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Methamphetamine, sometimes referred to by the name of its rock form, crystal meth, is a highly addictive drug. Smoking this drug has incredibly negative consequences for the user. Meth is a stimulant like amphetamines, but it affects your neurological system more severely than speed does.

How Do People Use Methamphetamine?

Although the euphoric effects of crystal meth are the main reason it is abused, other factors make the drug desirable. Your sense of confidence and well-being can both be improved by medicine. Users view it as a simple way to improve their energy levels and maintain their alertness throughout the day and night. [1]

Due to its impact on appetite, crystal meth is occasionally used to accelerate weight reduction, much like amphetamines. Although methamphetamine users view these effects as advantageous, the drug can also damage physical and mental health.

 

Is Smoking Meth the Same as Snorting It in Terms of Side Effects?

Many risks come with smoking or snorting meth. While some may inject the drug to abuse it, many also snort and smoke it. People might think they have a lower danger of addiction, overdose, or other negative outcomes from snorting meth because it has fewer strong effects than other drug methods, but this is untrue.

However, those who snort meth may have the following issues:

  • Damage to nasal tissues
  • Elevated heart rate
  • An increased amount of nosebleeds
  • Problem with sinuses

Meth smoking can be very harmful as well. Smoking provokes the drug to enter the bloodstream immediately, expediting the euphoric effects.

crystal meth

What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine Use?

The side effects of using meth come on quickly, even with short-term use. 

Long-term meth use can harm your health permanently. Therefore, you must stop using and seek help immediately if you or someone you know has been using meth and has started to exhibit the side effects below. 

  • Violent behavior
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Mood swings
  • Meth mouth and tooth decay
  • Dry mouth
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Disheveled appearance

Many people fall into the trap of attempting meth. Some even die from it. Avoid becoming trapped in an addictive cycle. Instead, visit a reputable, compassionate treatment center immediately to get the assistance you need for long-term recovery.

How Does Meth Use Affect the Brain?

Meth damages your brain in many ways. By increasing your dopamine levels, your brain might begin to decrease creating the chemical naturally, therefore relying on your next fix to make you feel pleasure. Here are a few other ways meth attacks the brain:

Kills Off Glial Cells

An important component of the central nervous system is glial cells. They are in charge of myelin cell development, infection resistance, and signaling abilities. Meth use harms and kills these cells across various brain regions, mainly in the prefrontal cortex. 

The ability to pay attention, think abstractly, form opinions, and make decisions depends on this brain area.

Acts As A Neurotoxin 

Glutamate calcium levels in the brain rise as a result of methamphetamine consumption. The neurotoxic effects of glutamate calcium will harm the neurons.

Communication between the neurons will be impaired if the dendrites are damaged. There will be several problems with both cognitive and motor functions as a result.

Fewer Myelin Cells 

White matter cells, also known as myelin cells, are crucial for interneuronal communication. The central nervous system‘s many fundamental processes are carried out by these cells. Glial cells, which produce myelin, are destroyed by methamphetamine.

How Long Does it Take for The Side Effects of Meth to Wear Off?

People frequently seek crystal meth Due to its enduring euphoric high. People usually get high from smoking or injecting crystal meth that can last up to 8 hours.

What are the Risk Factors for Meth Addiction?

Your risk factor for developing a dependence or addiction to meth varies depending on your circumstances. Although addiction does not discriminate based on class, race, or status, there are some reasons someone may be more likely to become addicted to meth. 

For instance, a family history of addiction may lead to a repeated drug abuse or dependence cycle. Sometimes the likelihood of becoming addicted to substances can be predicted by a person’s genes. 

People with mental health or personality disorders may become dependent on drugs because of the way they interact with their brain chemistry. In addition, other factors like peer pressure or lack of family support may put someone at risk of becoming addicted to substances like meth also. 

What are the Risks of Long-Term Use of Meth?

When a patient taking crystal meth becomes high, their brains are instantaneously changed, just like other drugs. However, the alterations don’t stop with the high. Meth use over time can alter your brain’s structure and function, leading to various mental health problems, including brain damage

Methamphetamine abuse is also linked to rapid weight loss and HIV/AIDS, causing the user to become underweight and, at times, suffer from anorexia. Other problems like memory loss are also prevalent in people who use meth long-term.

Misuse of methamphetamine increases the chance of getting HIV and hepatitis B and C, not just for those who inject the substance but also for those who do not. HIV and other infectious diseases are mainly disseminated among those struggling with meth use by sharing or reusing contaminated syringes, needles, or other accessory items.[2]

But regardless of how it is consumed, methamphetamine has potent effects that can impair inhibition and judgment and encourage dangerous activities like illegal actions and unprotected sex.

Meth Addiction Statistics: What You need to Know 

Methamphetamine addiction affects over 1.5 million people annually, with people as young as 12 abusing the drug.[3] This is a serious concern among adolescents and adults. Students are at risk of abusing meth, with some victims as young as 8th grade.[3]

Frequently Asked Questions About Smoking Crystal Meth

Below are answers to some of the most common questions regarding smoking crystal methamphetamine and meth abuse.

Can the Side Effects of Crystal Meth Be Fatal?

Using crystal meth can cause detriment to the body and, over time, lead to death. In addition, using too much of this drug at once can cause an overdose, which can also be fatal. 

Can You Recover From Meth Addiction on Your Own?

While a person can recover from meth addiction alone, it is highly unlikely. Cravings can be too much to handle on your own, resulting in relapse and sometimes even overdose. In addition, once addiction hooks a user, it is incredibly difficult to stop due to triggers and easy access to the drug.

The best course of action to recover from meth addiction is to seek medical attention through detox and then enter into long-term recovery treatment. The road to lasting recovery may not be easy, but the reward is well worth the effort. 

What Do You Do If You Find a Meth Lab?

If you find a meth lab, do not touch any of the materials lying around. Labs have been known to cause fires and are generally dangerous. Instead, contact your local police department or drug enforcement administration (DEA), and they will investigate using the proper precaution and procedures. 

What are the Treatment Options for Meth Addiction?

Numerous treatment interventions are available for meth addiction. One can be preferable to the other, depending on your addiction. It is crucial to inquire about each to decide which is best for you.

The most widely used forms of meth addiction treatment are inpatient and outpatient. Each provides benefits, but which one is most suitable depends on you and your individual needs. Meth users who are physically and mentally dependent on the drug must undergo detox to recover from the drug safely and, ideally, enter a long-term treatment program.

Overcome Addiction to Smoking Meth 

Facing your addiction problem can be a daunting process. Admitting to your friends and family may be difficult, and for many, that keeps them from seeking help. Don’t let this happen to you. Our team of professionals evaluates and treats patients without judgment.

At Ascendant, we’re here for you every step of the way. If you are struggling with an addiction to meth, contact us immediately to start treatment and create a brighter tomorrow.

Sources: 

  1. Radfar, S. R., & Rawson, R. A. (2014). Current research on Methamphetamine: Epidemiology, medical and psychiatric effects, treatment, and harm reduction efforts. Addiction & health. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354220/
  2. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2021, April 13). Are people who misuse methamphetamine at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/are-people-who-misuse-methamphetamine-risk-contracting-hivaids-hepatitis-b-c
  3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2022, December 21). What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States? National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 30, 2022, from https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-scope-methamphetamine-misuse-in-united-states

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, B.S.

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Epiphany Wellness, The Heights Treatment, Infinite Recovery, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed January 8, 2023