What is Meth Addiction?
Meth addiction is caused by the unrestrained use of methamphetamine. They are a very dangerous drug that provides a quick rush but has devastating effects on the user. This makes it one of the most dangerous drugs available in America.
What, exactly, is meth, then? It’s a highly addictive stimulant drug that can be found as small rocks, pills, or powder. It’s often named as 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 user feel good for a short while, but the person often starts to feel bad 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 as more “positive” ones by the users.
Rush: the most characteristic feeling of meth, 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 users spend several hours without sleeping or eating after using meth, which can cause secondary issues.
Faster breathing and irregular heartbeat: after the drug is taken, the whole body accelerates. This often translates into faster breathing, as if the user has just participated in heavy physical activity. Heartbeat is also often affected.
Increased blood pressure: the rush also increases the blood pressure. This can be dangerous for anyone as it could cause heart attack or stroke, especially for people who already had problems with high blood pressure before using it.
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. Several users also grind their teeth a lot and neglect brushing, too, which damages them as well.
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 the parts of the brain that deals with that are directly affected.
Lower immunity: the user’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 the 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 have 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 the rush to the user, life will seem tiresome after stopping. Because of this, especially during the first week, fatigue and sleepiness are to be expected.
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 users get very anxious during this phase.
Leaving meth often triggers a small depression phase. However, if the user suffered from depression before using, the effects can be considerably stronger.
People often suffer from hallucinations and delusions soon after leaving meth. They may have difficulties in order to differentiate what is the truth from what is their head because of this.
In order to cope with all the symptoms, the user will obviously 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 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, as you may have seen, 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 user’s health.
Violence, paranoia, and hallucinations: meth addiction often cause someone to lose touch with reality. Suffering from hallucinations and paranoia is not uncommon and people in this state may harm themselves or others. This can lead to harming other people or even committing crimes. The user needs to understand that its judgment is heavily affected when using methamphetamine.
HIV, hepatitis B, and C: sharing syringes or engaging in risky sexual behavior can lead the user to get dangerous diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and C. As the drug lowers the immunity, these diseases can be even more devastating this way.
Liver damage: the user’s liver can be harmed by constantly using drugs. As it is the liver that cleanses the organism from alien substances, this organ will be overworked in case the use of meth is constant. It generally is when the meth addiction phase is reached.
Brain damage: the rush of dopamine caused by the methamphetamine can be pleasant at first, but over time it disrupts chemicals in your brain. According to a medical study, people who used the drug for long periods experienced severe memory difficulties, motor coordination problems and judgment problems. The authors also linked Parkinson’s disease with meth usage. They argue that using 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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