How It Feels to Get High on Amphetamines

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Amphetamines are a group of synthetic psychoactive drugs that get you high by "stimulating" the central nervous system. Physicians prescribe them attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and other health conditions.

Whether your amphetamine high is pleasant or unpleasant depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Exposure to other substances, both prior to and during the period of intoxication on speed
  • How much you take
  • Mental health and well-being
  • Past experiences using amphetamine or other drugs
  • Surrounding environment

While the feeling of getting high is different for everyone, and even for the same person at different times, there are certain common characteristics of an amphetamine buzz.

Side-Effects of Amphetamines

Athletes and others like speed because it increases their energy and stamina. Soon after consuming amphetamines, users experience an increase in alertness and physical strength that makes them feel:

  • Enthusiastic
  • Powerful
  • Ready for anything

Reduced Drowsiness

Along with the increased energy, amphetamines prevent the normal phases of drowsiness and sleep. This is one of the reasons speed is popular among people who need to stay awake when they would normally be asleep, such as night-shift workers and long-haul truck drivers.

It's also appealing to partygoers who want to stay awake or alert at night for recreational reasons, such as dancing at clubs or raves into the early morning hours.

Decreased Mental Performance

Unfortunately, the interference with sleep can become problematic when you use amphetamines for an extended period of time, and during the hours when you would normally sleep.

Students use speed to cram for exams, but despite its ability to increase energy and focus, amphetamines have a complex effect on cognitive processing and can actually cause a deterioration in mental performance. In addition, sleep deprivation interferes with learning and memory.

Rapid Speech

While amphetamine users often believe speed improves their social and mental functioning, in fact, research shows amphetamines tend to simply speed up speech, at the expense of the accuracy of that speech. At times, people who are high on amphetamines can be socially annoying. They may chatter incessantly and have trouble engaging in normal conversation because they can't listen to others.

Mood Swings and Anxiety

Perhaps the most compelling reason people give for taking amphetamines is the temporarily elevated mood they often experience. The flip side of this good mood is that coming down often causes a "crash" and an increase of depressive feelings so amphetamines are not a good solution if you're already feeling down.

There is also a chance that taking amphetamines when you are in a bad mood will only make you irritable and/or anxious. Amphetamines can sometimes lead to chronic fatigue, paranoid or delusional thinking.

Method of Delivery

Amphetamines usually come as a pill. Either your physician prescribes them to you or you buy them from another source. Abuse of amphetamines can include ingesting them in a variety of ways, including:

  • Crushing and snorting it
  • Dissolving it in water and injecting it with a needle
  • Smoking it in a glass pipe
  • Swallowing it just like other medications

Getting Help

Amphetamines are addictive, but behavioral treatments are available that can help you stop. Talk to your doctor about your treatment options.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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Article Sources
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