The amphetamine effect is like an adrenaline rush, only longer and with a noticeable crash. This drug works in a similar way to cocaine, in that it makes the user feel energetic. Another way to think about the effects of amphetamines is to remember that they act in a similar way to adrenaline, a hormone produced naturally in the body. Using uppers decreases appetite and the user doesn't feel tired.
Swallowed, an amphetamine pill will come on within 15 to 30 minutes. Snorted, the effects are much quicker (5 to 10 minutes). Injection is almost instantaneous and can be overwhelming.
How Speed Affects the Brain
When someone uses uppers, the drug stimulates the user's central nervous system. The drug works on the brain's dopamine and norepinephrine neurotransmitter systems. Using amphetamines can cause the brain to produce a higher level of dopamine. More dopamine in the brain is what produces the sense of euphoria and well-being that is commonly known as a "high."
Over time, a person who is using beans will develop a tolerance for the drug. Not only will he need to take higher doses to get the same effect he was achieving earlier on, but once the user's brain gets accustomed to having a certain level of dopamine, the amphetamine user will start to experience cravings for the drug.
Sensations When Using Uppers
The sensations start as a tickling upwards from the stomach. There is often a sense of rushing forward. The mind feels clear and focused, more powerful, but in a more calculated way than the arrogant "Me-Me-Me" effect of cocaine.
Physically, the teeth start grinding. The jaws clench. Long term addicts can actually crush their teeth to powder through incessant gnawing. The user's pupils appear dilated. Appetite is also strongly suppressed and the need to go to the restroom decreases substantially. Blood pressure and heart rate both tend to rise.
Mentally, you start to feel confident and elated, along with an increased desire to communicate. As the whole Central Nervous System (CNS) becomes stimulated, your alertness and endurance increases. Often users talk fast and continually.
Speed is colder, more physical, and in many ways more unforgiving than Ecstasy.
Coming Down After Using Speed
Small doses of speed (one line, one pill) wear off 3-8 hours later, leaving you fatigued but not exhausted. Hence the strong temptation to "top up", slang for taking another dose, and continue speeding. This staves off the comedown but increases its severity. Eventually you face a "crash" rather than a manageable come down. It is the fear of the crash which often keeps users on weekend--even week--long "speedruns."
Psychological Dependency on Amphetamines
Long-term amphetamine users become psychologically dependent on the drug. At this point in the addiction, the individual's emotions and thoughts centers around getting and using the drug. These urges also affect the drug addict's actions, causing him to do whatever is necessary to get more.
Physical Dependency on Speed
This type of drug also creates a physical dependency in users. Once a pattern of using bennies has been established, the person must continue taking the drug to avoid going into withdrawal.
Since using amphetamines makes the person feel "up" and gives them a burst of energy, fatigue is a very common withdrawal symptom. The individual may also sleep for a long time or feel very irritable when awake. The user's appetite increases, as the suppressing effects of the drug wears off.
Depression is also common among speed users going through withdrawal. In severe cases, the individual may experience suicidal thoughts. Along with these symptoms, the person may act out violently. Taking the drug again will make the addict feel better and stop these withdrawal symptoms. These effects further emphasize the need for amphetamine rehab for the addicted individual, as only proper treatment can help stop the cycle of addiction.
Long Term Side Effects of Using Bennies
Over the long term, a person who uses amphetamines regularly will find that the short-term side effects of using the drug are exaggerated. The following are examples of the side effects of amphetamine use that may become more noticeable over time:
- Blurred vision
- Elevated heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Lack of appetite
- Rapid breathing
As the drug use continues and the individual doesn't eat properly, he will start to experience the consequences of malnutrition and lack of sleep. He is more susceptible to becoming ill because of poor overall health.
A severe effect of long-term speed use is amphetamine psychosis. This type of mental illness can appear very similar to paranoid schizophrenia. In many cases, this side effect is caused by using a high dose of the drug over a short time. As the person comes down, the individual gradually becomes grounded in reality again. The process can take a few days or as many as a few weeks, though.