Methamphetamines are nothing to joke about. It is a dangerous substance. Any amount of meth use is too much meth use.
If you’re concerned about someone and aren’t sure if it’s due to meth addiction, keep reading to learn more about the drug, its effects, and how long it can take someone to become addicted to it.
What Is Meth?
Meth, otherwise known as methamphetamine, is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system in a person’s brain.
You may hear other names for meth, including:
- Crystal meth
- Rock candy
Meth was created by combining amphetamine and other chemicals over a century ago. In fact, meth was originally prescribed as a decongestant and a weight loss aid. It didn’t take long to notice that meth was a highly addictive drug and an extreme danger to people.
Methamphetamine use is unlike alcohol or marijuana. Most people can use these substances without them turning into an addiction. Alcohol and marijuana can be safe in small quantities in controlled environments.
Meth, however, is a serious drug that can lead to addiction, ongoing health issues, and even death.
Meth users don’t usually start off using meth as their first drug. It’s often a drug that comes after experimenting with other kinds of drugs. Sometimes people turn to meth once other hard drugs stop producing the high they crave.
The effects of meth are strong and intense, usually more so than other drugs. If someone has built up a tolerance to a different substance, meth might still be able to give them the high that they are looking for.
You can ingest crystal meth through injections, swallowing a pill, snorting it, and smoking it. It might look different depending on the ingredients used to create it, like little shards of glass or an odorless powder, with colors ranging from pink to white to brown.
It’s one of the most addictive substances you could get your hands on. Any use of meth is considered abuse.
What Are the Effects of Meth?
When you smoke or inject meth, you experience an initial “rush” of euphoria that increases your heart rate and blood pressure while enhancing pleasure-inducing neurotransmitters. When you snort meth, you experience the euphoria but not the “rush.”
Injecting meth produces the most intense feelings. The stimulant effects can last for 30 minutes, followed by a steady high that lasts anywhere from eight hours to a full day. Many people who use meth will be high for several days before coming down.
Some effects of meth use are:
- Lack of appetite
- Weight Loss
- Irregular heartbeat
How Long Is Meth in Your System?
Meth can last up to 24 hours in your blood, creating the feeling of being high. Depending on how you take it, it might affect you more rapidly. An injection is the quickest way to become high.
It can remain in your urine between four days and one week and up to 90 days in your hair. Though it might not make you high during these extended periods on its own, the impact that meth can have on your health long-term is still there.
What Is the History of Meth?
There was one point in history when the effects and impacts of amphetamines were unknown. Since its creation over a century ago, meth has been used legally, though not for very long. During this time of uncertainty, right as this drug was being created, meth tablets were being distributed to German soldiers during World War II so that they could fight all day and night.
Military amphetamine was also available to American and British soldiers to help them fight off fatigue and boost their overall morale. Unfortunately, it also led to violent behavior.
Afterward, amphetamine was prescribed as Benzedrine to treat colds and asthma and began to be used recreationally during the 1950s. This then began a domino effect of substance abuse. The side effects of anger and aggression quickly became apparent.
In 1971, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (USDEA) made amphetamines a Schedule II controlled substance because of their risk for abuse and dependence. Still, there is. Desoxyn –the pure form of methamphetamine that occasionally will be prescribed to someone who is struggling with ADHD. Regardless, it’s still highly monitored and poses a risk for substance use disorder.
Can You Become Addicted After One Use?
In order to be diagnosed with an addiction, there needs to be repeated misuse of a substance. Therefore, by the definition of “addiction,” you can’t technically be addicted to meth after just one use.
However, meth is a highly addictive substance, and using it once can cause you to crave more. It is very easy to become addicted to meth, which is why some people believe you can become addicted after just one use.
Once you start using meth, it becomes difficult to stop. Your body is constantly chasing a high that can only be reached by using methamphetamines. Without meth addiction treatment, you can spiral into severe meth addiction.
What Are the Signs of Meth Addiction?
Once a person becomes addicted to meth, there are some things you might begin to notice. Of course, there are immediate side effects of meth that are noticeable when you’re in the presence of someone using meth, but meth addiction has more social and financial effects.
If you believe someone is struggling with a meth addiction, you might notice some of the following:
- Bouts of paranoia
- Unexpected weight loss
- Burn marks
- Skin sores
- Mood swings
- Rapid eye movement
- Facial tics
- Abnormal sleep patterns
- Financial strain
- Hiding from friends and family
- Missing social gatherings
- Struggling to retain a job
- Lack of hygiene
- Decline in mental health
- Increased body temperature
- Dry mouth
If you notice any of these signs in someone or are experiencing them yourself, it might be time to reach out and enter into addiction treatment. You can improve your well-being with the right professional help.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Meth Addiction?
Using meth over an extended period of time will result in multiple unwanted side effects. Like any substance abuse, it starts to catch up with both your mind and body. Identifying your issues with meth early can help you avoid many of these outcomes.
We understand it is difficult to ask for help. There is a lot of stigma around meth use and addiction. Opening up about your struggles is never easy. That’s where Soba Recovery Center comes in. No one should suffer through the long-term effects of meth addiction.
After all, the long-term effects of meth abuse are frightening. People who develop skin sores might pick and scratch at them, making them more susceptible to infection. Long-time use of meth can also result in severe tooth decay and gum disease (otherwise known as “meth mouth”.)
Many people lose their teeth if they do not get treated soon enough for their addiction. If you snort meth, you are more likely to develop chronic nosebleeds from damage to your sinus cavities and nasal passages.
People who inject meth can suffer from collapsed veins and put themselves at more risk of developing a blood-borne pathogenic disease, such as HIV or AIDS, as a result of sharing needles. Additionally, people who use meth are at a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease than others.
Meth already increases heart rate and blood pressure, but extended use of meth can lead to serious heart problems later on in life. Meth usage can lead to stroke or a heart attack because it overwhelms the system, especially when used in high quantities. Meth has a negative effect on the brain and the dopamine in a person’s body when used long-term.
Other long-term effects of meth use to look out for are:
- Inability to complete daily tasks
- Depression and anxiety
- Sleep issues
- Organ damage
- Heart failure
- Inability to concentrate
- Loss of close relationships
- Financial issues
What Are the Drugs Often Used With Meth?
If you are using meth, it’s likely that you are also struggling with other substances. You might be using them at the same time as meth, which can be very dangerous.
Mixing drugs with meth can create an even more intense feeling. If this drug mixing occurs due to tolerance to meth, finding ways to experiment with the high is an unfortunate reality. It can lead to death.
Alcohol and meth work somewhat opposite of each other. Alcohol is a depressant and meth is a stimulant. Using both at the same time often results in a person drinking more as the effects of alcohol are masked by the effects of meth.
When you use both at the same time, you increase your risk factors for things like liver failure, hallucinations, cancer, and even sudden death.
A “speedball” is when someone combines both opioids and meth to create an ultra-intense high that is hard to replicate otherwise. For daily users, this is something that might give them a shot at a new level of high that they are searching for.
But, when these substances are combined, it is more likely to cause that person to overdose. Speedballs greatly limit a person’s ability to function, increasing the risk that they will injure themselves or others.
People who use meth frequently are known to experience some level of anxiety. Xanax is commonly prescribed for people with anxiety and panic disorders and is used to offset the effects of meth. So, while meth might make you feel anxious and sad, Xanax helps alleviate those feelings of stress.
This combination can lead to serious heart problems including heart failure. Meth speeds your heart up while Xanax slows it down, so they are constantly fighting with each other to overpower one another. Over time, this can cause damage to your heart.
What Is the Treatment for Meth Addiction?
Meth addiction is often severe, and there is no easy way to “cure” it. However, when you enter into addiction treatment, you are giving yourself the best chance at recovery.
You will need professional healthcare assistance to overcome meth cravings. Trying to become sober from meth use can be fatal. That’s why we offer a variety of different treatment options, so you can find something that works for you.
Treatment programs for meth addiction will likely involve a detox. Trying to quit meth on your own can lead to serious withdrawal symptoms. With detoxification treatment, you get 24/7 surveillance and access to medical professionals to help keep you safe during your meth withdrawal.
Afterward, you can move on to either an inpatient or partial hospitalization program to begin working on other aspects of your addiction. It’s not just about drug use. Behavioral health is an essential part of treatment that can help set you up for sobriety in the future.
Get Help at Soba Recovery Center
If you’re wondering where you can get this kind of treatment, look no further. Soba Recovery Center in San Antonio, Texas, can offer you the support you need to overcome meth addiction with both inpatient and outpatient services.
Admitting you have a meth addiction can be scary. Don’t let your fear hold you back from living your best life. If you feel like you lack support from the people around you, finding community through group therapy and sober living at Soba Recovery Center can help change your outlook on recovery.
Get the sense of community you need and the support of health professionals who care.
If you or a loved one are struggling with meth abuse or addiction, reach out to Soba Recovery Center. The sooner you seek help, the quicker you can start feeling like yourself again.
Current Research on Methamphetamine: Epidemiology, Medical and Psychiatric Effects, Treatment, and Harm Reduction Efforts | NCBI
What are the Long-term Effects of Methamphetamine Misuse? | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
How Methamphetamine Became a Key Part of Nazi Military Strategy | TIME