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Speed Addiction: How To Identify Signs and Symptoms

signs of speed addiction

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Speed is a street name for a drug known as Methamphetamine. It is a powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. Doctors use milder forms of it to treat ADHD, narcolepsy (a type of sleep disorder) or obesity. It works by altering the levels of chemicals in the brain. Users may eat, smoke or inject the drug to get high. Similar to other forms of addiction, it can also cause a range of health, social, financial and relationship problems. Consequently, the risk of addiction is always in the cards. Notably, taking higher doses or using it inappropriately increases such risk by a lot.

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Synonyms: Crank, freeze, fire, Billy, whizz, bennies, uppers, wake-ups.

Speed Addiction Signs And Symptoms

Physical changes

Users may complain of recurring headache, dizziness, nausea or vision problems. Also, watch their eyes while talking. It may help one find out if they have an abnormally enlarged pupil. Notice their breathing pattern even while at rest. Speed addiction causes fast breathing. Take a note of their weight during the initial phase of Speed therapy and compare it with the current value. Stimulants cause noticeable weight loss when abused.

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Psychological and behavioral changes

These may include extreme mood swings, violent and aggressive behavior, and irritability. All these usually happen without an apparent cause. Additionally, the signs worsen as the addiction continues.

Financial problems

Expect something wrong with the loved ones when they start demanding for extra money or showing an emergency financial need. Moreover, a repetitive pattern could indicate some weighty issues.

Rumination and isolation

They may seem self-absorbed. Avoiding social gatherings and poor communication is one of the most visible signs suggesting the problems with a Speed addiction.
This article does not contain all the signs of Speed addiction. Understand that symptoms may vary depending on the individual’s characteristics and personal responses to it.
In any case, if sensing anything abnormal, do not hesitate to talk an addiction counselor to get the best advice.

How To Identify Speed Abuse Signs?

speed drug
Differentiating a Speed addiction from prescriptive use is essentially not an easy task. By that, it means an individual should not expect to pick an addiction-defining sign too quickly.
Nevertheless, keep a close eye on all the signs and continue monitoring them. Furthermore, know that only the signs are not enough to confirm an addiction because these signs may occur even when the drug is being used in proper doses.
What sets an addiction apart, are the changes in the severity, frequency, and duration of the signs. Indeed, the key is combining judgment and knowledge to take a fruitful decision.

If suspecting someone to have a Speed addiction, talk to them immediately. Tread lightly and communicate empathetically and comfort them.

Take extra care if they have a history of a drug abuse or any other mental illness.
Then, set up an appointment with an addiction counselor as soon as possible.

Dangers Of Speed Addiction And Why One Should Identify It ASAP

Speed addiction is a hazardous health problem that may even lead to death. Find out what it means to the loved ones:


It may occur when they take excessive amounts to satiate their need for an intense high. Speed overdose is severe because death may ensue due to the complications, which include breathing difficulties or heart disorders.

Criminal charges

There is only a little evidence relating crime and Speed addiction. However, the risk cannot be dismissed owing to the widespread effects on mood, behavior and thinking ability. Additionally, using it without a doctor’s prescription is against the law.

Catching fatal illnesses like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis and others

This is particularly common among those who inject it. Sharing or using unsterilized needles makes them an easy target for contracting such diseases.

Upgrading to more serious addictions

Studies suggest a major fraction of the addicts use Speed as a gateway for other addictions. Unarguably, a person can understand why curbing it at the earliest is necessary.

Irreversible brain damages

Speed is notorious for causing permanent injuries to the blood vessels in the brain. As a result, it may cause a stroke. Death, disability and impaired quality of life are some of the physiological sequelae of a stroke.

Increased risk of long-term debilitating disorders

Chronic Speed addiction severely impacts the levels of brain chemicals, dopamine being the most vulnerable. Over time, it may lead to a severe disorder called Parkinson’s disease.
Monitoring and picking the signs of Speed addiction is the beginning of a long journey to sobriety. Furthermore, it also cuts the risk of potential dangers by a huge margin.
If the loved one receives an immediate treatment at a reputable addiction center, one can expect a complete recovery. This is why an early identification holds the key to a drug-free life.

  1. Harro J. Neuropsychiatric Adverse Effects of Amphetamine and Methamphetamine. Int Rev Neurobiol. 2015;120:179-204.
  2. Xiang P, Bu J, Qiao Z, Zhuo XY, Wu HJ, Shen M. Identification of Methamphetamine Abuse and Selegiline Use: Chiral Analysis of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in Urine. Fa Yi Xue Za Zhi. 2017 Dec;33(6):599-603.
Isaak Stotts

About Author

Isaak Stotts, LP

Isaak Stotts is an in-house medical writer in AddictionResource. Isaak learned addiction psychology at Aspen University and got a Master's Degree in Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. After graduation, he became a substance abuse counselor, providing individual, group, and family counseling for those who strive to achieve and maintain sobriety and recovery goals.


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