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Methamphetamine, also referred to as meth, is an extremely potent central nervous system stimulant. Meth is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which is defined as a drug “with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” Meth is available in two forms. Crystal methamphetamine is a solid form and is reported to look like ice or pieces of glass. This form is usually melted and then smoked out of a glass pipe. In the crystalline powder form, methamphetamine is typically a white powder, though it can come in other colors such as brown, yellow-gray, orange and even pink. Occasionally the powder can be compressed into a pill form and ingested orally. Individuals can snort the powder and/ or inject it intravenously. The straight powder is reported to be easily dissolvable in liquid, odorless and bitter tasting. Though available in different forms, both types usually yield the same effects for the user. Meth works with one’s brain to simultaneously increase one’s dopamine levels and also decrease one’s serotonin levels. This combination creates a rush feeling for the user. The effects of methamphetamine use usually subside within six to eight hours after ingestion, but can last up to twenty-four hours. It is not uncommon for meth users to develop dependence as when initially ingested it causes rush of feelings of false confidence, euphoria, and excess energy. 

Signs and Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms that could be exhibited by an individual using meth. A user could display any combination of the following examples, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Lack of personal hygiene 
  • Obsessive hair or skin picking
  • Dialed pupils
  • Facial tics
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Twitching
  • Constant talking
  • Constantly borrowing money
  • Stealing 
  • Staying awake for days or even weeks on end
  • Angry outbursts
  • Hallucinations

Every individual is different and will exhibit a unique set of signs and symptoms when it comes to meth abuse. Prolonged meth abuse can exponentially increase an individual’s risk of overdose. 

Cardiovascular Complications

Methamphetamine abuse can cause a variety of cardiovascular problems. According to the American Heart Association, these could include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stroke-producing brain damage that can be irreversible 
  • Hyperthermia

Convulsions have also been reported to occur with methamphetamine overdoses, and if not treated immediately, can result in death. Another complication that could arise from meth abuse is acute lead poisoning. This can occur for users due to the fact that a common method of illegal methamphetamine production utilizes lead acetate as a chemical reagent. Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous drug that can have life-long effects on one’s brain.

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to substance abuse and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcome to contact us anytime via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.