Meth Comedown – Methamphetamine (meth) is a white crystalline substance with stimulant effects that can be administered by snorting, smoking, or injecting. Regardless of how it is delivered, those who use meth illicitly will almost certainly develop a strong urge to continue using it because of the drug’s addictive properties.
When used, meth creates a false sense of reward and well-being, including feelings of confidence, hyperactiveness, energy, and appetite suppression. These effects generally last from between 6-8 hours but can persist for up to a full day.
What Is Meth and How Does It Work?
With the rare exception of the prescription drug Desoxyn, meth is an illicit, Schedule II substance in the same category as cocaine, fentanyl, and many other dangerous street drugs. The most common method of administration is inhaling or smoking, but can also be ingested orally as a pill or dissolved in water and injected. However, it is most commonly found as a powder or in a whitish-blue rock-like form, also referred to as crystal meth.
Meth use dramatically increases the production of dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of well-being and reward. By some estimates, the production of this compound can be accelerated 1,000 times more than what would occur naturally, resulting in a rush of euphoria.
Unfortunately, however, the pleasant feelings associated with meth use only last a short time. The rush is followed by talkativeness, hyperactivity, and seemingly boundless energy that, upon discontinuation, often compels users to repeat use in a binge-style patter to avoid the comedown and withdrawal symptoms.
Short- and Long-Term Effects of Meth
Short-term effects of meth use may include the following:
- Loss of appetite
- Sudden weight loss
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increased body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Bizarre or erratic behavior
- Pupil dilation
- A sudden surge of energy
- Feelings of euphoria
- Heavy sweating
Prolonged use can lead to a myriad of other problems, and long-term effects can include the following:
- Loss of teeth, dental decay
- Dry skin
- Severe breakouts
- Brain damage
- Weakened state
- Compromised immune system
- Suicidal/homicidal thoughts
- Liver and kidney damage
- Cardiovascular damage
- Paranoia and psychosis
- Difficulty focusing
Also, when a person shares contaminated needles, those who inject are more susceptible to contracting hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HIV. It’s also not uncommon for meth users to engage in risky sexual behaviors.
Over time, the damage to the brain of someone who uses meth may be equivalent to that as a result of Alzheimer’s disease or a stroke. There is also the possibility of an overdose, which can be life-threatening. One severe side effect of meth is hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature), which can lead to kidney failure. A meth overdose is considered to be a medical emergency, and emergency medical help should be sought immediately.
Other symptoms of an overdose may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle spasms
- Uncontrolled movements
- Extremely painful headache
Initially, the euphoric effects of meth will last up to eight hours or longer, but this interval often becomes shorter with prolonged use. It’s not uncommon for addicts to seek another hit after 2-3 hours to avoid a comedown.
A meth comedown is the period in which the effects of the drug wear off, and the user begins to “crash.” This is not the same as withdrawal syndrome and is actually a bit more akin to an alcohol hangover.
Symptoms of meth comedown:
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of motivation
- Depression and sadness
- Trouble sleeping
- Dehydration and headaches
- Jaw pain from teeth clenching
- Intense cravings
What Happens During a Meth Comedown?
The effects of meth generally last from 4-12 hours. A meth comedown will begin to onset almost immediately following this period. Feelings of euphoria and energy gradually subside, and tiredness, anxiety, irritability, and sometimes erratic behavior ensues. Headaches, increased hunger, and concentration difficulties ensue. Users may sleep excessively or may find themselves unable to sleep at all.
Meth Comedown and Tweaking
One particularly dangerous aspect of a meth comedown is also known as “tweaking.” Tweaking occurs after a binge, when an individual has been using continually for several days. As the binge continues, the high becomes increasingly less intense, and with each repeated use, the effects grow weaker.
Tweaking occurs when the person can no longer experience a high. The body and mind simply won’t react to smoking meth any more, and the person is desperately tired from a lack of sleep and may enter a mental state that can be described as psychotic.
Despite the user’s cravings, he or she can no longer achieve a high and has no choice but to enter the “crash” stage in which the body shuts down, and sleep is finally induced.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is a severe, life-threatening condition that has significant health and social consequences for persons who suffer. It is most effectively treated through participation in a detox program followed by an intensive, long-term residential program.
Just Believe Recovery offers several evidence-based services, including psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, peer group support, and aftercare planning. Our professional health staff specialize in addiction and provide clients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting recovery from drugs and alcohol.
If you are ready to reclaim your life, we urge you to contact us today and discover how we can help!