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Methamphetamine is a powerful street drug that produces a stimulant effect on the central nervous system. Taken excessively for recreational purposes, methamphetamine use can cause serious consequences including overdose, psychosis and even death. Methamphetamine abuse should be avoided at all costs but, unfortunately, it is a widespread problem throughout the United States.
Methods of Methamphetamine Abuse
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, “methamphetamine can be taken orally, by intravenous injection, by smoking, or by snorting.” The method of administration plays a key role in the powerful effects of the drug as smoking or injecting seem to produce a greater rush than snorting or ingesting the drug. The intensity of the rush and the length of time that the high lasts varies depending on the purity of the drug, the method of administration and various other factors.
Generally, the intense euphoric rush that occurs with methamphetamine abuse lasts somewhere between 5 and 30 minutes, after which the user will feel an array of side effects for a period of up to 12 hours. These effects may include:
- reduced appetite
- increased energy
- heightened sense of well-being
- exuberant sense of alertness
Dangers of Methamphetamine Abuse
The greatest danger that arises from the use of methamphetamine is death which can occur as a result of heart attack or stroke that happens after just a single dose of the drug. The effects of methamphetamine abuse appear to cause significant problems to the users brain, body and mental health status. According to Harvard Health, some of the most profound or common dangers of methamphetamine abuse include:
- irritability and aggressive behavior
- anxiety and depression
- inability to cope with everyday situations or problems
- hallucinations and delusions
- heart attack
- physical dependence
- disease resulting from shared needles or unsafe sex
- nerve and neurological damage
- chronic apathy
Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse
Several indications can help you to identify if someone you know might be abusing methamphetamine. The signs of meth abuse range from anxiety and insomnia to extreme violence and psychotic behavior. Such behaviors, that are atypical for the average person, are just some of the starting signs that there could be a problem with methamphetamine abuse. Additional signs of meth abuse include:
- pale or pasty complexion
- sores on the skin from picking
- auditory hallucinations
- visual hallucinations
- changes in friends or groups that the user spends time with
- changes in sleep patterns, staying awake for days at a time in some cases
- behaving oddly or acting irrationally
- burns on the lips, fingers or hands from the glass pipe that methamphetamine is smoked out of
- infections or sores at the injection site
- track or needle marks on the arms, legs, neck or other ares of the body
- wearing long sleeves in hot weather to cover up sores or track marks on the body
- poor hygiene and lacking care for one’s self
- anxiety or jitters
- erratic behavior
- erratic thought processes
These are just some of the possible signs that someone you know might be abusing methamphetamine.
Am I Addicted?
Methamphetamine abuse often turns into an addiction which requires professional treatment and help in order to facilitate recovery. Are you a meth user? Do you think that you might be addicted? Consider these signs that you may be suffering from an addiction to methamphetamine:
- You cannot imagine your life without methamphetamine
- You have tried to quit using methamphetamine but you always seem to resort back to previous patterns of drug use
- You have promised your loved ones that you would stop using but you haven’t done so
- You know that meth is ruining your life, but you continue to use it anyway
- You feel sick, irritable or otherwise upset when you aren’t using methamphetamine
- You have been in legal trouble as a result of your methamphetamine abuse yet you continue to use the drug
If any of these signs of meth addiction are present in your life or in the life of someone you care about, consider seeking help right away. There are a number of treatment options available to assist people who have crossed the line from methamphetamine abuse over to a full fledged case of meth addiction—and you’re not alone in your fight!