Meth (methamphetamine) is an addictive and potent stimulant that can induce intense euphoric feelings, boost energy, and reduce the need for sleep. It is mostly found on the illicit drug market as a white, odorless crystalline powder or white to bluish rock-like substance referred to as “crystal meth.”
It is frequently abused in a “binge-and-crash” pattern in which the user repeatedly uses the drug to avoid comedown and withdrawal symptoms. Each time the drug is administered, the euphoria and other sought-after effects diminish somewhat, ending in a crash where the person cannot sustain a high.
Regular meth use can result in increased tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior. Repeated meth exposure can cause pronounced changes in brain functioning, which may adversely affect cognition and emotions long-term. Other effects of meth use include skin sores, heart palpitations, insomnia, anxiety, profound weight loss due to appetite suppression, and, in extreme cases, psychosis.
Side Effects of Meth Use
Chronic meth use can severely impact both the body and mind of the person abusing it. An addiction to meth can cause profound impairment in the user’s life, and negatively affect those around him or her. Physical consequences of repeated meth use may include the following:
- Impaired motor skills
- Malnutrition and weight loss
- Heart arrhythmia/palpitations
- Heart attack, stroke, or seizures
- Increased risk of HIV
- Increased risk of hepatitis B/C
- Sexual dysfunction
- Injuries related to risky behavior
- Skin sores
- Severe dental decay
Abusing meth for an extended period can also result in several mental or emotional issues, including the following:
- Anxiety and depression
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
- Aggressive or violent behavior
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Memory impairments
- Tactile hallucinations
Even short term meth abuse may increase the likelihood that an individual will develop a chemical dependence. If a person suddenly stops smoking meth after dependence has formed, he or she may encounter a myriad of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms during the comedown, including the following:
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increased appetite
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Suicidal ideations or behaviors
- Slow movements and thoughts
- Nightmares and insomnia
Risks of Smoking Meth
When meth is smoked, it is heated and inhaled through a pipe. There are several adverse health outcomes directly associated with smoking meth. It is believed that a person may be more likely to develop a meth addiction if it is smoked rather snorted or consumed orally (but not necessarily injected). This fact is related to the speed and intensity in which meth crosses the blood-brain barrier when smoked, inducing a near-immediate rush of pleasure. This rapid route of delivery can also increase mental and physical health issues related to drug use.
Another outcome unique to smoking meth is dental decay and deterioration, commonly referred to as “meth mouth.” This condition is hallmarked by mouth sores, gum disease, and rampant tooth decay. These dental problems are typically a result of repeated grinding of teeth when under the influence, in addition to a lack of proper dental hygiene and poor eating habits.
Also, recent research on mice has suggested that inhaling meth increases the risk of pulmonary damage and contracting a lung infection. Although studies haven’t been performed on humans, this preliminary finding reveals the potentially toxic effects of smoking meth.
Meth Abuse Treatment Options
There are several effective treatment options available for persons suffering from meth addiction. Just Believe Recovery Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers offer personalized, comprehensive treatment in partial hospitalization and residential formats.
We employ highly-skilled, licensed addiction specialists trained to deliver therapeutic, research-based services to those we treat with care and expertise. All programs are comprised of treatments essential for the recovery process, and include, but are not limited to, the following:
Group counseling, in which a mental health provider leads a therapy session in a group environment that is focused on the development of sober social skills and coping strategies.
Individual therapy, in which the person visits with a therapist one-on-one to address regularly to address the underlying factors that contributed to a person’s meth abuse. Patients also learn how to develop effective coping skills that can be used in stressful situations or to fight against relapse triggers.
12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, which provides participants with the support and encouragement they need to work through the steps necessary to promote long-term recovery. These programs are free, and the only requirement is that members are motivated to live a substance-free life.
Regardless of which program you choose, we aim to provide you with the tools, resources, education, and support you need to prevent relapse and sustain long-lasting sobriety and wellness.
If you or someone you love is abusing meth, other drugs or alcohol, we urge you to call us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We can show you how to begin your recovery journey and help you every step of the way!