Snorting methamphetamine (meth) is a less common means of administration than smoking or injecting, and it induces a less intense high than these other methods. In the short term, snorting meth can harm sinus cavities and the lining of the nose, leading to nosebleeds and stuffiness. This habit can also increase heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Snorting meth for a prolonged period can lead to the following:
- Heart attack
- Chronic nosebleeds
- Profound weight loss
- Memory impairments
- Dental decay
- Loss of job/unemployment
- Relationship strain
- Poor academic performance
Meth is classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) as a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, although it has does have some minimal medical use. As the prescription medication Desoxyn, meth has been traditionally prescribed in low doses for treating extremely stubborn attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity.
In recent decades, safer but equally effective alternatives have mostly replaced meth for these medical purposes. Meth that is found on the black market is usually not a product of drug diversion and instead is produced in superlabs by Mexican cartels or small, clandestine neighborhood labs in the United States.
How Meth Is Used
Meth can be ingested in pill form but is more commonly smoked, injected, or snorted. Individuals who use meth might choose to snort it due to fear of using needles or contracting hepatitis B/hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS. Snorting meth can cause a euphoric high, although this is usually less intense than the rush a user might experience when smoking or injecting.
Meth is a human-made drug synthesized from various harmful chemicals, which may together amplify the effects of each and result in health complications. Common ingredients used in the illicit manufacturing of meth include the following:
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Battery acid
- Drain cleaner
- Paint thinner
- Red phosphorus
In recent years, drug and law enforcement agencies have begun to monitor and restrict the purchase of these ingredients—pseudoephedrine and ephedrine in particular. Small labs can make around $1,000 worth of meth in just a few hours, using only $100 worth of materials. While the meth manufacturing business can indeed be lucrative, chemical reactions can occur during this process and cause disastrous, life-threatening explosions.
Moreover, the process of making illegal meth also creates poisonous byproducts that are harmful to people who are exposed to them. These include the individual(s) doing the manufacturing and everyone else in the near vicinity. For every pound of methamphetamine that is produced, about 5.5 pounds of toxic waste is also created as byproducts.
This waste can be destructive to farmland and forests, generate toxic drainage, affect nearby animals, and require teams of experts to clean up. In many states, property owners may be liable for the cost of these hazardous material cleanups, even if they aren’t directly associated with meth production.
Short-Term Effects of Snorting Meth
While meth may induce a euphoric high, it also comes with the risk of a variety of adverse effects, regardless of how it is ingested. Because meth is a type of drug known as a CNS (central nervous system) stimulant, using it artificially causes a dramatic increase in neural activity in the brain and body. Persistent CNS activation has been linked to profound increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
Users also tend to experience a significant increase in energy levels, in addition to appetite suppression. These conditions can last for up to 24 hours following meth use.
When having a conversation, individuals under the influence of meth might change from one topic to another rapidly, feel more confident, or behave in paranoid or odd/erratic ways. The high will later grind to a halt and will be followed by a dramatic crash or comedown period compelling the person to continue using the drug repeated to avoid the adverse feelings and withdrawal symptoms.
Meth users who are crashing will exhibit profound fatigue, hunger, thirst, intense drug cravings, depression, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, and a loss of pleasure in ordinary activities. There is then a strong motivation to avoid these unpleasant effects, and this drives many people to administer multiple doses in succession, a pattern of use known as binging.
Long-Term Effects of Snorting Meth
Over time, the results of repeated meth abuse can cause severe damage to the nervous, respiratory, circulatory, and renal systems, resulting in adverse physical and psycho-emotional effects. These consequences include extreme weight loss, dental deterioration, skin sores, insomnia, and an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, and liver or kidney damage.
With repeated use, tolerance can develop, a condition requiring users to ingest increasing amounts of meth to achieve the sought-after effects or just to feel relatively normal.
Psych-emotional complications linked to meth use include the following:
- Suicidal thoughts
- Mood swings
- Impaired concentration
- Impaired memory
Gradually, the ongoing hab required to support a meth addiction begins to occupy increasing amounts of the user’s time. This means that the individual is either compulsively seeking to attain and use meth or recovering from its effects.
While meth use can provide users with brief periods of excess energy, the dramatic crash that follows may result in an extremely low mood and lack of motivation, which can cause problems with school and employment. For example, adolescent meth users might miss classes or drop out of school due to unnecessary absenteeism or poor grades. Furthermore, employees might be fired from their job due to meth use.
Chronic meth abuse can lead to chronic or even permanent effects on the body and brain, including changes that affect the brain’s pleasure and reward centers. When this occurs, it becomes more difficult for users or former users to experience satisfaction while engaging in activities that they would otherwise consider enjoyable.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth use can rapidly lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction and requires special attention, care, and support in a private rehab center.
Unfortunately, there are currently no medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration or the treatment of meth abuse or addiction. Instead, treatment is grounded in therapies that intended to modify negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an effective approach to addiction and mental illness that aims to alter behaviors by identifying unhealthy thoughts and replacing them with healthier and more productive ones.
Just Believe Recovery offers comprehensive treatment programs focused on positive change that features many different evidence-based therapeutic approaches, such as behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, and group support. We also provide education for those we treat and their and family, experiential activities like art and music therapy, aftercare planning, and more.
Meth is an extremely addictive drug that can alter functioning in the brain and body, in a relatively short amount of time. While some damage due to meth addiction can be reversed to normal or near-normal, much of it may be permanent. Extended use can cause irreversible changes in the individual’s ability to regulate emotions, radically impair the reward centers of the brain, and cause physical harm to vital organs, scarring, and severe dental decay.
Long-term meth use can lead to a myriad of adverse health effects, permanent debilitating conditions, a shorter lifespan, and even death. The longer and more often that meth is used, the higher the risks become.
If you or a loved one is struggling with meth abuse or addiction, please call us today to speak with an addiction specialist who can help you get started on the road to recovery!