Speed, as the name suggests, typically makes a person feel energised, excitable, awake and alert. It can also make them very talkative and overconfident. It also however make some users feel more negative side effects such as panic attacks, anxiety and agitation. Some people even become delusional when on Speed, as the drug makes them see and hear things that don’t exist, which can be a very frightening experience.

Some common signs of Speed abuse are:

  • Happy, confident mood
  • Feeling alert with heightened senses
  • Being overly talkative
  • Excessive energy
  • Going for long hours without sleep or food
  • Raised heartbeat
  • Sweats
  • Teeth grinding
  • Insomnia
  • Clenching of the jaw

It is common for Speed addicts to binge on the drug, taking increasing amounts more frequently to feel an effect. Once the effects wear off, this creates intense periods of stress and agitation for the user, to the point where they might lose consciousness. Colloquially, such behaviour is referred to as being a ‘Speed Freak’. Taking more Speed, more often, is a common sign that a person has a drug problem.

Other warning signs of addiction include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Fast breathing and heart rate
  • Enlarged pupils
  • High energy and alertness
  • Xerostomia
  • Convulsions
  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble sleeping
  • A need to borrow money to buy drugs
  • Disinterest in work and relationships

Unlike other drugs, Speed withdrawal symptoms are not generally considered high-risk to life. However, they can be uncomfortable and may take several days to kick in to their full effect. The amount of time it takes for a person to pass through the withdrawal period depends on several factors including the dose taken, how tolerant a person is to Speed, whether other substances are being consumed, and the age/build of the user. If withdrawal symptoms last over two weeks, they are known as ‘Post-Acute Withdrawal Symptoms’ or PAWS. These effects can last for up to a year or more.

When an addicted user stops taking Speed, noticeable withdrawal symptoms occur, including:

  • Fatigue and a desire for sleep
  • Hunger and an increased appetite
  • Jerking/twitching muscle movements
  • Aching muscles
  • Feeling agitated
  • Nightmares and unpleasant dreams
  • Delayed reactions and cognitive processes
  • Anxiety and Panic Attacks
  • Low mood and/or depression

If you suspect that you or someone you love has a problem with a Speed addiction, it is important to get help as soon as possible. If you have noticed that someone you care for is abusing drugs, try and talk to them about seeking help in a rehabilitation facility. Give them as much support and care as you can, and be empathetic to their situation. An overdose could potentially happen if Speed abuse continues into the long-term, creating a serious reaction such as a heart attack, stroke or organ failure.

It can be very difficult to talk to someone and inform them that they have an addiction. If you are having problems getting someone to accept help for their drug problem, it may be worth staging an intervention with family and friends. An intervention is a conversation process organised with a health professional, in which the family and friends of an addict gather together and confront the addict about their addiction, encouraging them to get help.