Meth Addiction Overview, Effects, Symptoms, Withdrawal & Treatment Options
We Level Up meth addiction treatment in Texas provides medically-assisted detox, behavioral therapy and peer support for safe recovery.
What is Meth Addiction?
Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that may affect your central nervous system. Although medications have proven effective in treating some substance use disorders, there are currently no medications that counteract the specific effects of methamphetamine. Also, there is no medication yet to prolong the abstinence from meth or to reduce the misuse of the drug. Evidently, the most effective meth addiction treatment at this point are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency management interventions. 
The methamphetamine drug is also known as meth, blue, ice, and crystal. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol. Meth can also be smoked, snorted, injected, or orally ingested.
Long-term methamphetamine abuse has many negative consequences, including addiction. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease, characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use and accompanied by functional and molecular changes in the brain.
As is the case with many drugs, tolerance to methamphetamine’s pleasurable effects develops when it is taken repeatedly. Abusers often need to take higher doses of the drug, take it more frequently, or change how they take it in an effort to get the desired effect. Chronic methamphetamine abusers may develop difficulty feeling any pleasure other than that provided by the drug, fueling further abuse. Withdrawal from methamphetamine occurs when a chronic abuser stops taking the drug; symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, fatigue, and an intense craving for the drug. 
How Addictive is Meth
The experience of “high” from meth only lasts five to 30 minutes then, the lingering effects can last up to 12 hours. Consequently, it causes difficult emotional and physical symptoms, such as depression and insomnia. As a result, meth addiction often follows a pattern of bingeing on the drug for several days at a time, followed by a crash.
Certainly that the short duration of the drug’s euphoric effects may cause you to reuse the substance, which can increase your tolerance to meth. As a result of your tolerance to the drug, you will need to take higher doses to achieve the desired effects. In fact, some users are smoking or injecting meth to experience a stronger, more immediate high.
Meth Addiction Effects
Most users try to maintain the high by taking more of the drug. In some cases, people indulge in a form of binging known as a “run,” foregoing food and sleep while continuing to take the drug for up to several days. 
The short-term effects of meth according to the SAMHSA  includes the following:
- Even taking small amounts of meth can cause harmful health effects such as irritability
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature
- Faster breathing
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Loss of appetite, disturbed sleep patterns, or nausea
- Erratic, aggressive, or violent behavior
Drug abuse of meth can lead to many damaging, long-term health risks, even when people stop taking meth, including:
- Permanent damage to the heart and brain
- High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes, and death
- Liver, kidney, and lung damage
- Anxiety, confusion, and insomnia
- Paranoia, hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions, or violent behavior (psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after meth use)
- Intense itching, causing skin sores from scratching
- Premature osteoporosis
- Severe dental problems
Meth Addiction Symptoms Variations
Meth has a great influence even in small quantities because its effects are like those of other stimulant drugs like cocaine. Moreover, side effects may include:
- Increased breathing
- Lack of appetite
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased physical activity and fidgeting
- Lack of inhibitions
- Feeling exhilarated
- Feeling confident and empowered
- Dulled or “blunted” emotions
- Increased sexual arousal
- Increased sociability
- Increased aggression
- Bizarre behavior
- Lack of social awareness
- Increased alertness and wakefulness
- High blood pressure
Effects of Meth Withdrawal
Research has shown that meth withdrawal follows a predictable pattern. Firstly, symptoms appear within 24 hours after the last dose. In fact, these symptoms peak after 7 to 10 days of abstinence. And then, they disappear within 14 to 20 days of abstinence. 
Further meth withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Red, itchy eyes
- Joint pain
- Clammy skin
- Irregular heartbeat
While going through meth withdrawal during detox, people often become angry, nervous, or anxious. Some may experience severe mental health problems such as depression or meth psychosis.  You may also feel intense cravings for the drug often because of the discomfort you feel without the effects of the drug.
Given that, you should undergo detox in a supervised treatment center to help you ease with these withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification is a process aimed at helping you stop taking meth as safely and as quickly as possible.
Behavioral Signs of Abuse
Recognizing an addiction problem in someone you know can be harder than it seems. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM)  defines addiction as a chronic disease that affects the brain’s reward, motivation, and memory functions. Someone with an addiction will crave a substance or other behavioral habits. They’ll often ignore other areas of life to fulfill or support their desires.
General signs of addiction are:
- lack of control, or inability to stay away from a substance or behavior
- decreased socialization, like abandoning commitments or ignoring relationships
- ignoring risk factors, like sharing needles despite potential consequences
- physical effects, like withdrawal symptoms or needing higher dosage for effect
These signs are commonly linked. The degree of intensity for each sign may depend on how long the addiction has been going on.
A healthy person can usually identify negative behavior and get rid of it. This is not the case with someone with an addiction. Rather than admit the problem exists, they’ll find ways to justify and continue the behavior.
The first step to getting help is being able to recognize the physical, mental, and emotional signs, like abrupt weight or personality changes in your friends or family members.
Methamphetamine is a leading cause of drug overdoses, which claimed 67,367 lives in the U.S. in 2018 alone. A meth overdose is a treatable condition, but every second counts. If you delay treatment because you’re afraid to admit to meth use or you’re not sure whether you have overdosed, it could cost you your life. Knowing the symptoms of a meth overdose is critical to get prompt care.
Meth Overdose Symptoms
Meth addiction does not have to lead to an overdose. It is a treatable medical condition. The early symptoms of a meth overdose may look similar to being high on meth. But you may notice subtle differences, like a more intense high or a rapid or irregular heartbeat.  Some other symptoms of a meth overdose are:
- Trouble breathing
- Signs of a heart attack or stroke, such as chest pain or confusion
- High or low blood pressure
- A high body temperature
- Kidney failure, which might cause symptoms such as peeing less or very dark urine
- Intense stomach pain
- Changes in personality or alertness
- Loss of consciousness
- Intensely hyper or aggressive behavior
Meth Addiction Treatment
Clearing meth from the body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms is the goal of detox, which is the first step of treatment for meth addiction.  Here at We Level Up TX, a comprehensive team prescribing medications can alleviate your withdrawal pains while monitoring your health 24 hours during the detox. We prioritize your safety and comfort because this is a fragile and challenging time for you.
Once detox is complete, a new doorway in treatment opens up, which is referred to as a residential level of care. Our residential care program slowly and effectively introduces the individual into an atmosphere of therapeutic growth, marked by master’s level therapists, clinicians, group counselors, psychiatrists, and a community of like-minded individuals with the same aim: to attain sobriety and live a great life.
Some of the many modalities applied and practiced within our residential treatment facility are:
- Alumni Support
- Holistic Therapy
Our treatment tailors the program to the individual and the individual to the program of recovery. We begin by assessing our client’s history of mental health, drugs, and alcohol-related past. The needs of each patient are specific and personalized because we aim to provide comprehensive support for mental health, addiction, and dual diagnosis treatment. Our supportive environment is designed accordingly to give patients 24-hour care for sobriety. Most importantly, we hope to have our clients live comfortably within the facility during this crucial and fragile time.
We prioritize removing temptations for relapse and applying an air of recovery into every component of the treatment timeline, including meth addiction treatment.
At We Level Up TX, we find that when clients are living in a supportive community, especially during their early recovery process, they can truly focus on what matters most: their recovery.
Above all, if you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction, reach out to us because we may be able to help you explore treatment options.
 Methamphetamine – National Institute on Drug Abuse
 Meth – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA)
 Methamphetamine Misused – National Institute on Drug Abuse
 https://www.samhsa.gov/meth – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration