Meth, or methamphetamine, is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant. It’s currently a Schedule II drug, which means it has a valid medical use, but also a high potential for abuse. This is especially true if a person is snorting meth.
A few of the most severe dangers associated with snorting meth can include:
- new or worsening mental illnesses
- serotonin syndrome
- extreme weight loss
- severe dental problems
- changes in brain structure and function
The risk of overdose is another serious potential danger of methamphetamine use and abuse.
Dangers And Risks Of Snorting Meth
Methamphetamine hydrochloride tablets may be prescribed by doctors in the United States to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and some forms of obesity.
Still, if meth is snorted or abused in any way, it may easily lead to addiction and other potentially life-threatening risks. Illicit forms of meth may be snorted (powder form) or smoked (solid form, or crystal meth).
Snorting and smoking meth each carry their own set of side effects, as well as general side effects of meth drug use.
In addition to the dangers listed above, snorting meth may also cause:
- damage to the nasal cavity
- sinus infections
- septum perforation
- high blood pressure
- high body temperature
- an increased or irregular heartbeat
- an increased risk of addiction
- respiratory system depression
People who have been abusing meth for a long time or who may be mixing meth with other drugs could be at a higher risk for these side effects.
What Makes Meth Addictive?
Meth is highly addictive, especially if it’s smoked, snorted, or injected.
When a person abuses meth, they experience an increased amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine deals with our body’s reward system and feelings of pleasure, which is one reason why meth can be addictive.
People who are abusing meth are most likely doing so to get the intense rush of short-term effects. Like many stimulants, such as cocaine or amphetamines, users may experience increased wakefulness, energy, and feelings of euphoria.
When a person stops meth use, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that could include:
- intense cravings for the drug
A person may develop a physical dependence on meth or build a tolerance to the drug’s effects with multiple uses. Because of this, a person may use more of the drug or use it more frequently to keep feeling the pleasurable effects and to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal.
Risk Of Meth Overdose
A meth overdose occurs when a person takes too much of the drug and experiences serious, harmful symptoms that can be life-threatening. Snorting meth increases a person’s risk for overdose.
Unfortunately, about 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths in 2017 involved drugs in the methamphetamine category.
Signs of a meth overdose may include:
- increased physical activity
- rapid breathing
- violent behavior
- panic states
- high body temperature
- increased blood pressure
- increased heart rate
Death from a meth overdose can occur due to a stroke, heart attack, or multiple organ problems caused by overheating.
If you suspect a meth overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222 or call emergency services at 911 immediately.
Other Risks Of Meth Abuse
In addition to the risk of addiction and overdose, meth abuse can also cause less severe side effects even after taking it only once or taking a small amount.
Other risks of meth abuse may include:
- intense itching, leading to skin sores
- memory loss
- sleeping problems
The effects of methamphetamine may depend on how a person takes meth, there could be additional risks. After snorting meth for a long time, a person may begin to experience a loss of smell, nosebleeds, and permanent damage to the nose.
Effects On The Brain And Body
Meth abuse can lead to severe and irreversible changes in how a person’s brain works as well as permanent damage to the body.
In addition to altering the brain’s natural reward system, a 2014 study showed that methamphetamine use may permanently alter the brain structures responsible for decision-making.
Researchers have also reported that up to 50 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged after extended use. Nerve cells that contain serotonin may be damaged even worse.
Long-term effects of meth abuse on the body and mind may include:
- violent behavior
- visual and auditory hallucinations
- mood swings
- physical delusions
- “meth mouth”, a condition that causes sores and dental erosion
- homicidal or suicidal thoughts
Polysubstance Abuse Mixing Meth With Other Drugs
Many people who struggle with a substance use disorder may mix drugs to get a certain desired effect. Unfortunately, polysubstance abuse is common among people who are addicted to stimulants like meth.
Central nervous system stimulants are often taken alongside alcohol or opioids, and either of these combinations can have life-threatening effects.
In fact, 50 percent of methamphetamine-related overdoses in 2017 also involved an opioid. In half of those cases, it was the synthetic opioid, fentanyl.
Alternatively, taking a stimulant (like meth) with a depressant (like alcohol) can lead a person to take higher doses of one substance or the other. This can easily lead to an unintentional overdose.
Signs And Symptoms Of Methamphetamine Abuse
The most common signs of meth abuse can include:
- decreased sociability
- reduced appetite/weight loss
- dental problems
- mood swings
- skin sores
- loss of interest in hobbies
If you’ve noticed these symptoms in yourself or a loved one, reach out to a treatment specialist today to talk about treatment options.
Treatment Options For Meth Addiction
There are a variety of treatment options available for people who may be snorting meth or abusing stimulants in other ways. Methamphetamine addiction can be treated with inpatient programs and outpatient programs.
Inpatient treatment is more immersive. A person who chooses this type of treatment will typically go to a treatment facility or detox center and stay full-time while they receive treatment. Generally, this is the most effective treatment option for people who are abusing meth.
Still, work, families, or other obligations may make it impossible for a person to participate in inpatient treatment programs. Alternatively, outpatient programs are available.
With outpatient treatment, people will visit a treatment center several times weekly in order to receive support and resources.
No matter which treatment option a person chooses, meth addiction treatment may include:
Treatments for people who struggle with use of methamphetamine may include:
- individual or group therapy
- behavioral counseling
- motivational incentives
- evaluation and treatment for other mental health illnesses
- long-term follow-up appointments to prevent relapse
Get Help For A Meth Addiction Today
When a person decides to stop abusing meth, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that could be life-threatening. For this reason, it’s best to contact an addiction treatment specialist or healthcare provider to determine the best course for a successful recovery.
If you or a loved one may be having problems with meth addiction, stimulant abuse, or any type of substance use disorder, don’t put off getting help. Contact an AddictionResource.net treatment specialist today to find the right treatment center and program.Article Sources
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science—Drugs, Brains, And Behavior: The Science Of Addiction
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science—Methamphetamine DrugFacts
- National Institute On Drug Abuse: Advancing Addiction Science—Methamphetamine Research Report
- U.S. Department Of Justice: Drug Enforcement Administration—Drugs Of Abuse
- U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA)—Desoxyn (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride)
- U.S. National Library Of Medicine: MedlinePlus—Methamphetamine