Methamphetamine, or meth, is a type of highly addictive stimulant. It works to speed up the function of the central nervous system, creating a high. There is no level of safe meth use. It is illicitly manufactured and sold. Yet, those who are using it may find themselves unable to stop using it on their own. Because this drug can cause addiction and dependence, it’s critical to understand how this drug impacts the brain.
How Meth Works
Using meth creates changes in the way the brain functions, often causing a number of potential complications. It works much like other stimulants in that it causes the brain to work faster and harder. This often leads to an increase in breathing and heart rates. It can boost energy and create feelings of euphoria.
What’s important to know is that meth is often made with other toxic chemicals. That may include things like drain cleaner, battery acid, and antifreeze. As a result of this, other components may cause even more intense effects on the brain, damaging brain cells and sometimes leading to complications with memory, communication, and cognitive function.
When a person uses meth, they may feel:
- Intense bursts of energy
- High levels of restlessness
- Euphoria or a high
- Increased anxiety and aggression
What Happens When You Take Meth?
When a person consumes meth, it typically only takes a few minutes to experience the high. Most of the time, when meth is smoked in a pipe or injected, the results are very quick. A person may take meth orally as well, which can cause it to last longer. In all cases, people may stay high for as long as half a day when using this substance. Other times, it is much shorter.
How long does meth stay in the system, then?
Meth remains in the body for some time. It is not changed by the body’s metabolism system in most cases. As a result, it can have a prolonged effect on many people. The effects of meth can last as long as 24 hours in some cases. That’s how long the effects may continue.
But, how long does meth stay in the system in smaller amounts?
Meth’s half-life is between 9 and 24 hours. It takes that long for the body to reduce the amount of meth in the bloodstream by just half. That doesn’t mean it will be fully removed. In fact:
- Meth may remain in the system for much longer.
- It may be found in urine for up to 5 days.
- It may be found in half-inch hair samples for up to 90 days.
What Happens With Meth Withdrawal?
When a person uses meth for any length of time, they may develop dependence. When that happens, they may experience withdrawal when they stop using it. As a result, they may experience intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms from using this drug.
Some common symptoms of withdrawal from meth include:
- Increased appetite
- Severe highs and lows
- Excessive sweating
- Increased appetite
The length of withdrawal depends on multiple factors, including how much is consumed, how long a person has been using it, and the overall tolerance that has developed. Many people may find that they need more extensive help to stop using, though. A person with meth addiction isn’t likely to be able to stop on their own without professional treatment.
How Professional Treatment May Help with Meth Addiction
As you take into consideration what’s happening to you or a loved one, recognize that it is possible to see improvement in your health and wellbeing. For that to happen, you need to invest in meth addiction treatment. Treatment may include:
- Detox: Many people with addiction to meth need a formal detox program. This may last from several days through a week or more. Medical monitoring may be necessary during this process.
- Medications: There may be some medications available to help reduce the withdrawal effects you have.
- Residential treatment: Because meth creates a very difficult change in overall mental health and physical wellbeing, many people need residential treatment to start on the path to recovery. Living in a safe-drug free environment is key.
- Therapy: For men and women battling meth, it’s essential to learn strategies for building confidence and avoiding relapse.
- Individualized treatment: This often involves providing specific types of evidence-based and holistic care to support your recovery.
- Mental health support: Many people with meth addiction also struggle with mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
If you are struggling with meth addiction, recognize that this drug’s power over you may continue until you seek out professional treatment. Reach out to our admissions team today to get on the path toward recovery. Give us a call at (866) 971-5531 or reach out to us here.