Speed Withdrawal

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What is Speed

On the street, prescription amphetamines are referred to as speed. This drug is also produced illegally and sold. Both methamphetamines and amphetamines are addictive and powerful substances. Since these drugs are classified as schedule II, a prescription is required. Speed is legal with a prescription for the treatment of ADHD and ADD. Illegal speed is snorted or smoked and contains harsh chemicals. Speed is an addictive and potent stimulant for the central nervous system.

Despite the chemical relation to amphetamines, the side effects to the central nervous system are worse with speed. The drug is an odorless white powder with a bitter taste easy to dissolve in alcohol or water. The DEA or the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classified speed as a Schedule II stimulant due to the high potential for addiction and abuse. When speed is abused, it is usually called chalk or meth. The drug has been available since the 1960s.

Although speed can be used to treat obesity and ADHD, the drug is rarely prescribed in the United States due to the high risk of abuse and dependency. Prescription doses of speed are a lot lower than what can be illegally purchased on the street. Speed is available in the United States by prescription either generically or through the Desoxyn brand name. Speed is cheap and simple to make because the ingredients are common.

The majority of speed available in the United States is obtained through domestic or foreign superlabs. Small batches are also produced in clandestine buildings or residences using pseudoephedrine. This is a cold decongestant only sold behind the counter in pharmacies in limited quantities in the United States. This law was created to help stop abuse in addition to having a record of all purchasers. If you are addicted to speed, you can experience long-term, severe psychological and physical health issues.

When you are recovering from your addiction, there is a risk of cardiovascular complications developing in addition to tooth loss and decay, issues with perception and skin infections. Speed withdrawal can trigger delusions, paranoia and psychosis. If you abuse speed for the long-term you are risking issues with regulating your emotions and permanent memory problems. According to recent studies, speed is used every week in the United States by more than one half million people.

Speed is abused because it increases focus, energy levels and dopamine. Some people abuse speed because they have an underlying condition slowing down their performance at a demanding job, others are under pressure at school or college. If you use speed you risk becoming addicted. If your addiction began with a doctor’s prescription, you may be stealing prescriptions from family and friends. If you believe a loved one has developed an addiction, there are signs you can look for.

Speed addicts develop dental issues and itching, with scratches and scabs common. The smell of the drug is very distinct. Those with an addiction use tools such as pipes to smoke the substance or will inject or snort speed. The best decision you can make for your life and health is to stop using speed. If you try to stop without help, the process becomes as dangerous as your addiction. Your withdrawal will last a long time and can be very intense.

How is Speed Abused?

Speed can be abused by injection, snorting, swallowing, smoking or inhaling. Crystal meth or methamphetamine is another form. This substance is chunky, clear crystals similar in appearance to ice. Crystal meth is smoked and initially became popular during the 1990s.

Side Effects of Speed

Speed is a stimulant with the most common side effects including:

  • High blood pressure
  • Faster breathing rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Elevated body temperature
Side Effects of Speed

The other side effects include temporary tremors, anorexia, insomnia and hyperactivity. Chronic or high doses of speed or any high dosage stimulant will result in typical side effects including increased:

  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Aggressiveness
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety

Using speed can result in irreversible damage to your brain’s blood vessels resulting in a stroke. Hypothermia can cause convulsions, cardiovascular collapse, elevated body temperature and death. If you are taking high doses of speed, there is a risk of hallucinations, erratic and violent behavior and psychosis much like schizophrenia. Even after you have stopped abusing speed, you can have psychotic episodes for months or even years.

Speed has a neurotoxic effect resulting in damage to brain cells where dopamine is stored. As time passes, your dopamine levels will drop causing symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease. The other adverse effects on your health due to speed abuse include your teeth rotting from the inside referred to as meth mouth, severe dental issues, malnutrition, loss of memory and weight loss. If you inject speed and share equipment, you are at risk for hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.

Is It Possible to Overdose on Speed?

Yes, if you are abusing speed you can overdose due to a severe reaction or high doses potentially leading to death. There are numerous causes of death due to an overdose of speed including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Issues with organs including the kidneys

Speed is incredibly addicting. Your withdrawal can include all of the following symptoms.

  • Intense cravings
  • Severe depression
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Psychosis

How Does Speed Impact the Brain?

Just like with cocaine, the re-uptake of dopamine is blocked by speed. High levels of dopamine will be released by the drug to enhance body movement and mood and stimulate brain cells. Dopamine is an essential neurotransmitter for motivation, reward, body movement and pleasure. When dopamine is released, you feel the rush in your brain. When you abuse speed, the consistent reuse and intensity of the high can result in an addiction.

Speed also increases your levels of other brain chemicals including norepinephrine and serotonin and can cross easily into your brain. The drug is capable of penetrating your central nervous system easier than amphetamines. This means speed is a longer-lasting and more potent stimulant. Speed is also an active methamphetamine metabolite that will peak in your blood in approximately 12 hours. If you consume the drug orally, the half-life is about four to five hours.

How Does Speed Impact the Brain

Metabolism takes place within the liver, is pH-dependent and excreted in your urine. Within 24 hours, roughly 62 percent of your speed dose is eliminated. Only one-third of the does remains intact. If you are chronically abusing speed, some of the health hazards may be partially reversible. Some people have regained dopamine levels after approximately two years. There is also the possibility of recovering your verbal memory and motor skills. Unfortunately, some changes are not reversible.

Effects of Speed

You will experience an intense rush or sensation immediately after injecting or smoking speed. The rush is pleasurable but will only last for a few minutes. The effects of snorting speed appear in three to five minutes. Oral ingestion requires 15 to 20 minutes before you feel the effects. The most common and immediate effects of abusing speed include:

  • Faster breathing
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Wakefulness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased body temperature and activity
  • Increased libido
  • Sense of well-being
  • Talkativeness
  • Increased concentration

You may have become addicted to speed quickly and be abusing the drug with increasing doses and frequency. As the pleasurable effects of the drug dissipate, you will most likely need to use more to achieve the same effect. If you use speed several times over consecutive days without eating it is dangerous and referred to as a run.

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How is an Addiction to Speed Treated?

The most effective treatment for addiction and abuse at this time is behavioral therapy. According to NIDA, the combination of family education, a 12-step program, behavioral therapy, positive reinforcement and drug testing is the most effective treatment for speed abuse and addiction.

Ongoing studies are being conducted examining the use of a vaccine or medication to treat speed addiction. One of the medications approved for depression is called bupropion. Studies have shown this drug can help with speed cravings when used with behavioral group therapy.

Timeline for Speed Withdrawal

There are several concerns regarding your safety during withdrawal from cocaine or crack. You can have intense hallucinations or become deluded. If you have an untreated mental health issue, this becomes more likely. As many as half of the individuals in rehab centers are self-medicating with either alcohol or drugs due to a mental health disorder. When you stop abusing cocaine or crack, the risk of suicide or depression is high.

This is because both crack and cocaine significantly spike your dopamine levels. Dopamine is a natural chemical produced in your brain that makes you feel good. When you stop using the drug, your dopamine levels will crash. In some cases, your levels will not recover. When this happens, the result is severe depression.

Timeline for Speed Withdrawal

If you do not receive supervision or help from trained doctors and therapists, your depression from cocaine or crack abuse and withdrawal can remain unnoticed. In the United States alone, nearly two percent of all deaths are the result of suicide.

What Happens During the Process of Speed Withdrawal?

The symptoms of speed withdrawal can manifest as quickly as six hours after your last dose. The duration and intensity of your withdrawal depend on how much speed you have used and for how long. For the first two to 10 days after you quit, your physical symptoms will peak before tapering off. Your emotional symptoms can continue for weeks, months or in some cases, years. If you stop using speed suddenly, your withdrawal symptoms can become more intense.

You are also at risk of emotional withdrawal issues for the long-term. During the process of withdrawal, there are physical symptoms including:

  • Problems sleeping
  • Aches and pains
  • Slowed speech or movements
  • Stomach upset
  • Fatigue

Emotional and psychological Symptoms During Withdrawal

The symptoms you will experience during withdrawal are extremely unpleasant and intense during the recovery process. Your symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Unpleasant and vivid dreams
  • Irritability
  • Issues with functioning socially
Emotional and psychological Symptoms During Withdrawal

According to studies, the most frequent symptoms of withdrawal according to percentage are:

  • Irritability: 78 percent
  • Depressed mood: 50 percent
  • Issues with social functioning: 48 percent

Why is Medical Detox Different Than Quitting Cold-Turkey?

If you suddenly stop using speed, you have quit cold-turkey. When you became addicted to speed, you developed an emotional and physical dependence on the drug. When you stop using it, you will experience intense and sudden symptoms of withdrawal. This is because your brain and body have been deprived of a substance they have relied on in the past to function. Stopping cold-turkey is too abrupt and will trigger potentially dangerous and intense withdrawal symptoms.

For this reason, doctors in a rehab facility recommend against stopping cold-turkey. The risk factor is simply too high. Instead, you will be administered gradually decreasing doses of speed to help prevent your body and brain from going into shock while you are recovering from your addiction. Trained medical professionals give you the drug while keeping you safe. All outside influences capable of affecting your attempt to recover will be eliminated.

The majority of people abusing or developing an addiction to speed have an underlying mental health condition. Nearly half of the individuals admitted to rehab are diagnosed with mental health issues contributing to their addiction and making it even worse. If you have an untreated mental issue, there is a good chance you have used alcohol or drugs in an attempt to self-medicate. If you have a mental issue it will be diagnosed while you are in detox.

Your issue will be treated correctly and safely. When your issue is addressed, the risk of relapse after you leave the rehab facility is significantly decreased.

What is Safe When Detoxing from Speed?

When you are tapered off using amphetamines approved by a doctor, it is safe. When you have an addiction to speed, the doctor may prescribe a replacement drug or give you smaller and smaller doses of speed. If you are diagnosed with a mental issue, taking medication during detox is safe.

What Should Be Avoided During Speed Withdrawal

Attempting to detox cold-turkey is not safe. Using legal substances including caffeine that can increase your insomnia or anxiety is not safe. If you are exposed to harmful outside influences while recovering from your addiction in detox, it is not safe. While you are undergoing withdrawal, you will be kept safe by therapists and doctors in a drug-free and serene environment. This will help you get through both your recovery and addiction.

Why is the Timeline and Withdrawal Process Different for Speed than Other Amphetamines?

Speed has longer withdrawal symptoms and a greater risk than other amphetamines due to permanent health issues. Illegal speed often results in long-term issues with depression and memory when the drug is no longer used. Legal speed including medications for the treatment of obesity, narcolepsy and ADD do not have the same risks.

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Asana Recovery can help you take our life back from speed addiction. Contact us today to get started on the path to recovery.

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