Table of Contents
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a powerful, stimulating substance that increases dopamine levels in the brain and affects the central nervous system. Smoking meth is one of the most common ways to use this drug.1
What Does Meth Look Like?
Meth looks like a shiny, crystalline powder or glass-like shards that are usually white, clear, or yellow in color. This color can vary and can sometimes appear brown, orange, or pink. Meth can also be consumed in the form of pill capsules.1
Meth vs. Crystal Meth
The difference between meth and crystal meth can be found in the purity and potency of the substance. Crystal meth is more potent and a more distilled version of traditional meth. Meth usually comes in a powder or pill form, while crystal meth is found in glass-like shards or crystallized rocks.
Is Meth Addictive?
Yes, meth and crystal meth are both extremely addictive. Because meth is such a powerful and stimulating substance, it is easy for the body to become physically and psychologically dependent.
How is Meth Used?
Methamphetamine can be used by snorting, injecting, or smoking the substance to obtain a high.
Snorting meth can be very damaging to the sinuses within the nose. People who snort meth do so with the intention of the substance being absorbed by the mucus membranes.
Injecting meth can significantly increase the risks of bloodborne diseases or infection at the injection site. When injecting meth, the substance is immediately absorbed within the bloodstream.
Smoking meth is the method that is most likely going to lead to meth addiction. Any inhalation of smoke can damage the mouth, throat, and lungs, but meth can do even further damage, leading to sores, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Signs of Meth Use
Several signs make it clear somebody is consuming meth or addicted to meth.
- Meth mouth: Meth mouth is a word referring to the negative dental impacts from meth addiction or abuse. Tooth decay and loss of teeth are common signs of meth mouth.
- Meth sores: Meth sores are open wounds on the skin caused by poor skin health, picking, and scratching.
What Does Meth Smell Like?
Meth typically smells like ammonia or vinegar. Certain types can have an odor like cat urine, rotten eggs, or glass cleaner. When smoked, the smell is lighter, with a hint of sweetness.
Why are Meth Sores Formed?
Meth sores can be induced by a meth high in several different ways:
Meth can trigger itching in those who use it. Because the drug is so stimulating, it can cause fidgeting and excess scratching of itches that lead to open sores.
Hallucination Induced Scratching
Hallucination-induced scratching is a common effect of frequently consuming meth.
Meth mites is a term used to refer to hallucination-induced scratching caused by meth. Users of meth may feel their skin crawling, as if there were bugs or mites beneath it, leading to excessive scratching and skin picking.
Limited Blood Flow
The limited blood flow related to meth consumption can cause acne. This issue is due to damaged blood vessels from meth use and increased toxins within the body being released through the pores.
What is Meth Mouth?
Meth mouth is the adverse effects meth has on a person’s mouth and dental health. Typically, meth mouth can be identified by tooth decay, sores in and around the mouth, and gum diseases. Clenching and grinding of the teeth caused by meth can add to the destruction caused by meth mouth.
- Poor dental hygiene: Becoming dependent on methamphetamine can lead to poor dental hygiene and care habits. It is one of the leading causes of meth mouth and meth teeth, alongside the acidic chemicals within the meth causing damage to the teeth and gums.
- Dry mouth: Meth consumption can lead to dehydration and an overall dry mouth. Having a dry mouth can exacerbate sores and irritate meth mouth symptoms.
Dangers of Smoking Meth
There are many dangers involved with smoking meth that can have both short-term and long-term effects on the body.
The short-term effects of smoking meth include but are not limited to:2
- A feeling of being high
- Increased physical activity and energy
- Increased respiration
- Elevated body temperature
- Loss of appetite
- Increased heart rate
The long-term effects of smoking meth include but are not limited to:2
- Acute vision loss
- Psychotic behavior
- Memory loss
- Corneal ulcers
- Brain damage
- Breathing problems
- Severe tooth damage
- Irregular heartbeat
- Violent episodes
The increased dopamine caused by meth use can cause imbalances in the brain, leading to dramatic mood swings and meth psychosis.3
Meth psychosis can include schizophrenia, hallucinations, delusions, and violent or unpredictable behavior. People experiencing meth psychosis may behave erratically and become extremely paranoid.4
- Chest pain
- Trouble breathing
- High or low blood pressure
- High body temperature
- Kidney failure
- Intense stomach pain
- Aggressive behavior
- A loss of consciousness
When a person is overdosing on methamphetamine, seek medical attention immediately, or it may result in death.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal include but are not limited to:6
- Muscle pain and spasms
- Loss of appetite
- Intense cravings
Gabapentin withdrawal typically begins one day after the last dosage. The withdrawal can have effects lasting up to four weeks, but the intense detoxification process usually lasts through the first seventy-two hours.
How to Quit Smoking Meth?
To quit smoking methamphetamine, it is necessary to seek medical attention and support.
Detox in an inpatient environment with medical professionals is essential to the recovery process. Attempting to detox without medical help can be dangerous and potentially deadly.
Inpatient treatment can help a person sustain their sobriety for the weeks and months following the detoxification process. Long-term inpatient care can be helpful to severe addiction cases. Staying at an inpatient treatment center is the best way to avoid relapse due to cravings.
Outpatient programs can help hold people accountable and reduce the risk of relapse. Attending an outpatient person can help give a person the tools they need to recover.
Therapy can help address the underlying causes of methamphetamine addiction. By addressing these issues, people recovering from meth addiction can find long-term sobriety.