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Navigation: Meth Overview, Meth Abusem, Meth Effects, Meth Addiction

 

Meth is widely known as a powerful and addictive drug with the potential to cause serious harm to a person’s physical and mental health. Getting addicted to this drug can ruin someone’s life. Despite all these negative effects, a lot of people still abuse meth.

In fact, 1.6 million people reported using meth during the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. That same year, an estimated 964,000 people aged 12 and older were qualified as having a meth use disorder. This stimulant is so potent that it can cause addiction in as little as one use. People who try it for the first time are at high risk of developing addiction. It quickly spirals out of their control.

This is why it is worth looking into the various effects of meth and how the drug interacts with the body and mind. This is the first step towards helping loved ones who are struggling with meth addiction.

Meth Overview

Meth, or methamphetamine, is a central nervous system stimulant that is made from amphetamine and other derivative chemicals. It was originally prescribed as a decongestant and as a weight loss aid. Meth was once widely and legally available in both tablet and injectable forms.

Soon after, a large population abused the products for the stimulant effects. This prompted the FDA to restrict and regulate the drug as a Schedule II controlled substance in 1970.

Nowadays, there is only one prescription methamphetamine drug that is still in the market: Desoxyn, which is used to treat obesity and severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD.

Meth Abuse

People abuse meth and crystal meth in order to get high. This drug comes in the form of a crystalline powder that is most commonly white, but can also be yellow, pink, or brown. The odorless and bitter drug can be dissolved in liquid.

Meth is usually smoked or snorted. However, some people also inject the drug directly into their bloodstream to get a faster and more intense high. In rare cases, people take meth as a pill.

Crystal meth is a variation of meth that takes the shape of coarse crystals. These crystals are typically smoked.

A lot of drug dealers “cut” meth with other substances in order to sell less of the actual drug for the same price. But meth can be extremely dangerous when mixed with other drugs such as opioids and antidepressants. Even on its own, methamphetamine is a highly dangerous substance. Mixed with other drugs, its risk of overdose increases even further.

Common street names for methamphetamine include: glass, ice, crystal, crank, tweak, chalk, and redneck cocaine.

The vast majority of the meth that is being distributed today comes from illegal laboratories and imports. The drug is typically cooked in home labs or “stove tops” in which a few people will produce small amounts of the substance.

However, there are also “super labs” that produce meth using professional-grade equipment. It enables the production of higher quantities of meth. Meth’s key ingredient is typically ephedrine or pseudoephedrine, which is found in some over-the-counter cough and cold medications.

Meth labs are known to be dangerous because the gas and chemicals that are released during the drug’s creation process are both toxic and combustible. Meth alone costs the United States $550 million in drug treatment programs each year.

Meth Effects

Because meth is illegal and it has little to no medical use, any illicit use of this drug qualifies as abuse. When taken, the drug causes an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. The user also experiences a euphoric sensation. After the initial rush, the user experiences a steady high that can last anywhere from 8 to 24 hours depending on how the drug was consumed.

Injecting meth produces a stronger high than snorting or smoking—but the effects also wear off more quickly. People who abuse meth are likely to stay up for multiple days at a time in order to binge use the drug.

Common effects of meth abuse include: elation, hyperactivity, talkativeness, alertness, loss of appetite, confusion, irregular heartbeat, increased wakefulness, anxiety, irritability, agitation, paranoia, insomnia, tremors, weight loss, and aggression.

Users are also likely to get skin sores and infections from picking at their own skin. Meth use also leads to tooth decay, and “meth mouth”. People who regularly inject the drug may also suffer from collapsed veins. They are also at risk of contracting blood-borne pathogen diseases like HIV/AIDS due to shared needles.

Snorting meth can damage sinus cavities and nasal passages, which may lead to chronic nosebleeds.

Some of the worst effects of meth abuse include seizures, heart attack, stroke, and fatal overdose. When mixed with other drugs like cocaine or alcohol, the likelihood of an adverse reaction and overdose is greatly increased.

Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine is addictive because it produces a rush of dopamine that affects the brain’s reward system. Dopamine is a chemical that is not only responsible for inducing feelings of pleasure, but also for motivation, learning, memory retention, and reward processing. The rush of dopamine caused by meth is much higher than what is naturally produced in the brain. Because the brain cannot produce that much dopamine on its own, the user has to keep taking the drug or else they will not feel “normal” throughout the day. A lot of meth users abuse the drug over a period of several days, staying perpetually high throughout. This often ends up in the development of tolerance, where the person begins to require higher doses of meth just to feel the same euphoric effects as before.

An addicted individual will keep abusing the drug even when they are already suffering from its negative health effects. Their days will revolve around trying to obtain and use the drug. They will lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy. Addicted people tend to neglect their responsibilities and prioritize meth over everything else.

Meth is a highly dangerous and addictive substance. Even a single use can lead to a path of addiction and dependence.

If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.

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Fel Clinical Director of Content
Felisa Laboro has been working with addiction and substance abuse businesses since early 2014. She has authored and published over 1,000 articles in the space. As a result of her work, over 1,500 people have been able to find treatment. She is passionate about helping people break free from alcohol or drug addiction and living a healthy life.

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