Speed Erectile Dysfunction: How Amphetamines Affect Your Penis
"Uppers" is a term used to refer to drugs containing amphetamines, methylphenidates and other derivatives. These drugs are psychostimulants that increase the speed at which chemical messages are sent to the brain. All forms of amphetamines are addictive.
As a result, uppers tend to increase energy, concentration and even self-confidence. Legal amphetamines—such as brand-name drugs Ritalin, Concerta and Vyvanse—are usually prescribed to treat a variety of conditions including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), excessive daytime sleepiness resulting from narcolepsy, Parkinson's disease and, occasionally, depression.
Street versions of these drugs include speed as well as the strongest and most dangerous of them all: crystal methamphetamine, or in common parlance, crystal meth. Methamphetamine is a more potent stimulant than amphetamine, its parent drug, because much greater amounts of the drug get into the brain.
Studies have shown that amphetamine use is on the rise. In fact, the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported 10 percent of Americans had taken amphetamines in their lifetime, while a 2018 study in PLoS One reported the national use increased 250 percent from 2006 to 2016.
The physical effects of speed
Uppers cause a variety of physical and mental symptoms, including a short-term increase in wakefulness, attentiveness and activity. These drugs also cause changes in pupil size and appetite, and increase sex drive and energy.
How speed erectile dysfunction works
Uppers like speed may make a guy horny but, ironically, can at the same time make it tougher to perform. A 2015 study found half of the participants taking amphetamines reported an overall reduction in erectile rigidity, orgasmic function and sexual satisfaction. They were also 110 percent more likely to experience erectile dysfunction. That's because uppers constrict blood vessels, making it harder for the penis to fill with blood, and that affects a man's ability to achieve and maintain an erection.
While not all men experience the symptoms of speed erectile dysfunction, sexual problems are a common side effect of taking amphetamines.
Aside from how uppers can affect sexual function, they can also have serious effects on health overall. And it's not always so easy to discern those effects, as amphetamines trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for the sensation that evokes feelings of euphoria. In other words, you may be feeling too good to realize how bad you're actually doing.
In high doses, uppers can cause rapid and irregular heart rate, and increased blood pressure and respiration—even seizure. Of course, taking too high of a dose can result in an overdose that could have fatal consequences. It's also important to remember that mixing uppers with alcohol can prove deadly.
Consider your options
While there's little doubt some people abuse uppers, amphetamines are often legitimate, prescribed treatments for legitimately diagnosed health conditions.
If your medication is causing you to experience speed erectile dysfunction, talk to your doctor. An adjustment in your dose or switching to an alternative medication may solve the problem. Remember, even if you've been prescribed uppers for a medical condition, there may be less risky treatment options available to you.
Ultimately, the most important lesson to take away from this discussion is that before you take any medication—especially a drug as strong as an amphetamine—get informed about the potential benefits and risks, follow the instructions for use exactly, and always monitor any short- or long-term changes to your mind and body.