Speedballing is responsible for many overdose deaths and scares. You may have heard the term speedball before and wondered what exactly it meant. As a form of polysubstance abuse, it can be quite dangerous. Many people try this method of getting high as it produces strong effects. The flip side is that it can also be devestating, as with other forms of polydrug use. You can learn more about polydrug use from Comfort Recovery’s page
Polysubstance Abuse, Addiction, and Treatment.
What is Speedballing?
Speeballing is a colloquial term that refers to the combined use of a stimulant and a sedative. Most often, a speedball is the intravenous use of both cocaine and heroin. Although the individual may use a number of depressants mixed with a number of stimulants, cocaine and heroin is the traditional combination. People may use other opioids such as prescription painkillers, morphine, or other drugs, and they may use other stimulants such as methamphetamine, amphetamine, or prescription medications.
Why Do People Use Speedballs?
People who use speedballs generally do so to enhance the high they experience. There are really two pieces that lead to the allure of a speedball for a drug abuser. First, the combination of the two drugs produces stronger effects than when the drugs are used by themselves. The combination of stimulant and depressant produce different effects and can increase the effects of euphoria.
The other piece is that the two drugs counteract each other in some way. When somebody uses opioids, they become tired, depressed, and slower. Stimulants do the opposite. Using the two drugs together can help an individual experience the ease and euphoria without falling sleep or nodding out. The effects of stimulants mitigate the negative side effects of opioid abuse and allow the individual to achieve a more desirable high.
Speedballing is quite dangerous and causes many overdose deaths. The reason that speedballing carries a huge risk of overdose lies in the fact that the stimulants can make the user feel like they are able to use more opioids than their body can handle. Speedball overdose may not always result in death, but the danger is substantial.
As the user uses more stimulants and opioids, the heart and body respond very poorly. The stimulant increases blood pressure and heart rate, while the opioid causes a decrease in the same. Because the interaction of the two chemicals in the body, the user may feel that they can consume more substances. However, the body cannot actually handle the increase in dose, and the user ends up overdosing.
Speedball Withdrawal and Treatment
Because you are using multiple drugs at once, recovery and withdrawal is a little different. The user is likely to deal with withdrawal symptoms from both drugs individually, but exacerbated by the fact that the body is trying to rid itself of multiple substances at once. Because of this, an individual may experience:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Anxiety or agitation
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Cravings for drugs
- Irritation and anger
- Changes in appetite
The symptoms of withdrawal vary from individual to individual, and are dependent upon the individual’s body chemistry, the length of use, the dose, and many more factors. Detox facilities can work with you to help minimize these symptoms and give you a great opportunity to cleanse your body of these intense drugs. Through teaching coping mechanisms, giving you healthy food to eat, working out with a personal trainer, and leading you to an overall healthier lifestyle, you can get and stay sober.
After detox, further treatment can be extremely beneficial. There are different types of drug treatment, such as residential, outpatient, sober living, and support groups. All of these offerings will help you to find a life without drugs and alcohol, and learn to address the problems underlying your addiction.