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Meth Addiction Treatment Wilmington, NC

What is Meth Addiction?

Meth addiction is caused by the use of a drug called methamphetamine. This is a very dangerous drug that provides a quick rush but has devastating effects on the person using. This makes it one of the most dangerous drugs available in America.

What, exactly, is methamphetamine, then? It’s a highly addictive stimulant drug that can be found as small rocks, pills, or powder. It’s often called meth, but you can find people calling it ice, blue, crystal, or speed. Meth can be used in several ways, such as smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected.

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, at least 0.6% of the national population (around 1.6 million people) have used the substance in the past year.

It is not very hard to get addicted to this substance. It makes the person using feel good for a short while, but the person often starts to feel poorly as soon as the effect passes. In some cases, people keep using the drug instead of sleeping or eating, which can cause several health issues.

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What Are the Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

Some of the symptoms associated with meth can be seen as soon as the drug is used. Others, however, take a long time to actually appear, especially the most dangerous ones.

Short-Term Meth Addiction Symptoms

Most of the short-term symptoms are the ones that can be easily seen as soon as the drug is used. They include the usual euphoria caused by the drug and are generally deemed the more “positive” ones by the people using the drug.

Euphoria: the most characteristic feeling of meth, also called “rush” (which is why the drug is often called speed). The user feels a wave of euphoria as the body receives a rush of dopamine. This is generally the feeling that the user always tries to regain and the main reason why people get addicted.

Increased wakefulness and decreased appetite: as soon as someone uses the drug, the euphoria takes over and it basically overcomes any fear or hunger that the person had. Some people spend several hours without sleeping or eating after using meth, which has its own physical consequences.

Faster breathing and irregular heartbeat: after the drug is taken, the whole body accelerates. This often translates into faster breathing, as if the person has just participated in heavy physical activity. The heartbeat is also often affected.

Increased blood pressure: the “rush” also increases blood pressure. This can be dangerous for anyone as it could cause heart attack or stroke, but especially for people who already had problems with high blood pressure before using meth.

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Long-Term Meth Addiction Symptoms

While the short-term symptoms tend to feel good and don’t look so dangerous to the user, meth addiction causes several problems in both the body and mind.

Weight loss: as the person generally does not eat well while using meth, a severe weight loss can be seen after some months.

Meth mouth: “Mouth Meth” is a term that generally refers to a variety of oral health conditions from meth use. The extreme decay in the condition of someone’s teeth is caused by several factors. For instance, the drug dries out the salivary glands, which makes the mouth more acid. The shrinking of blood vessels also causes oral issue decay. People might also grind their teeth and neglect brushing.

Anxiety, memory loss, and confusion: using the drug affects the brain directly, so cases of anxiety and confusion are common. The more the person uses, the more prominent the problems will be. Using meth also causes memory issues as those parts of the brain are directly affected.

Lower immunity: the person’s whole body is harmed when using meth for a long period. This often causes the immunity of the body to go down fast. Combined with potential risky sexual behavior, this can worsen cases of HIV and even lead to death.

What Are the Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal?

Being addicted to methamphetamine means that you want to take constant doses of the drug. The withdrawal effects start to appear around 24 hours after the last dose.


As meth often gives “energy” and a rush to the person, life will seem tiresome after stopping. Because of this, especially during the first week, fatigue and sleepiness are to be expected.

Increased Appetite

Craving for carbohydrates or sugary food is generally normal, especially because of how the person lacked any appetite before the withdrawal started.


Leaving such a powerful drug is a catalyst for anxiety. The person is constantly in emotional pain, so many people get very anxious during this phase.


Quitting meth often triggers a small depression phase. However, if the person suffered from depression before using, the effects can be considerably stronger.


People often experience hallucinations and delusions after quitting meth. They may have difficulties differentiating what is the truth from what is in their head.


In order to cope with all the symptoms, the person will crave for more meth.

How Long Meth Withdrawal Effects Last?

The effects will be more severe if the drug has been used for months or years. During this detoxification phase, it is very useful to have professional help in order to alleviate these symptoms.

Withdrawal normally takes around five weeks. The first 24 hours will be the hardest ones, followed by around two weeks of strong symptoms. After that, weaker symptoms should still be expected for the following three weeks.

What Are the Dangers of Meth Addiction?

Meth addiction is very dangerous. Its worst dangers, however, are not directly linked to issues with your appearance and emotional distress. They are more linked to how the brain can get damaged and other risks to the person’s health.

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Violence, paranoia, and hallucinations: meth use often causes someone to lose touch with reality. Experiencing hallucinations and paranoia is not uncommon and people in this state may harm themselves or others. The person generally struggles to understand that their judgment is heavily affected when using methamphetamine.

HIV, hepatitis B, and C: sharing syringes or engaging in risky sexual behavior can lead to dangerous diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C. As the drug lowers the immune system, these diseases can be increasingly devastating.

Liver damage: the person’s liver can be harmed by constantly using drugs. The liver cleanses the body from foreign substances and this organ will be overworked if meth use is constant. 

Brain damage: the rush of dopamine caused by methamphetamine can be pleasant at first, but it disrupts chemicals in your brain. People who use the drug for long periods experience severe memory difficulties, motor coordination problems, and judgment problems. Parkinson’s disease is linked with meth usage. Meth can cause neuroinflammation that may promote all these cognitive deficits which are, unlike the initial effect on the dopamine receptors, irreversible.

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Treatment for Meth Addiction

Partial Hospitalization Treatment

In a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) the individual will travel to the treatment center on a near-daily basis to receive care. At the center, they will undergo individual and group therapy, as well as various other services such as participating in activities such as yoga, and learning life skills. Partial Hospitalization programs can be short or long term, depending on client needs.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP) is a level of care that is a step down from Partial Hospitalization, but provides similar services. Though a client attending IOP will be treated less frequently than in a PHP program, they may also receive weekly individual therapy, and attend group therapy sessions focused on learning life skills to reintegrate with society while still receiving ongoing care.

Sober Living Recommendations

A sober living environment is a home where individuals recovering from addiction can live in order to have accountability in their home life. Those who live in sober living houses can do so while they attend treatment, or while they work or attend school. Sober living will typically provide the individual with regular drug testing, and ensure that the person is attending recovery groups such as AA or SMART Recovery.