What is Meth Addiction?
Methamphetamine (meth) is a potent chemical that will poison and destroy the body of those who smoke, snort, ingest or inject the drug. Smoking and ingesting provide the fastest delivery of meth to the brain, making addiction more likely.
How is meth made?
Meth is manufactured with a number of different chemicals, including ephedrine or pseudoephedrine with other components like alcohol, cold tablets or lithium batteries. The very production of the drug is extremely dangerous, often resulting in fire or explosion. The laboratories producing the drug are illegal and hidden.
How does meth feel?
The highly addictive substance, also known as chalk, crank, crystal, glass, ice and speed, is easy to get, affects the central nervous system. Its lasting high makes users feel energetic and euphoric…while under its influence. The effects of meth are similar to that of cocaine, but are more severe and last longer. Effects of meth can last from between six to eight hours all the way up to 24 hours. A small amount acts as a stimulant, with more slowing the user down, and a large amount being potentially fatal.
Meth addiction will cause problems with users’ health and relationships, ruining lives and breaking families apart. The depths of dependence on the drug are devastating, and can occur after just a single use.
The Meth Cycle
The cycle of meth use features six stages: the rush; the high; the binge, a period of uncontrolled use where more of the drug is needed to keep the high going; a period of “tweaking” following the binge, when the rush and high from the drug are gone, accompanied by intense itching, hallucinations and sleeplessness; the crash, where the body shuts down for a day (or three); the meth hangover, which lasts 2-14 days, and withdrawal. The vicious cycle will repeat itself among meth addicts above all other activity.
Meth Use Symptoms
Among the serious health conditions, both short- and long-term, meth addiction can bring on:
- Body sores
- Brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s diseases
- Digestive problems
- Erratic/violent behavior
- Heart attack
- Increased heart rate
- Lung tumors (from smoking meth)
- Memory loss
- “Meth mouth” – cracked, chipped, rotting teeth, along with tooth and gum decay and gum disease.
- Psychotic behavior
- Potential heart and brain damage
- Skin infections
- Sleep disturbances
- Weight loss
How might you recognize a meth addict? You may notice track marks on those who inject the drug. Other telltale signs are body odor, dilated pupils, eye twitching, hyperactivity, itchy skin, mood changes and repetitious behavior.
Meth Can Have Long Lasting Effects
If a meth addict abstains from using the drug for a two-year period, many negative physical signs of abuse, such as motor function and verbal memory may be reversed. Some neurological aspects of prolonged use, however, may never turn around.
The best defense against meth addiction is to never try the controlling substance.