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Article Summary

Meth- Physical Effects

When snorted or taken orally, one "hit" of methamphetamine can produce a high that lasts for about twelve hours. In general, the faster the meth is absorbed into the body, the more intense the pleasurable feelings experienced by the user. Injecting and smoking methamphetamine deliver a "rush" that cannot be achieved by snorting powder or swallowing pills, which slows the absorption process. Most addicts inject liquid methamphetamine or smoke crystal meth because the rush is what they're seeking.

Injecting Methamphetamine

Injecting methamphetamine is the most dangerous method of use. When methamphetamine is dissolved in water, dust, germs, and other materials can get into the liquid. The syringe used to inject the drug into the veins may be dirty as well. Any contaminants in the liquid or on the needle will be injected directly into the bloodstream. Users who inject methamphetamine run the risk of contracting both HIV and HEPATITIS A from sharing needles. The injections can also cause sores at the injection sites.

Methamphetamine Effects

Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug. It increases heart and breathing rates, blood pressure, and body temperature. Other effects include NAUSEA, diarrhea, increased talkativeness, and a tendency to engage in repetitive actions. When the drug is injected, the initial rush leads some individuals to report feeling invincible, as if they can take on the world. Throughout the high that follows, users frequently appear more self-assured, "pumped up," and sexually aroused. They also may become extremely aggressive. As time passes, however, the surge of energy begins to fade. At that point, users are said to be crashing. They typically experience: 1) dehydration—an abnormally low amount of fluid in the body; 2) anxiety—feelings of being extremely overwhelmed, restless, fearful, and worried; 3) tiredness; and 4) depression—feelings of hopelessness, loss of pleasure, self-blame, and sometimes suicidal thoughts.

Meth Psychosis

In severe cases, a mental disorder known as methamphetamine psychosis (sy-KOH-sis) develops. Symptoms of psychosis include paranoia, or abnormal feelings of suspicion and fear; hallucinations, or visions or other perceptions of things that are not really present; and uncontrolled anxiety that may lead to rage and violent behavior. And the hallucinations are not only visual. Users may hear voices. They have also been known to tear their skin apart in search of imaginary "crank bugs" that they think they feel crawling all over their bodies.

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