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Speed and mental health

3-minute read

Speed is a stimulant drug from the amphetamine family. It speeds up the messages going to and from your brain. It can make you feel happy and energetic, but also paranoid, anxious or psychotic.

Doctors can legally prescribe some amphetamines to treat conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Other amphetamines, including speed and ice, are produced and sold illegally.

Speed comes as a powder, tablet or capsule and can be swallowed, injected, smoked or snorted. It’s also known as fast, uppers, louee and whiz.

Speed effects

Speed targets your brain’s ‘reward system’ and can make you feel happy, confident and more energetic. Many users crave these feelings, which can lead to addiction. Find out about the physical health effects of speed.

Mental health issues

There are lots of mental health issues linked to using speed. Most of them are associated with coming down after taking speed, or long-term use. They include:

High doses and frequent use can create amphetamine or speed psychosis. It’s very similar to paranoid schizophrenia with symptoms of hallucinations, and out-of-character violent and aggressive behaviour.

Speed binges are also linked to reckless and aggressive behaviour.

As well as physical and mental health issues, users risk social, work and financial problems. Regular use of speed can cost a lot, and have a negative impact on how your do your job and interact with family and friends.

Find out how drug use can impact your life.

Not sure what to do next?

If you or someone you know are finding it difficult to manage mental health issues as a result of drug use, try healthdirect’s symptom checker and get advice on when to seek professional help.

The Symptom Checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Kicking the habit

Kicking the habit can be difficult, but most withdrawal symptoms settle down after a week then gradually disappear. During this time you might:

  • crave the drug
  • feel very hungry
  • feel confusion and irritable
  • feel exhausted
  • have trouble sleeping
  • feel anxious, depressed and paranoid
  • have some aches and pains.

Find where to go for help on the National Drugs Campaign and Druginfo websites.

You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Druginfo on 1300 85 85 84 if you need to talk to someone about speed or other drugs. Find out about party drugs here, including where to find help and support.

Last reviewed: September 2017

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