As a result, meth is commonly taken in a binge pattern, often called a “run,” where small amounts of meth are taken every few hours for a couple days to prolong the high. This pattern of abuse can more quickly lead to drug dependence and addiction. Physically, meth addiction can lead to irreversible damage to the brain and other areas of the body. Those who abuse meth are at an increased risk of having a heart attack or a stroke as a direct result of their drug abuse. If someone you love is abusing or addicted to meth, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist to learn about our drug abuse and addiction treatment centers.

«Tweaking» occurs when the body and mind of the meth addict stop reacting to the drug, and the addict «enters a state that is almost psychotic,» according to Methamphetamine Addiction. By the 1950s, amphetamine, marketed as Benzedrine, was widely used to treat asthma, hayfever and colds. During the Vietnam War, amphetamine, nicknamed «pep pills,» was issued to American soldiers to «increase alertness» during lengthy jungle expeditions.

Treating the Effects of Meth

Here’s what to look for if you think you or a loved one might be suffering from meth addiction. While meth overdose rates may not seem as intimidating as those related to opioid overdoses, the long-term health problems caused by meth often result in deaths that are not counted toward the overdose death toll. For instance, death caused by meth use is normally characterized by stroke, heart attack, and gradual organ failure. Since these events can also be caused by common risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and genetics, sometimes meth use isn’t always taken into consideration when determining the cause of death. But drug overdoses — including those caused by meth — continue to be a major public health concern, as there were more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths across the U.S. in 2016. One of the first symptoms of Meth abuse is a sudden loss of interest in areas of life that were once important to the person.

You can only get it from your doctor, but it’s not used very much. The chances you’ll take too much meth are higher if you inject meth, but harmful or life-threatening health problems can happen no matter what method you use. Scars can form in your veins when you put drugs into them with needles. You may also get bruises around the injection sites or have trouble with blood flow through injured veins. You may grind your teeth, get dry mouth, or skip good dental hygiene practices when you use meth. People who frequently use meth often have teeth that break, turn black, rot, or fall out.

Long-Term Effects and Risk of Meth

However, regular or repeated use usually leads to meth addiction. The drug changes how the brain works, making it nearly impossible for people who are addicted to stop using meth without medical intervention. The side effects of meth can ruin a person’s high and cause a range of health problems. There are some tell-tale signs of meth addiction that you may be able to spot right away or which may become more prevalent as time goes on. Unless you or someone you love has been addicted to meth and you have lived in a world of hell that meth addiction causes, it is difficult to grasp the magnitude of the struggle caused by meth fully. Crystal meth addiction leads to some of the most severe consequences of any other drug on the market or on the streets today.

CBT helps meth addicts identify, cope with, and avoid situations that could influence them to use meth, while motivational incentives encourage patients to stay drug-free using prizes like vouchers and cash rewards. Meth patients who are also diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders may be prescribed medications to manage and relieve their symptoms. Meth addiction is often treated using a medical meth addiction or medically assisted detox combined with therapies that treat psychological symptoms of meth addiction. Those in recovery from meth addiction often suffer anxiety, depression, and drug cravings, and may tend to sleep a lot and binge-eat to cope with their symptoms. If someone you know is exhibiting signs of Meth abuse, it’s essential that you communicate the importance of getting professional help.

Worried About Someone Using Crystal Meth? Here’s What to Do (and What to Avoid)

The medically correct term for drug addiction is substance use disorder (SUD). However, it is important to note that although meth use does physically alter the brain, there is a difference between physical dependence and addiction. Meth is highly addictive and can be difficult to stop using without professional help and support. The longer a person uses meth, the more serious their health problems will become as the drug continues damaging major organs.

  • In 2014 there were about 569,000 Americans who reported using meth in the previous month — a 29% increase from 2012 when only 440,000 people reported using this illicit stimulant.
  • Many people that cook Meth suffer from severe health problems, including asthma, insomnia, tremor, and delusions.
  • Saliva contains antibacterial properties that naturally help maintain your oral hygiene, but dry mouth leads to less saliva, and heightened exposure to harmful bacteria.
  • Snorting or orally ingesting meth creates a high without the rush.
  • Toward the end of a meth binge, they won’t be able to achieve the pleasant high they felt at the beginning.

Meth users may see disturbing images and people who aren’t there, hear phantom sounds and voices, and smell odors that don’t exist. Many times, open sores on meth addicts are caused by hallucinations of bugs crawling under the skin. Severe itching is a common side effect of meth use, which can lead to relentless scratching and a number of huge, red, open sores. The chemicals in meth can dry out one’s skin and also induce hallucinations that make users think there are bugs crawling beneath their skin. Open sores that won’t go away or that become infected is a common sign of meth addiction.

Meth use symptoms

This means that a chronic long-term methamphetamine user will not be able to feel pleasure without the use of methamphetamine. Research suggests that these pleasure centers can heal over time, however, the damage to the cognitive abilities of the user may be permanent. If snorting the drug in crystal meth form, the high will come on in three to five minutes; if swallowing methamphetamine, it can take 15 to 20 minutes. The drug’s effects can last anywhere from six to 12 hours, which can lead people to continue using to keep the high going. Users who binge on crystal meth can stay awake for as long as 10 days, often subsisting with very little food or drink. The drug also makes dramatic changes to your brain structure in a very short time, which can lead you to keep using it despite any negative consequences on your life, health, and relationships.

meth addiction symptoms