What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive central nervous system (CNS) stimulant made from amphetamine and other drugs. Commonly referred to as “meth,” it can be prescribed to treat obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Developed in the early 20th century, methamphetamine was used as a nasal decongestant in cold medications and bronchial inhalers. Its stimulant effects resulted in decreased appetite, increased activity, and a general sense of pleasure,
When it was realized that use involved an increased risk for drug abuse and meth addiction, the drug was classified as a Schedule II stimulant, legally available only for small, non-refillable prescription doses.
How Does It Affect the Central Nervous System?
Methamphetamine is similar to other stimulants in how it affects the CNS. Consumption results in large releases of the neurotransmitter dopamine (as well as nerve cells containing serotonin) and norepinephrine, which lead to several powerful euphoric effects, feelings of invulnerability, increases in energy, and other psychoactive effects.
Because meth is often made with other potentially toxic, such as drain cleaner, battery acid, or antifreeze, it is highly combustible and dangerous to make or use.
How Long Does Methamphetamine Stay in The System?
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that methamphetamine can be found in urine for anywhere from four days to a week after drug use and in the blood for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Methamphetamine can be found in hair for up to 90 days or longer after use.
Is Crystal Meth the Same as Methamphetamine?
Crystal methamphetamine, aka crystal meth, is an illegally altered version of methamphetamine. Over-the-counter drugs are cooked with the drug in methamphetamine labs and the result resembles glass fragments–shiny blue-white rock or clear crystal chunks. Also called “glass” or “ice,” it is a popular party drug.
Crystal methamphetamine is typically smoked from a glass pipe. Other forms of the drug, including pills, can also be smoked.
Methamphetamine Use and Side Effects
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine, even in small amounts, results in many of the same health effects as amphetamines or cocaine.
Meth effects include
- Decreased appetite
- Increased wakefulness and obsessive physical activity
- Mood swings or outbursts, including violent behavior or aggression
- Psychosis/psychotic episodes
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate, and risk of stroke; irregular heartbeat
- Increased sensitivity to noise
- Convulsions or tremors
- Nervous activity, like picking at the skin or scratching
- Dizziness, irritability, or confusion
- Incessant itching
- Chronic fatigue
- Risk of sexually transmitted disease
- Dry mouth
- “Meth mouth”
- Rapid eye movement
- Dilated pupils
Meth Mouth, a ‘Dental Nightmare’
Meth mouth results from poor dental health hygiene that typically occurs when someone is addicted to methamphetamines.
The American Dental Association says meth mouth–“a dentist’s worst nightmare”–is caused by extended periods of poor oral hygiene, and physiological and psychological changes resulting in dry mouth, teeth grinding and clenching, and frequent consumption of high-calorie carbonated beverages.
This tooth decay and loss is one of the most apparent changes that occur when someone abuses meth. Others include skin damage from shooting methamphetamine and gaunt facial features.
Meth’s adverse effects on the heart, blood flow, and the central nervous system can lead to a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, seizures, and life-threatening overdose.
When meth is mixed with drugs such as alcohol or cocaine, the likelihood of an adverse reaction and overdose is greatly increased. Long-term Meth use can cause significant damage to the brain and the cells that make dopamine, leading to impaired decision making.
About two million people 12 and older in the U.S. take meth annually, while about 500 people try it for the first time each day, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Abrupt cessation of methamphetamine use can result in unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as the following.
Symptoms of Withdrawal
- Lethargy, excessive sleepiness, and fatigue
- Increased appetite, dry mouth, and episodes of jitteriness
- Apathy, depression, feelings of hopelessness, and thoughts of suicide
- Extreme cravings for more meth
- Psychotic symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia
Toxic effects of long-term methamphetamine use, even in small doses, include emotional problems or violent behavior.
Where is Methamphetamine Made?
We don’t live in a drug-free world and most of methamphetamine production has moved to Mexico to avoid U. S. legal restrictions. Transactional criminal organizations (TCOs) there produce a methamphetamine that is very potent, pure, and cheap.
Crystal methamphetamine, however, can be easily produced in small clandestine laboratories in the U.S. It is made from inexpensive over-the-counter substances such as pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient found in cold medicine.
To curb domestic production of crystal meth, the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA ) requires pharmacies and other retailers to keep a purchase record of products containing pseudoephedrine and take other steps to limit the sales of these products.
Street Names for Methamphetamine
- Redneck cocaine
Meth-involved overdose fatalities almost tripled in the U.S. from 2015 to 2019, according to a study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, part of the National Institutes of Health.
Growth in higher-risk patterns of methamphetamine use–such as rises in methamphetamine use disorder, frequent use, and use of other drugs simultaneously–may contribute to the rise in overdose fatalities.
What Role Does Body Temperature Play in Meth Overdoses?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and University of Arizona’s Methamphetamine and Other Illicit Drug Education (MethOIDE), many meth-related deaths result from heatstroke leading to multiple organ failure.
A meth overdose can also cause liver failure, an abrupt rise in blood pressure that leads to a hemorrhage, or (in very rare cases) lead poisoning from contaminants in the illicit drug.
Methamphetamine and Drug Abuse
Methamphetamine substance abuse results when a user becomes dependent on the drug. Long-term use makes them feel “normal” only when taking the drug.
Physical indicators and dangers the National Institute on Drug Abuse associates with meth abuse include:
- Thinning, frail body
- Droopy quality to the facial skin
- Facial acne or sores
- Rotted teeth
- Increased libido
- Dramatic body temperature increase
- Intense scratching
- Liver damage
Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment
The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction, says the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are behavioral therapies.
Comprehensive behavioral treatments that include behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and promotion of sober activities are proven effective in reducing methamphetamine and other drug or alcohol misuse, according to NIDA.
La Hacienda Treatment Center has been successfully caring for people suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism for 50 years with this type of treatment.
La Hacienda Treatment Center
We care for each patient as a man or woman with unique issues deserving of an individualized treatment plan that includes medically supervised detoxification, and individual, group and family counseling.
Our on-campus board-certified addiction treatment physicians meet daily with patients and provide medical advice throughout their treatment at La Hacienda.
Our Addiction Treatment Principles
- Chemical dependency is a treatable disease of the body, mind, and spirit.
- Alcoholics and drug addicts can recover from the obsession to use.
- Recovery is an ongoing process, and a strong foundation is built in treatment through working the 12 Steps.
- Successful recovery for a chemically dependent patient requires total abstinence from all mood/mind altering chemicals unless competently prescribed.
- A team approach is necessary for meeting our patients’ physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs.
Help is a Phone Call Away
If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one, phone (800) 749-6160 and talk with one of our caring, onsite admission specialists. Even if they determine another program best fits your situation, they will help you find it through a network of addiction treatment professionals.
A meth lab is an illegal drug-manufacturing facility with the materials needed to produce methamphetamine. Mobile meth labs are used to move production to secluded locations where the strong, toxic fumes of methamphetamine manufacture will not be detected.
What is Dextroamphetamine?
Dextroamphetamine (D-AMP) is a CNS stimulant prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. It affects chemicals in the brain structure and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.
What is Huffing?
Huffing involves inhaling (or “huffing”) the fumes from common household products, such as paint, glue, or cleaning products. It has become a widespread practice among teenagers, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse
Evekeo (amphetamine sulfate) is a brand name for a short-acting, immediate-release, stimulant medication primarily used to treat ADHD.