Methamphetamine, also called ‘meth’ is a synthetic substance with serious side effects and an extremely high addictive potential. Often used for the combined euphoria, rush of energy, and feelings of enhanced self-confidence, methamphetamine is a dangerous chemical which causes serious health risks to most human body systems. The addictive element comes not only from the pure chemical effect that meth has but also because it causes the brain to release dopamine, a pleasure-releasing neurotransmitter commonly referred to as a ‘happy chemical’.

If you have used methamphetamine, you are aware that the effects of this drug can last between two to even twelve hours for the crystal form of methamphetamine (crystal meth). After the peak passes and the euphoric effects wear off, you may have noticed a draining of energy and an emotional crash. This is usually referred to as a ‘comedown’ in the addiction treatment field.

Meth addiction has many side effects that can cause severe health harm, but not only. This is why, when considering if a loved one, or yourself, is having an addiction to meth, knowing the warning signs of meth abuse is also essential. Prevention is the best step when it comes to such hard drugs. As meth addiction is a disorder that is very hard to get rid of within the community where it occurs, residential treatment is preferred for all cases.

The Dangers of Meth Abuse

While the dangers of methamphetamine use are widely known, and multiple campaigns have been made to raise awareness, including the Meth Can Take Control in Australia, the Meth. We’re on it. in South Dakota, Montana Meth Project’s Meth: Not Even Once and more, people still try to experiment and use methamphetamine.
This is why we are still obliged to give you the dangers of meth abuse, which you are facing when you try the drug, sometimes taking effect immediately after the first use:

  • Meth is toxic to nerve terminals in the brain
  • Destruction of the brain cell synapses (where dopamine is released)
  • Irreversible damage to bodily systems
  • Irreversible damage to blood vessels (can and has caused stroke)

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What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

smoking methamphetamine can damage your health

Some might think that meth can be just experimented with, but many real-life stories confirm this. Even if not dependent physically on meth after the first dose, there are already signs of meth use disorder that can be observed in the user. Meth addiction is a severe condition that requires detoxification, often medically assisted, rehabilitation and prolonged aftercare. If you are looking at a loved one worried about their current state of drug abuse, you may want to check these symptoms of meth addiction, which can shine a light on any problem behaviours.

Physical symptoms of meth addiction:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased body temperature
  • Flushed skin
  • Itchiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Hyperactivity
  • Twitching
  • Damage to the mouth, teeth, and gums
  • Weight loss
  • Bruised or scabbed skin

Psychological symptoms of methamphetamine addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Intense mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Agitation
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Inability to focus
  • Impaired judgement
  • Inability to make effective decisions
  • Exacerbation of any existing mental health conditions

Behavioural signs of meth addiction:

  • Continuing to use meth even after experiencing the negative effects of meth
  • Methamphetamine is your main daily concern
  • Spending a great deal of time obtaining, using, and attempting to recover from the effects of meth
  • Driving or engaging in other risky behaviours under the influence of meth
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies that were once valuable to you
  • Failing to meet personal responsibilities
  • Incapable of controlling the frequency of your meth abuse
  • Failing to stop taking meth
  • Neglecting grooming, personal hygiene and physical appearance
  • Picking obsessively at skin or hair
  • Lying to loved ones about the extent of your methamphetamine use
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Associating with others who suffer from methamphetamine abuse
  • Possession of syringes, needles, and other paraphernalia related to methamphetamine use

Recognise the Signs?

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What Is ‘Meth Mouth’

‘Meth mouth’ is a definition which came to life during the peak of meth use awareness campaigns during the past century. It is a colloquial term used to describe the side effects of meth use and abusing meth in the area around and inside the mouth. These include tooth decay, acid erosion, tooth loss, gum rot, rotting teeth and tissue wounding within the mouth as effects of chronic meth binging and use.
‘Meth mouth’ is not a myth. According to British research, On average, methamphetamine users had significantly more missing teeth than the matched NHANES III control participants and were more likely to report oral health issues. An unusual discovery was that intravenous use of meth proved more likely to cause missing teeth than smoking this drug.

Faces of Meth is a prevention and awareness campaign by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in the U.S. state of Oregon. It was widely shared and observed by billions across the globe, also reaching UK audiences when it aired. These are photos of people before and after they used meth:

What Are the Effects of Meth Withdrawal?

When you have developed a tolerance because of it being a highly addictive drug, or you are physically dependent on methamphetamine, your body will need to first cleanse itself from the chemicals within your bloodstream and organs before you can go on to rehab. Some withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous or severely uncomfortable, so we advise you to consider inpatient detoxification for meth use instead of at-home options. Drug abuse often leads to physical dependence, so cleansing your body is the first step. Withdrawal symptoms can and usually birth discomfort during the process. When you withdraw from meth, you may experience side effects. Signs of meth withdrawal include:

  • Intense cravings for meth
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Appetite changes
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches

Our medical facilities can provide secure and supervised detoxes for you if you are seeking treatment for meth addiction. At our clinic, you will have access to in-house medical support and treatment in case of need.

What Are the Effects of Meth Overdose?

Every time you use meth, you risk overdosing on this highly addictive substance. Overdosing can cause various extreme effects and, unfortunately, even death. Meth deeply affects every aspect of our bodies, from the brain and central nervous system to the blood vessels, heart, liver, skin, hair and nails. The following are some of the signs of a methamphetamine overdose, as logged by many charities and medical facilities around the UK:

  • Chest pain
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Severe agitation
  • Extreme heartbeat amplitudes
  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme blood pressure amplitudes
  • Extremely high body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Coma

The Dangers Of Producing Meth

an abandoned hut which resembles those used for rural meth labs

Meth is not just a danger to those using it; it is also dangerous for those producing it. Often, they are victims of societal bullying, the inevitability of local unemployment and poverty, and trafficking.
Meth is usually ‘cooked’ in homes or makeshift meth lab locations in abandoned buildings, within huts away from the big city or in old RVs and motorhomes. The process consists of synthesising the drug by combining highly-reactive products and isolating different elements from them. One such method is by importing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine in bulk powder. Another method is to obtain the same elements through extraction from pharmaceutical products or ephedra plants.

The most dangerous method for producing methamphetamine is the shake and bake, which involves manually shaking extremely reactive elements in an unsafe bottle until they mix and create the familiar crystalline powder. Effects of meth’s shake and bake production method include:

  • Headache, migraines
  • Eye infections
  • Breathing problems (asthma, coughs, runny nose)
  • Chemical burns
  • Disorientation, hallucinations, delusions
  • Irritability and anger management issues
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors and ticks
  • Coma
  • Death

The shake and bake (or one-pot) can create unforeseen situations such as an explosion within the bottle while being held, can emit chemical smoke and more, which will cause different side effects.

The fumes produced during methamphetamine production are highly toxic and flammable. Chemical explosions are not a rare occurrence. This is why it’s dangerous for the environment and local area if there are meth labs nearby. The toxic fumes will stay within the air for days, creating a potential fire hazard and raising the toxicity levels of the air in the region.

Get Help before the Symptoms of Meth Addiction Take Over

If you or a loved one are using meth, often fall into a meth binge or experience methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take your usual dose, you need to seek treatment. The Providence Project can help you: With our medically trained staff, constant supervision and dedicated mental health support staff, we can bring your current life to fruition and assist you in becoming a better, healthier version of yourself. When you complete your treatment with us, after completing your programme, you will leave the residential treatment centre with better coping mechanisms, working trigger management techniques, and cravings countermeasures in place. Call us today to discuss the admission process with one of our team.

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