As the old adage states: what goes up, must come down. If you or your loved one has forgotten normal enjoyment of activities in pursuit of a euphoria-like high from methamphetamine, you may be wondering how to get back on the right track.
We offer a full continuum of care for people that want to recover but may be unclear how to start. We will use our multi-track therapeutic approaches such as CBT, DBT, family therapies, and mindfulness programs for better stress management. Holistic therapies such as art, yoga, equine, cooking, and outdoor adventure will help you develop or remember the things in life that bring you joy and give you healthy things to focus on other than substances. This approach to mind, body, and soul is behind the expert care you will experience.
What Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive, man-made stimulant that affects a person’s central nervous system. This system controls a person’s mind related to senses, interpreting thoughts, memory, and overall focus. Physical aspects such as breathing, body temperature, movement, balance, and other bodily aspects are also regulated through the central nervous system. Physical and severe psychological damage can occur with chronic use.
How Long Does A Meth High Last?
Meth produces a prolonged state of euphoria experienced in phases, unlike the shorter-acting cocaine. It is considered a party drug and used for its ability to provide a euphoria-induced state of mind.
In its initial phase, the dopamine rush meth provides is nearly instantaneous and quite powerful. People feel a burst of energy building while their heart begins to race, crowning at a high filled with rapid speech and confidence. The overly activated brain can feel that effect for about 14 hours. This is because meth is not metabolized by the body and remains mostly unchanged, which in turn prolongs its effects.
This initial rush is followed by a high, which is a longer phase that will last for a few hours up to 15 hours. A person may feel very outspoken and might be prone to arguing to make their point. They can often fixate on one activity such as standing and staring at an appliance or a flame or actively repeating a task like snapping their fingers or sweeping a room.
When someone is addicted they continue to repeat the rush and high cycle for days on end, perhaps even two weeks, barely eating or sleeping. As their body weakens physically and mentally, it often experiences a shut-down referred to as tweaking.
Shutdown Phase (AKA Tweaking)
When the rush and high are over, psychological issues begin to present due to exhaustion and the inability to regain the high. The person using meth will often describe this time as a feeling of emptiness, loss, and craving, existing in a fog of sensations no one else can experience. This is a dangerous period both for the person experiencing it and others around them due to their increased hostility toward others or desire to harm themselves.
The body cannot take anymore and retreats into a sleep stage to find a semblance of recovery. This generally lasts several days. The person emerges unbathed, hungry, thirsty, and still exhausted from the ravaging effects of the days prior.
As withdrawal symptoms appear, eventually a person will look for the solution to diminish them and the cycle will repeat.
How long does meth stay in your system? Meth can be detected in your system in a variety of ways and will remain in the blood for up to three days, in urine up to 10 days, and in a hair sample for up to 90 days.
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Its fast-hitting effects and appearance similar to crystal shards or rocks with a bluish hue have earned it street names such as:
What Is Crystal Meth?
Crystal meth is potent and the purest form of meth available, usually snorted or smoked and it can last for many hours, even up to three days by some accounts. Manufacturing in this form is where Mexican operations typically come into play.
How Do You Take Meth?
Meth can be taken in several ways, including:
- Smoking (possibly the most addictive method)
- Snorting as a powder
- Swallowing a pill
- Injecting by needle (liquid solution created by mixing the powder form with alcohol or water)
Signs Of Meth Use
- Decrease in appetite
- High alertness
- Increased energy
- Poor hygiene
- Meth mouth (teeth decay from poor oral care)
- Meth sores from picking and scabbing skin due to psychotic state where someone “sees” bugs crawling on them or under their skin
Physical/Mental Side Effects With Meth Use
Heart problems, hyperthermia, depression, and confusion are some of meth’s short-term effects. With chronic use, even if discontinued, meth can lead to long-term neurological changes with motor coordination and memory impairments, mood alterations, and psychiatric problems.
For those who use needles comes the associated risks for HIV transmission and Hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is a highly infectious virus transferred when people share needles, and the virus attacks the liver. Symptoms can come on suddenly or not be present until damage has already occurred. It can be treated, but 80% of those infected will have Hepatitis C for life and, over time, can experience liver failure.
Methamphetamine use can structurally and physically alter the brain leading to long-term cognitive and emotional impairment. This often leads to relapse because judgment is clouded, and the ability to function amidst general society declines. Extreme outbursts and erratic behavior can result from chronic use.
Anxiety, confusion, and psychotic tendencies will often maintain a presence as well. Oftentimes, people will be prone to hallucinations which are commonly described as seeing bugs crawling under their skin. These terrifying side effects can prompt a person back to using meth to minimize the terror and discomfort.
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History Of Meth’s Role In Society
A human-made stimulant, meth was manufactured in the early 1900s and later medically used in the 1930s, even given during World War II to keep troops awake. Restrictions were enacted in 1970, and for the most part, its use faded only to find a resurgence in the 1980s as a party drug. You may have heard about smaller meth labs in your community when explosions occur due to the dangerous nature of mixing toxic chemicals. Meth is mostly manufactured in large-scale operations in Mexico before importing across the U.S. border.
As the use of meth was climbing in the early part of this century, it went off the radar when harsher laws curtailed sales of children’s cold medicines, requiring signing for it at the pharmacy counter with a legitimate identification card. For a time, opioids took over. But as often heard with trends: what’s old becomes new again. Behind marijuana, it has become the number one illicit drug used in the country.
The View Of Recovery In America And The State Of Texas
Whether you started with meth after you saw some friends using it at a party, or your son or daughter has moved from their original life goals in pursuit of staying high, meth is in many communities. Men and women equally seem to be drawn to it. It is also more prevalent in the western states and has slowly grown in the southern and Midwestern regions. Areas in the mid-Atlantic and northeastern states have seen smaller numbers of people struggling with addiction.
To successfully treat someone’s addiction, it is paramount to understand how they started to use a drug and why they continued. Many people first experience meth in social gatherings like concerts or clubs, where it is being used to enhance a good time. Once they feel the euphoric effects, they then move on to incorporating meth use in daily life situations.
Daily tasks typically require stability and a steady routine to perform, and the dopamine reward regulators in the brain are designed to support this.
By overstimulating these dopamine rewards, meth essentially leaves a person unable to conduct their day-to-day functions. But after feeling the meth high, going to school or work seems uninteresting in comparison, and addiction grows. In essence, being in the right state of mind no longer seems “right,” and the euphoria replaces what you consider “right.”
It may seem strange if you haven’t experienced it, but if you have, you’ll understand this next part. People who use a drug tend to feel a kinship to others like them, just like most things in society.
Pet lovers gravitate to dog parks and oftentimes strike up friendships and have puppy play dates. Football fans have tailgate parties to pre-hype the big game camaraderie. People on a party circuit may want to let loose and might consider dabbling in a drug for recreation purposes. They might find people of similar backgrounds and become a sub-group who likes to experience the drug together away from the crowd. It’s basically a sociological synopsis of human behavior. Except it’s not dogs or football their attention centers upon.
Meth Use No. 1 Drug Threat In Texas
A 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found around 1.6 million people (0.6% of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the prior year, with 23 being the average age of a person using meth for the first time.
Meth is the highest drug threat in Texas, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency field divisions in Houston and Dallas. Of Texans age 18 and older, 0.4% or 75,000, have used meth, according to 2017 figures. In 2016, 577 Texans died from a meth overdose, and the number of meth-related deaths tripled in a four-year period ending in 2016.
State Agencies Step Up With Recovery Resources
A directive from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration in 2012 recognized the importance of defining what true recovery is.
The state of Texas took this to heart by establishing a network of 22 service providers known as the Recovery Support Services (RSS) Provider, which is funded by the state Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Offering a person the right support that centers on providing a better situation to continue recovery goals builds on the idea of defining recovery.
The RSS helps people who seek to overcome addiction by incorporating training with regard to parenting, finances, employment, education, and mental health programs, alongside periodic recovery check-ins. Over four years, more than 50,000 people have been referred to the program, as reported through 2018.
Continuing to support people after an addiction treatment center program, especially from a powerfully addictive drug like methamphetamine, will directly impact long-term recovery.
Addiction treatment centers with medically-supervised detox services are the safest way to begin treatment for drug use. Meth withdrawal typically takes three phases with varying longevity. In the first 24 hours, a person will experience the most immediate effects of non-use, such as disturbing thoughts or hallucinations, depression, anxiety, irritability, drug and food cravings, and fatigue.
The psychosis and fatigue will gradually drop off earliest after the first week, and depression will start to lift after two weeks. By the third week, most withdrawal symptoms will be minimal, with the exception being drug cravings and continued anxiety, which can last for some time.
Treatment As The Right Step From Detox Through Recovery
Managing all of this information for yourself or for someone you love and support can be overwhelming, but you are on course to get the care you deserve today with an accredited addiction treatment center.
Vertava Health of Texas offers a full continuum of treatment for meth addiction from medically-supervised detox, residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs (IOP), with IOP available both onsite and online to help clients meet personal responsibilities. Your full drug history will be medically reviewed to ensure your program centers on treatments best suited for your needs.
Treating your mental health and substance use disorder is a life-changing journey. Get the treatment you deserve and call us today at 877-318-2084.
- National Criminal Justice Reference Service — Methamphetamine Use: Lessons Learned
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Hepatitis C and Injection Drug Use
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — What are the Long-term Effects of Methamphetamine misuse?
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — What is the scope of methamphetamine misuse in the United States?
- Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute — Texas Substance Use Disorder Landscape Supplement: Methamphetamine Use
- The University of Texas at Austin | Steve Hicks School of Social Work — Addiction Research Institute