Methamphetamine or meth is one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs available today. This substance falls into the category of stimulants, which means it increases energy levels and elevates mood.
The “high” produced by meth is intense and short, increasing a person’s risk of addiction to the drug even after the very first use.
Meth comes in a white or brown powder that can be snorted, smoked or dissolved in water and injected. Crystal meth, characterized by its crystalline appearance, can be taken in a similar manner and is frequently found on the concert and party circuit. It is not unusual for users to “binge” on this drug, taking it over and over to maintain the high until they become too incapacitated to continue.
In the short-term, the effects of meth mimic those of cocaine. Users experience a rush of euphoria, elevated mood and increased energy. The drug also leads to increase heart rate, elevated blood pressure and increased respiration. Meth decreases appetite and users often stay awake for long stretches of time, before crashing and sleeping, sometimes for a number of days.When meth is used over an extended period of time, the effects can be very destructive. Decreased appetite can lead to weight loss and malnutrition in some users. The drug can also cause dental problems. Meth users often have the sense that bugs are crawling under their skin, prompting them to scratch and pick at the arms and legs. This can lead to skin sores, infections and scarring. Repeated use of meth also leads to severe mood swings, paranoia and hostility in some users.
Are You Addicted?
Meth is a highly addictive drug that hooks some users even the first time they try it. Signs of meth addiction might include:
Skin sores or regularly wearing long pants and sleeves to hide skin damage
Tolerance – needing more of the drug to get the same effects
Paranoia, hallucinations and psychosis
Withdrawal symptoms if the drug is suddenly stopped
Changes to brain function and brain damage that may be permanent
Spending more time getting, using and recovering from the drug