see your loved one associating with a different crowd or experiencing conflicts with long-standing friends, it could be linked to their speed use. The drug often pushes people to change their social landscape, avoiding non-users.

Rapid mood swings, including periods of intense agitation or hostility, are clear signs of speed use. These mood shifts can strain relationships, leading to further social isolation.

Pay attention to financial behaviours as well. Borrowing money frequently or engaging in risky financial behaviours might not just be a sign of poor management; it could suggest a need to fund a speed habit.

Recognising the signs of stimulant drug abuse, including common signs such as the physical, behavioural and psychological effects we have discussed, means you can intervene swiftly and help people who are struggling with substance abuse.

If you are concerned that someone you know may be abusing amphetamines, take action earlier rather than later. Whether it’s initiating a conversation about their substance use or guiding them towards professional help, your awareness can make a significant difference in their journey towards recovery.

Let’s examine the long-term health risks of speed use so that we can fully understand the importance of early intervention.

Physical Health Risks & Side Effects

Beyond the brief rush that speed gives you, it can lead to severe and even life-threatening health risks. Here are some of the most common physical effects of speed:

Understanding the social changes your loved one is experiencing can be deeply concerning, but it’s equally important to recognise the physical health risks and side effects associated with speed use. Speed, or amphetamine, isn’t just about the immediate rush; it greatly impacts the body, leading to high blood pressure and increased body temperature. These changes aren’t merely uncomfortable—they’re warning signs of the strain being placed on the heart and cardiovascular system.

  1. Cardiovascular Problems: Speed can significantly increase heart rate and blood pressure, leading to cardiovascular issues such as heart palpitations, arrhythmias, and even heart attacks.
  2. Increased Body Temperature: Amphetamines can cause the body to overheat, leading to hyperthermia, which can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke.
  3. Weight Loss and Malnutrition: Speed suppresses appetite and can lead to extreme weight loss and malnutrition over time, which can have long-term consequences for overall health and well-being.
  4. Dental Problems: Chronic use of amphetamines can cause dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and teeth grinding (bruxism), often referred to as “meth mouth” when associated with crystal methamphetamine use.
  5. Muscle Twitching and Tension: Users may experience muscle tension and twitching, which can lead to discomfort, pain, and, in severe cases, muscle breakdown (rhabdomyolysis).
  6. Respiratory Problems: Smoking or inhaling amphetamines can irritate the respiratory system, leading to respiratory issues such as coughing, shortness of breath, and respiratory infections.
  7. Skin Problems: Chronic use of amphetamines can cause skin problems such as acne, sores, and skin infections due to impaired immune function and poor hygiene.
  8. Seizures: In some cases, speed use can trigger seizures, especially in individuals with a history of epilepsy or a predisposition to seizures.
  9. Stroke: Amphetamine use can increase the risk of stroke due to its effects on blood pressure and blood vessel health.
  10. Overdose: Taking high doses of speed can lead to overdose, which can result in symptoms such as chest pain, difficulty breathing, seizures, and loss of consciousness. In severe cases, overdose can be fatal.

It’s essential to recognise these physical health risks and side effects of speed use and seek help promptly if you or someone you know is experiencing them.

Signs of Amphetamine Tolerance In Others

Tolerance occurs when the body adapts to a drug, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects. This can be a clear warning sign of developing addiction.

You might notice that a person needs increasingly larger amounts of the substance to feel its energising effects. They may also engage in binging episodes, consuming large amounts of amphetamines in short periods to try and recapture the drug’s initial impact. This behaviour significantly heightens the risk of addiction and dependence.

Furthermore, persistent use despite these tolerance signs can lead to severe physical and mental health issues. It’s important to monitor any changes in dosage requirements closely, as this can help identify tolerance early on.

Being aware of these signs and symptoms and understanding the implications of tolerance can guide you in providing support and encouraging professional help for someone caught in the cycle of amphetamine use. Remember, compassion and informed intervention can make a profound difference in their journey towards recovery.

Recognising Amphetamine Overdose in Others

If you suspect someone is experiencing an amphetamine overdose, it’s essential to recognise the signs, such as severe agitation and confusion, to get the help they need swiftly. Overdose on amphetamines can manifest through a range of physical and behavioural signs and symptoms that demand your immediate attention.

Physical indicators like tremors, seizures, muscle pain, and an unusually high body temperature are glaring red flags. Similarly, rapid breathing and chest pain could signal severe health complications requiring immediate medical attention. On the behavioural side, if you notice extreme anxiety, paranoia, aggressiveness, or delusional behaviour, these, too, are signs of an overdose on this potent stimulant.

Symptoms mirroring those of a stroke or heart attack, such as slurred speech, sudden weakness, or chest discomfort, can occur during an amphetamine overdose.

Your quick response can be lifesaving. Ensuring the person gets immediate medical attention will save them from serious health consequences or even death. Your ability to recognise these signs and act promptly can make a significant difference in the outcome for someone experiencing an amphetamine overdose.

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Seeking Professional Help

The withdrawal symptoms from speed are severe, and it is hard to overcome an amphetamine addiction alone. Professional help is the best way to acquire full sobriety. Addiction specialists, including counsellors, therapists, and rehabilitation centres, have the necessary expertise to guide you through the process. They understand the complexities of addiction and will make your journey easier.

Treatment options are diverse and generally include a combination of detox programs, cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), group therapy, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Each approach is designed to tackle not just the addiction itself but also the underlying issues that contribute to substance abuse. Remember that recovery is a personalised journey. Professionals in the field of addiction recovery will work with you to develop personalised treatment plans that cater specifically to your needs and circumstances.

If you would like to know more about overcoming addiction, call Smarmore Castle today. Our experienced addiction specialists are here to help.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Legal Implications Could Arise From Someone Using or Possessing Speed?

    In the UK, the legal implications of using or possessing speed, classified as a Class B drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, can result in serious consequences. Possession of speed can lead to arrest, prosecution, and a criminal record. If found guilty, individuals may face penalties such as fines, community service, or imprisonment.

    Additionally, being caught with speed with intent to supply can result in more severe legal repercussions, including longer prison sentences.

  • How Can You Support Someone Who Wants to Quit Using Speed but Is Struggling With Addiction?

    If you’re helping someone quit speed, encourage them to seek professional help, offer emotional support, and be patient. It’s a tough journey, but with the right support, they can overcome their addiction. You can’t force someone into treatment, they have to accept that a problem exists for themselves. Remember, your patience and understanding can make a significant difference in their recovery journey.

  • What Are the Differences Between the Recreational Use of Speed and Medically Supervised Amphetamine Treatment?

    The key difference between recreational use of speed and medically supervised amphetamine treatment lies in the purpose, dosage, and monitoring—medical treatments are carefully controlled for specific health issues, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Recreational use of speed involves taking high doses to achieve euphoria, often without medical supervision, leading to an increased risk of addiction, overdose, and adverse health effects.

    Even when medically prescribed, amphetamines carry a risk of addiction, especially if misused or taken in higher doses than prescribed. Individuals with a history of substance abuse or addiction may be at higher risk. It’s essential to follow prescribed guidelines, communicate openly with healthcare providers, and promptly address any concerns about dependency or misuse.

Resources

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000792.htm
  2. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=VNAQCyiDgb0C&oi=fnd&pg=PT6&dq=signs+of+speed+amphetamine+use+&ots=RiInzWJj8L&sig=AZUzIWNr0mIcPLKAQD4eSNgtNqY
  3. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4757-2913-9_33
  4. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/15563657508988062

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