Most of the time, when you choose a path in life, you can easily choose another path at any time. That is rarely the case with addiction, because addiction is a path that requires much effort to leave behind. One of the most difficult paths to leave behind is the path of meth addiction. Not only is it one of the more addictive drugs, but the side effects can be deadly.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Stimulants produce increased energy and alertness. For example, caffeine is a stimulant. But meth can also produce a high that is often incredibly intense, even if it only lasts a little while. If you are struggling with anything, the opportunity to escape can obviously seem appealing if you are not aware of the consequences. For example, what goes up must come down, and crashing after a meth high can be as miserable as the high was good.
Meth is also called speed, blue, ice, crystal meth, and more, and it can appeal to people because there are so many different ways to ingest it. There is a pill form, it can be smoked in both powder and crystal forms, snorted in powder form, and can also be injected by dissolving the powder in water or alcohol. Obviously, every method has risks, but drugs involving needles have the added risks of infections like HIV and hepatitis B and C due to needle sharing, as well as related behaviors that increase your health risks.
Methamphetamine is actually sometimes prescribed for the treatment of ADHD, which is reasonably safe under the care of a doctor, as the dosage is very low and always closely monitored. The effect of a prescribed stimulant on someone with ADHD is usually the opposite, it is usually calming or can even work like a sedative. However, in larger doses or in people who don’t have ADHD, it can produce anything from increased energy or alertness to that extreme high. Some people will originally take meth to be able to pull an all-nighter for school or work or some other seemingly innocent purpose. However, meth is so addictive that even after only one use, it can create intense cravings and even powerful addiction.
Stimulants increase the activity in your cardiovascular system. Meth can increase your blood pressure, the temperature of your body, and make your heart race and your breathing more rapid, too. This is incredibly dangerous, and there are those who have died after only using meth once.
Those are not the only short-term risks of using meth, however. Meth can disrupt your sleep to the point of not being able to sleep at all for extended periods of time, to sleeping around the clock when you crash. Meth is also infamous for decreasing your appetite, and also for causing extreme nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Obviously, overdose is a risk any time and every single time you use a drug like methamphetamine.
Dangers Down the Road
If the short-term side effects of meth sound unappealing, it gets much worse. Using meth longer can create cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, leading to heart attacks, strokes, and even death. Meth can also cause irreversible damage to your liver and kidneys. Not just when you are old, meth causes physical damage to your body that puts you at risk for things that most young people don’t have to worry about.
Methamphetamine also causes intense itching, so you can get skin sores from scratching too much. You can also lose an extreme amount of weight from using meth, which is why the gaunt skin-and-bones look is associated with meth users. Meth also causes excessive damage to your teeth. Just do a search for “meth mouth.” The price you can pay to get high can be really ugly.
If that is not enough, meth changes your behavior. While in your system, the drug can create anxiety, confusion, memory loss, and insomnia. You can also have psychotic symptoms like aggression and violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and mood changes. These psychotic effects can actually last for months or even years after you have stopped using meth.
Also permanent can be the damage that methamphetamine use can cause to your brain, particularly the dopamine system. Other damage can cause reduced coordination, impaired verbal skills, memory, and even emotional issues.
These short and long-term side effects can be devastating. At some point, you might decide enough is enough. However, meth has extreme withdrawal symptoms as well, making it one of the more difficult to stop. Symptoms during detox include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, and intense cravings. Combined with the overall addictive nature, the best way to change course from meth use is to steer clear of it in the first place.
Addiction is not pretty. But the path of meth addiction is really, really ugly. The highs may be really intense, but they are very short-lived. The side effects can last forever, or even cost you your life. The drug is so incredibly addictive that you may lose your control over your choices after one use. On a risk/benefit scale, it is really difficult to understand why someone would take the risk, unless they didn’t know what they were risking. But now you do. Don’t step onto the path of meth addiction. Your first step could be your last.
Change your path before it merges with the path of meth addiction. Call Embark Behavioral Health 1-855-809-0409 today. Some paths were never meant to be taken.