What is “Meth”?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is one of the most dangerous drugs out there. Meth is extremely addictive and can corner a user into addition quite quickly.
It’s also relatively cheaper than other street drugs due to the ease of making it. Makeshift meth labs can use a slew of household, over-the-counter ingredients to create the odorless, bitter, white crystalline powder.
Meth masquerades under the street names of speed, ice, glass, crank and chalk and can be taken using a number of methods.
It can be smoked, injected, snorted or ingested. Not only do users quickly need greater quantities of meth to achieve the same high they did during their earlier uses, but they also need more meth just to combat the agonizing withdrawal symptoms. Treating methamphetamine addiction is certainly possible, but requires the highest level of care and often medical supervision is necessary.
Signs of Meth Use
Meth produces an extremely pleasurable feeling, although the rush takes different amounts of time to surface based on the method of taking the drugs. Users who smoke or inject meth feel the pleasure as an immediate rush, although the effects wear off just as quickly.
Snorting or orally ingesting meth produces a pleasurable feeling without the rush, with snorting taking about five minutes for the drug to produce the symptoms and ingestion taking up to 20 minutes for the high to hit. The effects of meth are also long lasting compared to other stimulants such as crack or cocaine. A meth high can last up to 12 hours.
In addition to exhibiting euphoria, users can show increased energy levels and engage in intense physical activity. They may have no desire to eat nor sleep and may experience confusion.
Other signs of meth use include a rapid or irregular heart rate, elevated blood pressure, rapid breathing and heat stroke. More severe symptoms include confusion and problems with physical movement. They may start to function as if in slow motion or experience muscle tremors and rigidness.
Signs of meth around the house may be paraphernalia used for taking the drug. Smoking vessels may consist of small pipes with small bowls attached, tin foil shaped into a bowl or spoons heated from underneath. Needles for injecting the drug are also a possibility.
The Downward Spiral
Once users become hooked on meth, they start to experience withdrawal symptoms if they are unable to keep up their high. These include severe depression, anxiety and fatigue. The depression can be especially pronounced because meth destroys the dopamine receptors in the brain, leaving the user unable to express pleasure unless the drug is present.
Keeping up the high with repeated meth use opens the door to host of new side effects and risks.
Long-term meth users can suffer drastic weight loss or anorexia, loss of memory and impaired thinking, reasoning and learning. They may become aggressive, irritable and afflicted with bouts of paranoia and emotional problems.
Users may lose interest in activities they used to enjoy and exhibit other changes in personality. “Meth mouth” is a common side effect, a condition marked by severe dental issues. Meth mouth can include advanced tooth decay, discoloration, and teeth that turn black, crumble and rot right out of the mouth.
Other Side Effects
Other side effects of meth use include an increased libido as well as an increase in risky behaviors, particularly unsafe sex. Meth use also speeds up the progression of HIV for users who are HIV-positive. Hallucinations and delusions can come with extended use, both of which may last for years long after meth use has stopped. If meth use does not stop, its continued abuse can ultimately result in convulsions, heart attack or death.
Contact The Delray Recovery Center Today
If you recognize these signs of meth use in someone you love, do not delay calling a professional. Attempting to intervene or quit using meth without the help of an addiction treatment expert could be dangerous. Call now for a confidential consultation with one of our highly trained staff.