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Understanding The Science Behind Speed Drug

Discover the science behind amphetamines and their effects on your body and mind.

July 2, 2024

Understanding Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a class of central nervous system stimulants that have been in use for various medical purposes since the late 1920s. They are commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. The two main enantiomers of amphetamine are levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine.

What are Amphetamines?

Amphetamines are synthetic drugs that increase neurotransmission in the brain, primarily targeting the norepinephrine and dopamine systems. This increase in neurotransmitters leads to a range of effects, including enhanced wakefulness, improved cognitive control, and feelings of euphoria.

Amphetamine is also known for its physical effects, such as improved reaction time, increased muscle strength, and resistance to fatigue. Due to these effects, it has been used by some athletes to enhance athletic performance, although non-medical use of amphetamine is prohibited in regulated sporting events.

Effects of Amphetamines

The effects of amphetamines can vary depending on the individual and the dosage. Therapeutic doses of amphetamines, when used under medical supervision, can help individuals with ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity manage their symptoms effectively. These doses are carefully prescribed to minimize adverse effects and maximize the desired therapeutic benefits.

However, recreational use of amphetamines involves larger doses and carries a higher risk of serious adverse effects. Non-medical use of amphetamines is often associated with euphoria, increased alertness, and heightened energy levels. These effects can be appealing to individuals seeking a sense of pleasure or enhanced performance.

It is important to note that recreational use of amphetamines is associated with a greater potential for misuse and adverse consequences. Misuse of amphetamines can lead to addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. Long-term exposure to high doses of amphetamines may also result in abnormal dopamine system development or nerve damage in some animal species [1].

Understanding the effects and risks associated with amphetamines is crucial for individuals who may be prescribed these drugs for medical reasons or those who are seeking help for potential misuse. Seeking proper treatment options and support resources can aid in managing the potential risks and promoting overall well-being.

Types of Amphetamines

Amphetamines are a class of stimulant drugs that have various forms and are known by different names. Understanding the different types of amphetamines is important in recognizing the potential risks and effects associated with their use.

Speed vs. Ice

One of the most common forms of amphetamines is known as speed. Speed is a central nervous system stimulant that affects brain and body functions. It comes in different forms, with speed powder ranging in color from white to brown. Slang names for amphetamines also include speed, up, uppers, louee, goey, whiz, and rack [3].

The most potent form of amphetamine is crystal methamphetamine, commonly referred to as ice. Crystal methamphetamine, or ice, is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant drug that can have severe physical and mental health effects. It is typically found in the form of clear crystals or bluish-white rocks [3].

Crystal Methamphetamine

Crystal methamphetamine, or ice, is a particularly dangerous form of amphetamine. Its potency and highly addictive properties make it a significant concern for public health. Ice can have devastating effects on individuals and communities, leading to a range of physical and mental health issues. It is important to note that the use of crystal methamphetamine can have severe and long-lasting consequences on an individual's overall well-being.

Synthetic Amphetamines

In addition to speed and crystal methamphetamine, there are also various synthetic amphetamines available in the market. These synthetic substances are chemically similar to amphetamines and may have similar effects on the brain and body. Synthetic amphetamines can vary in their potency and composition, which can make them particularly risky and unpredictable.

It is important to understand that the use of any form of amphetamines, including speed, ice, and synthetic amphetamines, carries significant risks. These risks include addiction, physical health complications, and mental health implications. Seeking help and support is crucial for individuals struggling with amphetamine use or addiction.

By understanding the different types of amphetamines and their effects, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their own health and well-being. It is important to prioritize one's safety and seek professional help if needed, as amphetamine use can have serious consequences for both physical and mental health.

Short-Term Effects of Amphetamines

Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that have both immediate and short-term effects on the body and mind. Understanding these effects is important for recognizing the potential risks and dangers associated with their use.

Immediate Impact

The effects of amphetamines can be felt almost immediately when injected or smoked, while snorting or swallowing the drug may take up to 30 minutes for the effects to appear [3]. When the drug enters the bloodstream, it works by speeding up the messages traveling between the brain and the body, increasing dopamine and serotonin levels in the brain. This results in a surge of energy, heightened alertness, and a sense of euphoria.

People who use amphetamines may experience a range of immediate effects, including:

Duration of Effects

The duration of amphetamine effects can vary depending on the dosage and method of administration. The effects of speed can last up to 6 hours, making individuals feel "pumped" and happy during this time [2]. However, it's important to note that the intensity and duration of these effects can be influenced by individual factors such as tolerance, body weight, and overall health.

It's worth mentioning that some individuals may engage in a pattern of "binge crash" after continuous amphetamine use. This occurs when amphetamines are used for several days without sleep. Once this period ends, the person experiences a "crash," which is often characterized by extreme fatigue and a need for heavy sleep.

Understanding the short-term effects of amphetamines is essential for recognizing their immediate impact on the body and mind. It is important to note that the use of amphetamines carries various risks and dangers, and seeking professional help and support is crucial for individuals struggling with amphetamine use or addiction.

Long-Term Effects of Amphetamines

Using amphetamines, such as speed or methamphetamine, can have significant long-term effects on both the physical body and mental health. It is important to understand these implications in order to fully grasp the potential risks associated with prolonged amphetamine use.

Physical Effects

Long-term use of amphetamines can lead to various physical effects, some of which can be severe. One common physical consequence is weight loss, as amphetamines can suppress appetite and reduce food intake. This can result in a significant decrease in body weight over time. Additionally, chronic amphetamine use may cause severe tooth decay and loss, a condition commonly referred to as "meth mouth." Poor nutrition, dental hygiene, dry mouth, and teeth grinding caused by the drug are contributing factors to this dental deterioration. Furthermore, individuals who misuse amphetamines may experience skin sores due to picking and scratching the skin, often a result of imagined insects.

Mental Health Implications

Long-term amphetamine use can have profound effects on mental health. Individuals who use amphetamines for an extended period may exhibit symptoms such as anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and even violent behavior. Psychotic features, including paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, can also emerge. Neuroimaging studies have indicated that chronic amphetamine users experience significant structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. These alterations may help explain the emotional and cognitive problems observed in individuals who engage in long-term amphetamine misuse.

Furthermore, chronic methamphetamine abusers may develop anhedonia, a difficulty in experiencing pleasure from anything other than the drug itself. This can contribute to continued abuse and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, fatigue, and intense cravings for the drug, can also occur when an individual stops using amphetamines, making recovery challenging.

In addition, methamphetamine misuse affects non-neural brain cells called microglia. Excessive activity of these cells may harm healthy neurons. Studies have shown that individuals with a history of methamphetamine misuse have significantly higher levels of microglial cells compared to those with no history of misuse. This finding suggests a potential link between amphetamine use and the assault on healthy brain cells.

Understanding the long-term effects of amphetamines on the physical body and mental health is crucial for individuals who are struggling with amphetamine misuse. Recognizing the potential risks and seeking appropriate help and support is essential for promoting overall well-being and recovery.

Risks and Dangers

When it comes to the use of amphetamines, there are significant risks and dangers that individuals should be aware of. Two crucial aspects to consider are addiction and tolerance, as well as the withdrawal symptoms that can occur when discontinuing amphetamine use.

Addiction and Tolerance

One of the most concerning risks associated with amphetamines is the potential for addiction and tolerance. Over time, individuals may develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring larger doses to achieve the same effects. This can lead to a dangerous cycle of increased drug use, which can have severe consequences for physical and mental health.

According to healthdirect, long-term use of speed can lead to mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and paranoia. Additionally, individuals may become dependent on speed, feeling like they need the drug to get through the day. As tolerance develops, users may find themselves needing higher doses to experience the desired effects, increasing the risk of harmful side effects.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When individuals who have become dependent on amphetamines attempt to quit or reduce their use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can be both physical and psychological, making it challenging to break free from the cycle of drug use.

Withdrawal symptoms associated with amphetamines can include fatigue, increased appetite, and vivid dreams, as stated by healthdirect. These symptoms can be highly distressing and may contribute to relapse if not properly managed.

For chronic methamphetamine abusers, withdrawal symptoms can be especially severe. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, withdrawal symptoms may include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug. Additionally, long-term users may exhibit significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and even violent behavior. In some cases, individuals may experience psychotic features such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions.

It's important to recognize the potential severity of withdrawal symptoms and seek professional help when attempting to quit amphetamine use. Support from healthcare professionals and addiction specialists can make the withdrawal process more manageable and increase the chances of successful recovery.

Understanding the risks, such as addiction and tolerance, as well as the potential withdrawal symptoms associated with amphetamines, is crucial for individuals using or considering the use of these substances. Seeking help and support from healthcare professionals and relying on evidence-based treatment options can greatly increase the chances of recovery and improve overall well-being.

Seeking Help and Support

When it comes to dealing with addiction to amphetamines, seeking help and support is crucial for recovery. There are various treatment options and support resources available to assist individuals in overcoming their addiction and regaining control of their lives.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for amphetamine addiction may vary depending on the individual's specific needs. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or addiction specialist to determine the most appropriate course of action. Some common treatment options include:

Support Resources

Seeking support from various resources can greatly aid in the recovery process. Here are some support resources available for individuals struggling with amphetamine addiction:

Remember, reaching out for help is a sign of strength and determination. If you or someone you know is struggling with amphetamine addiction, it is important to seek professional help and utilize the available support resources. Recovery is possible with the right guidance, support, and determination.


[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amphetamine

[2]: https://www.healthdirect.gov.au/speed

[3]: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/amphetamines

[4]: https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/

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