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Speed Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment & Recovery

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Speed is a street name for an amphetamine but is also sometimes used to describe methamphetamine, stimulant drugs that affect your central nervous system. Speed generally comes as a white, bitter powder or a pill. Crystal meth is an illegal form of methamphetamine that often resembles chunks of glass or bluish-white rocks.

When taken legally under a doctor’s instructions, amphetamine and methamphetamine can be safely used to treat conditions such as narcolepsy, obesity, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, due to its highly addictive nature, methamphetamine is almost never prescribed.

Calling a drug speed is an indication that the speaker is referring to illicit drug abuse, and not the legal use of prescription medication.

If you or someone you love is addicted to speed, call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) now to find a safe, effective substance abuse treatment facility.

Speed Abuse

Speed is sometimes swallowed, snorted, or dissolved in liquid to be injected, but it is most often smoked, usually in a small, glass pipe. Common street names for the drug include:

  • chalk
  • crank
  • crystal, meth, crystal meth
  • fire
  • glass
  • go fast
  • ice
  • poor man’s cocaine
  • shards
  • tina
  • trash
  • tweak
  • uppers

Speed is a stimulant drug. It works to heighten the response rate of messages between your brain and your body to make you feel more alert and energetic. It also causes your brain to release unnatural amounts of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

According to the DEA’s publication on Drugs of Abuse, when you smoke speed, you experience an intense rush of euphoria. When the drug is snorted or ingested orally, you experience a high that can last as long as half a day.

Signs and Symptoms of Speed Addiction

The initial euphoria caused by speed can rapidly shift into negative and unpleasant feelings. Long-term users of speed may suffer dysthymia, an affective disorder which features a chronically depressed and/or irritable mood.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Drug Abuse, individuals who abuse speed may exhibit the following signs and symptoms:

Speed Withdrawal

A speed addict may go long periods of time without eating or sleeping.

  • hyperactivity, i.e. too much energy, talking and moving a lot
  • not eating
  • not sleeping
  • high blood pressure
  • raised body temperature, sometimes enough to pass out
  • rapid breathing
  • severe itching
  • burns on hands or lips from contact with a hot meth pipe
  • sudden shifts in mood, such as from excitement to anger or fear
  • thinking and emotional problems

If you or someone you love is at risk due to an addiction to speed, please call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) today. We can help.

Risks of Withdrawal from Speed Abuse

Sustained use of speed is dangerous. The danger only increases with continued use, in part because you will develop a tolerance that forces you to steadily raise your dosage of the drug to experience the same effects.

In addition to the addiction symptoms above, people who abuse speed also have an increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B or C, either through sharing needles, or because being high on the drug can lead to unsafe behaviors such as unprotected sex.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists other negative consequences of long-term speed use as:

  • extreme weight loss
  • severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
  • intense itching, leading to skin sores from scratching
  • anxiety
  • confusion
  • sleeping problems
  • violent behavior
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations

Continued abuse of speed can damage your brain’s neurotransmitter system, affecting the neurons that contain dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. This badly impairs verbal learning and coordination.

Studies have also shown that long-term users suffer severe changes to the parts of the brain associated with memory and emotion. This causes profound cognitive and emotional problems that can prevent you from being able to function normally in everyday life, even when you aren’t high.

You will probably be able to heal this brain damage after you get clean and healthy, but it may take a very long time. Some damage, however, can be permanent. This is why it is crucial to seek help for substance abuse as soon as possible.

Call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) now, and our advisors will find you effective treatment before it’s too late.

Who is at Risk of Speed Withdrawal?

You can get hooked on speed after using the drug just once. Addiction can be psychological, physical and emotional.

When you attempt to stop taking speed, unpleasant and dangerous withdrawal symptoms may make you vulnerable to abusing again. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these symptoms can include, among others:

  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • severe depression
  • psychosis
  • intense drug cravings

Speed Addiction

Anyone can become addicted to speed—all you have to do is use it. The drug is so addictive that a single dose can turn you into an addict.

Due to the inevitable tolerance that develops with continued abuse, you will be forced to steadily increase your intake of the drug, which leads to an increased risk of overdose.

According to the DEA’s publication on Drugs of Abuse, an overdose of speed can cause:

  • elevated body temperature (to dangerous, sometimes lethal, levels)
  • convulsions
  • stroke
  • heart attack
  • multiple organ problems/failure due to overheating

Stimulant Detox and Withdrawal

Am I Addicted to Speed?

The first step to overcoming addiction is to admit that you are an addict. Read the following statements and honestly consider if/how they apply to your experience.

  1. You use drugs more often than you actually want to, or despite telling yourself that you won’t this time.
  2. You spend less time on activities that used to be important to you, such as hanging out with family and friends, exercising, pursuing hobbies or other interests, because of drugs.
  3. Your attendance and performance at work or school has dropped.
  4. You take serious risks to obtain your drug of choice, or while under the influence of drugs.
  5. You act out against the people closest to you, particularly if someone is trying to address your drug use.
  6. You go out of your way to hide when, how much, or how often you use.
  7. You have a family history of addiction.
  8. You no longer care about your appearance, and/or you find it difficult to keep up with basic hygiene.
  9. You need to take more and more of your drug of choice in order to have the same reaction.
  10. You experience withdrawal symptoms whenever the drug begins to wear off.
  11. You continue to use even after drugs have caused problems in your life, such as car accidents, family issues, job loss, breakups, injuries, or getting arrested.

If you see yourself reflected in any of these statements, call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) now, and let us connect you to a quality treatment provider.

Speed Addiction Treatment

You may be apprehensive about seeking treatment for your drug addiction. Maybe you worry that you’ll be even more miserable after giving up speed.

It’s true that recovery isn’t easy, but it’s also true that living a drug-free life will open up a world of possibilities for you. Your life will no longer revolve around getting and using drugs; you’ll be free to dream, set goals, and build a better future.

There are many affordable treatment options available, but they all begin with abstaining from your drug of choice.

Detoxification to Treat Withdrawal

While there are no government-approved drugs that can counteract or alleviate the symptoms caused by speed withdrawal, detoxing in a substance abuse treatment facility that has medical professionals on staff will ensure that you don’t suffer unnecessarily. A smoother transition to sobriety may help you enter into treatment with a more positive, confident attitude.

Recovery Options

The wide variety of potential therapies for speed addiction will allow you and your treatment team to develop a plan that is customized to your unique needs and goals. No matter the specifics of your recovery, though, your plan will likely include the following elements in one form or another.

  • 12-step meetings: support groups based on the 12-step tenets that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are incorporated into most treatment programs, partly because the 12-steps have been proven effective, and partly because these kinds of meetings are available every day, everywhere in the country, making them a valued life-long resource for continued sobriety.
  • Treatment for co-occurring conditions: you may be suffering from undiagnosed mental health issues that are partly responsible for your addiction. You need to uncover and address these conditions as a part of the recovery process.
  • Medical care: your health most likely suffered greatly while you were addicted to speed, and it is important to heal that physical damage through good medical care and healthy habits. You may need medications and treatments designed to counteract the effects of drugs on your body, and you will certainly need quality nutrition, exercise, and sleep to strengthen both your body and your brain.
  • Relapse prevention: it is important to learn new ways of thinking about drugs, and new forms of coping that you can turn to for support after you are discharged from treatment.

Seek Help Today

You already have the power to overcome your addiction to speed—you just need help from professionals who can show you how.

Call 888-602-1971(Who Answers?) today to speak to our treatment advisors. We have the resources to get you started.

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