Using Meth: A One-Way Ticket to Destruction
Meth, or scientifically named methamphetamine, was first created for medical use. It was derived from its cousin drug, amphetamine, to be used as an allergy symptom reducer. However, the addictive properties in meth have given the drug popularity in the streets. It has proven to be a destructive force destroying lives in its path because of its dangerously high addiction levels. Meth addicts are swarmed with a multitude of health symptoms, psychological impairments, and social consequences. Finding treatment is the only sure way for a meth addict to gain hope for their lives once more. Understanding the effects and symptoms of this dangerous drug can spread awareness and prevent more addicts from needing help.
Why has Meth become so Popular?
Meth is even more addictive than the drug it was derived from, amphetamine. This is because more meth reaches the brain than amphetamine and affects the body for longer periods of time. Using meth gives a person a long-lasting high not found in other hard street drugs like crack or heroin. Using meth has its appeal to an addict because it produces the effects of:
- Decreased appetite
- Increased talkativeness
- Delusions of grandeur
Identifying Meth in the Streets
Meth can be found all over the United States, although most prevalent in the west and Midwest regions. Studies have shown that 4.7% of the population of the United States has tried meth once or more during their lifetime. This means that about 5 of every 100 people you meet have tried this highly addictive drug. On the street, meth goes by many different names. A few of the nicknames for meth include:
The Cycle of Using Meth
Methamphetamine can be taken orally, inhaled as a powder, injected as a liquid, or smoked. When a user first takes meth, a rush of euphoria is evident before the high for around 30 minutes. This rush is sought after with each recurring use of meth. During the high, users are highly active, and become focused on singular tasks. When the drug’s effects fade, a user will try to avoid withdrawal by using again.
Continued meth use will prevent sleep for days at a time, and is known as a “binge”. During the binge, the addict will use meth until the initial desired effect is no longer evident and the body can no longer stay awake. When the addict has binged continuously for days and can no longer feel the rush of the drug, what is known as “tweaking” occurs. This is a state of paranoia that occurs when a meth user hasn’t slept or ate for days at a time. Vivid hallucinations may occur before a user will eventually crash. Additionally, users are known for reporting a sensation that bugs are crawling under the skin while tweaking. Some even attempt to remove these “bugs” and tear into their skin.
A bingeing meth user can crash for up to three days as the body tries to recover. This sleeping state is so deep that an addict will not even wake to use the restroom. Once, awake, the body and mind are drained from the drug use, known as a meth hangover. The individual will seem lifeless or unresponsive because they are chemically imbalanced and they do not possess the emotions necessary to function. Withdrawal symptoms begin shortly thereafter and the user seeks more meth to continue the addiction cycle. Unfortunately, this cycle usually ends one of two ways: treatment or death.
The Effects of Meth
Using meth causes damaging effects on the mind and body that no other drug can compare to. Short-term effects of meth match the effects of other stimulants, involving increased blood pressure and heart rate, insomnia, and paranoia. The long-term effects of meth seem to be taken right out of a horror film. Irreversible and cause for early death, long-term effects of using meth are more than frightening. Continuation of meth use leads to:
- Brain damage
- Heart damage
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- Respiratory system damage
- Tooth rot
- Extreme exhaustion
Approaching Treatment for Using Meth
Like most addictive substances, dependence for meth makes withdrawal difficult. Meth dependence cannot only be physical, but mental as well. Detoxing meth addicts experience a number of different withdrawal symptoms like insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, depression, exhaustion, mood swings, and extreme cravings. Meth withdrawal symptoms can cause death if not monitored, which is why medical detox should always be a priority for treatment. The good news is that recovery is available for meth addicts through addiction treatment.
If you struggle with an addiction to meth, you are not alone. Help is available to you, and you can get better. With each meth use, you put your life in more danger. Do not hesitate to ask for help, because addiction treatment is the only way meth addicts can be sure they will be alive tomorrow.