Signs You Need Treatment for Meth Addiction

woman sitting by a window smoking meth

The numbers surrounding meth addiction in the United States paint a truly frightening picture. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse statistics, well over 1.5 million people used crystal meth in the year 2017, including some 775,00 who had used it in the last 30 days.

Things get even uglier when it comes to people suffering from a methamphetamine use disorder. According to the same national statistics, almost a million people over the age of 12– yes, 12– were experiencing definite health and other consequences because of meth addiction.

Fortunately, there’s hope. There’s hope for those who have already developed a meth addiction and for those who have just used it a few times. The key is knowing when you or a loved one needs help. In this post, we’ll discuss 10 signs that you or a loved one needs treatment for meth addiction.

Signs You Need Treatment for Meth Addiction

We’ll begin with some tell-tale external signs of meth addiction. These are things you might notice simply by looking at yourself in the mirror or glancing at a loved one you suspect might have a problem.

1. Sudden weight loss or frailness
2. Advanced tooth decay
3. Facial sores or acne
4. Hyperactivity and/or twitchy movements
5. Unexplained burns on the lips or fingers

Meth addiction takes an obvious physical toll, so this is far from an exhaustive list. However, if one or more of these physical signs begins to appear, the person in question might need professional help. This is especially true if they appear alongside some of the following behavioral signs of meth abuse.

Behavioral Changes Associated With Meth Addiction

Here are five behavioral changes to watch out for if you fear that you or a loved one is becoming dependent on crystal meth. Some of these signs are apparent to an outside observer, whereas others might only be noticeable to the user themselves. Either way, if the following signs appear consistently, it might be time to ask some difficult questions:

1. Meth addiction can induce feelings of paranoia.
2. It also often causes the user to develop erratic sleep habits. This can include staying up for long periods of time and/or sleeping for excessive periods after a binge.
3. Even short term use of crystal meth can lead to extreme mood swings or unusual emotional outbursts.
4. Once the user reaches a point where it’s difficult to get ‘high’ off of crystal meth, they often begin to experience things like confusion, irritability, and extreme depression.
5. Consistent use of crystal meth can lead to extreme agitation and even violent behavior.

Preventing the Damage

Methamphetamine is an extremely dangerous and addictive drug. It stays active in the body longer than most other stimulants and can do severe damage to the pleasure centers of the brain. It can also lead to convulsions, heart failure, stroke, and death.

In the final analysis, however, meth addiction is much like any other form of substance use disorder. Despite the horror stories you’ve heard, meth addiction is a very treatable condition. The first step is recognizing there’s a problem. If you or someone you love starts to manifest the signs we’ve discussed above, please seek help immediately.

Dangers of Shake and Bake Meth

Shake and Bake Meth | Harmony Recovery Center

Reports have surfaced that meth users across the U.S. have begun to make “shake and bake” meth. Named for the simplicity in which it is prepared, this method of making methamphetamine is easy and quick, but also extremely dangerous.

Using the typical method, the process for producing meth includes cooking the ingredients to extremely high temperatures. The “shake and bake” process doesn’t require any heat, however. 

Also, to create a useful and profitable batch of meth, the makes would need to buy many packages of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. Buyers would have to visit a multitude of stores to evade the federal regulations on how many products an individual may purchase. The “shake and bake” method uses much less pseudoephedrine, so a meth producer can buy it without drawing attention to themselves.

The Risks of “Shake and Bake”

In conventional production labs, the risks of making meth include explosion and fire. This new method poses an even greater risk of life-threatening fires and burns due to the way that it is mixed. The toxic chemicals and pseudoephedrine used to make meth are placed in a two-liter plastic soda bottle. The ingredients are then shaken instead of being cooked to produce a crystalline powder that can be used in the same way regular meth is used.

If you have ever shaken a bottle of soda by mistake, you would know that when you open the lid, the pressure inside produces an explosion of foam. The same physics applies to “shake and bake” meth. Pressure inside the bottle accumulates as the chemical reactions occur, and dangerous effects that are possible. 

If oxygen gets inside the bottle, the contents may explode. This can happen if the lid is removed too soon or too rapidly or the plastic is perforated, and it can cause a potentially lethal reaction.

In addition to the possibility of injury or death caused by the chemical reactions, the residual materials from successful batches of meth are considered to be poisonous. Instead of disposing of them, drug users often leave these toxic residues where anyone (even children) can be exposed to them without being aware of it.

The Ultimate Price of Using Shake and Bake Meth 

The ingredients and method employed to produce shake and bake meth are incredibly dangerous, and many individuals have been injured. According to a 2012 report from NBC News, medical treatment for severe burns that a person can sustain from one these them explosions is upwards of $6,000 per day. Depending on the duration of the stay, a patient may incur $130,000 in treatments, which is much greater than the amount that other burn victims’ treatments cost.

From the report:

“It is filling hospitals with thousands of uninsured burn patients requiring millions of dollars in advanced treatment—a burden so costly that it’s contributing to the closure of some burn units.”

In addition to the cost of medical care to the oft uninsured meth makers, there is the cost of combatting the illicit activity and removing the noxious mess that is leftover. According to reports, unfortunately, the number of meth labs is growing throughout the U.S., and many of them are adopting the shake-and-bake method.

Burn experts report that the yearly cost to taxpayers is into the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars. However, it is not possible to determine an exact number due to so many meth users and producers lying about the circumstances that caused their burns.

Symptoms of Meth Use

Shake and Bake Meth | Harmony Recovery Center

Regardless of the method used, meth abusers may exhibit many different physical or behavioral symptoms. The most common signs of meth abuse include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Facial tics and twitching
  • Jerky movements
  • Hyperactivity
  • Skin sores

  • Rapid eye movement
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Burns on lips or fingers

  • Odd sleeping patterns
  • Rotting teeth or “meth mouth”
  • Mood swings
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Tweaking 

Treatment Is Available for Meth Addiction

No matter how much or how long a person has been using meth, help is available. You or your loved one can halt the impact of meth on your life, even if you have not hit “rock bottom”—you must do this before it’s too late.

Harmony Recovery Center is a specialized treatment facility dedicated to helping people break free from the chains of addiction and foster healthier, more satisfying lives.

Treatment can be challenging, but it is worth the effort to ensure that you or your loved one is safe and healthy after overcoming this horrible disease. We are dedicated to providing our clients with the tools and support they need to recover and maintain long-lasting sobriety.

If you or your loved one are prepared to take the first step in reclaiming your life, contact us as soon as possible. We can help you break free from the cycle of addiction and steer you toward a more fulfilling life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Slamming Meth

Meth Effects: Immediate and Long-Term

Meth Effects: Immediate and Long-Term | Harmony Recovery NC

Meth Effects: Immediate and Long-Term – Meth (methamphetamine) is a stimulant and a potent, highly concentrated drug currently categorized as a Schedule II controlled substance in the United States. Meth acts on the brain, causing a flood of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of euphoria and energy.

About Meth Abuse

Meth is often created in labs using over-the-counter cold medications containing pseudoephedrine and ephedrine. Meth typically also includes several toxic chemicals such as fertilizer, red phosphorus, anhydrous ammonia or drain cleaner.

Users frequently suffer from a myriad of adverse mental, emotional, and physical meth effects, including the following:

  • Permanent brain damage
  • Heart disease
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired thinking
  • Violence and rage
  • Psychosis

Immediate Meth Effects

Smoking or injecting meth initiates an immediate, highly pleasurable rush. Snorting the drug leads to feelings of euphoria within 3-5 minutes, but oral use of meth takes effect in 15-20 minutes. Although the rush doesn’t last longer than 30 minutes, other effects, including an exaggerated sense of confidence and an increased sex drive, can last up to 12 hours.

Abusers may also encounter less pleasant meth effects such as stomach cramps, constipation, eye twitching, and severe mood swings.

Long-Term Meth Effects

“Meth Mouth”

Significant dental problems, including stained, rotting and broken teeth, are common long-term meth effects. This condition, known as “meth mouth,” is the result of decreased saliva production, poor hygiene, poor diet and compulsive teeth clenching and grinding.

“Crank Bugs”

Meth users can also experience the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin. As a result, the itching and picking at the skin caused by these imaginary bugs produces inflamed open sores.

Dramatic Weight Loss

Because meth use suppresses appetite, then can lead to severe weight loss, sometimes to the point of malnutrition that causes users to appear sick, haggard, and older than they are. It’s not uncommon for meth users to become isolated, remaining at home so that friends and family won’t see the radical changes in their appearance.


Because meth is so potent, use of the drug brings on chemical changes, causing the brain to require more of the drug to feel normal (this is known as tolerance, see below). Even ruminating about the pleasant feelings and emotions induced by meth use can release dopamine and instigate powerful cravings. Many former users experience cravings for months after drug use has stopped.


According to DSM-IV Substance Dependence Criteria, tolerance is characterized by a need for increasing amounts of a drug to feel the desired effect, or a gradually diminished effect that results from consistent use of the same amount.

Also, the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that some long-term meth users may lose the ability to feel pleasure without using meth, which results in increased drug use and higher tolerance.


The American Psychiatric Association describes dependence as “a pattern of substance abuse that leads to significant impairment or distress.” Chemical dependence occurs along with prolonged drug use that results in the body growing accustomed to the drug’s presence and becoming less able to function properly without it.

The time it takes to develop a meth dependency can vary, although frequent meth abusers and intravenous drug users become dependent much sooner. Most users exhibit symptoms of dependence within 4-6 weeks, and some report developing a powerful dependence after just a single use.


Meth Effects: Immediate and Long-Term | Harmony Recovery NC

As dependence increases and the body continues to require more meth, users encounter severe withdrawal symptoms when they stop using the drug. The earliest symptoms often include strong cravings and feelings of hopelessness, apathy, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Withdrawal symptoms also include:

  • Impaired memory and concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains
  • Sleeping problems
  • Increased appetite
  • Hallucinations
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Lack of energy
  • Distorted thinking and paranoia

How Meth Addiction Destroys Lives

Meth addiction can lead to many legal issues for the user. The problems originate from obtaining and using the drug and may also result from the paranoia, violence, and rage that are often associated with meth use.

Meth users often find themselves in legal trouble for theft, sales and distribution of a controlled substance, assault and battery, manufacture of meth and allowing a child to be present in a location where meth is being made. Most are felonies punishable by jail or prison time and steep fines.

However, legal issues are only one cause of life-changing financial problems for meth users. While meth is a relatively inexpensive, frequent drug, users often spend a great deal of money to maintain the habit. Many meth addicts will lose their jobs and are much less likely to find further employment if convicted of a meth-related crime.

A loved one’s meth use often burdens family members and partners, and this puts a great deal of stress on familial and social ties. Children can be negatively and permanently affected by a parent’s meth use. Friendships are strained or destroyed when meth users ignore old friends in favor of new, meth-using companions.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is an astonishingly destructive disease that can cause extensive damage to the body and mind, resulting in serious health problems, mental illness, and even death.

Those persons addicted to meth are urged to participate in a long-term addiction treatment program on an inpatient, partial hospitalization, or outpatient basis. Our center offers integrated, evidence-based services that include behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, group support, and more.

We employ compassionate medical professionals with expertise in addiction who provide clients with the support and tools they need to succeed at recovery and experience longstanding wellness and sobriety.

We can help you restore sanity to your world and reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve! Contact us now to find out how!

Related: How to Identify Drug Overdose Symptoms

Slamming Meth

Slamming Meth - Methamphetamine (meth) is a dangerous and addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS).

Slamming Meth – Methamphetamine (meth) is a dangerous and addictive drug that stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in a boost in brain activity, breathing, body temperature, and heart rate. Meth is most often used for its euphoric effects and ability to increase energy and alertness and decrease appetite, but it can also have a severe and debilitating impact on a person’s physical and mental health, as well as on the lives and emotional well-being of those close to them.

Meth can be administered using several methods – it can be consumed orally, or by smoking, snorting, or injecting it. Injecting meth is also known as “slamming” or “shooting.” No means of administration is ever safe, but injecting poses risks that may be more severe than others. For one, slamming meth accelerates the development of addiction because of the intensity in which the effects are experienced.

“High” Effects and Side Effects of Slamming Meth

Shooting or injecting causes meth to reach the brain rapidly, and produces an intense “rush” or feeling of euphoria. This feeling only lasts for a few moments, however, so the user needs to inject more of the drug to continue experiencing pleasure. This is precisely why meth is frequently used in a binge pattern, as the user repeatedly shoots up over a brief period in an attempt to sustain the high.

Binging, which is eventually following by a phase called “tweaking” and a “crash,” could last for several days. During this time, individuals may neglect necessary functions (e.g., personal hygiene) in favor of meth use.

The euphoria felt by a meth user is the result of a rapid release of dopamine, a brain neurotransmitter involved with feelings related to pleasure and reward that positively reinforces drug-using behaviors due to the intense rush it provides.

In the early stages of a high, the user experiences the hallmark, sought-after effects including elation and energy, as well as a flurry of thoughts followed by rapid speech. The person may also exhibit increase impulsivity and a hyperactive sex drive.

In the later stages of the high, the user may suffer from restlessness, nervousness, psychosis, and paranoia. Cravings for more meth are likely to appear in the later phase, as well as a depressive mood, fatigue, and itching.

Dangers of Slamming Meth

Slamming meth can result in a number of serious health problems. These are related to both the use of the drug and the method of administration. Below are some complications caused by injecting meth:

  • Track lines
  • Puncture marks
  • Collapsed veins
  • Abscesses and skin infections

Users who slam meth also have an increased risk of contracting HIV, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C. The risk of contracting HIV is heightened due to both the sharing of needles and engaging in risky sexual activity, which is common for those who use meth due to increased libido. The following are additional damaging effects caused by meth abuse, regardless of the means of delivery:

  • Violent behavior
  • Mood disturbances
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Insomnia

  • Confusion
  • Memory/cognitive impairments
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Impaired motor functioning

  • Seizures
  • Arrhythmias and palpitations
  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Malnutrition and weight loss

Chemical Imbalances in the Brain and Brain Damage

Over time, slamming meth alters the user’s brain chemistry dramatically, and chronic use produces a tolerance, which is characterized by the need to use increasing amounts of the drug to feel the desired effects. The brain adapts to the continued presence of meth, and when the individual discontinues meth use, he or she will encounter withdrawal symptoms, such as extreme cravings, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Meth also has a significant impact on the dopaminergic system in the brain. As previously noted, using meth results in a surge of dopamine in the brain, which is responsible for the euphoric feelings associated with its use. Repeated meth use can have neurotoxic (brain-damaging) effects because the drug kills dopaminergic neurons, which then leads to depleted levels of the neurotransmitter in the brain.

Slamming Meth: Addiction and Treatment

Meth addiction is a devastating disease that gradually destroys the mind and body of those who use it and profoundly impacts those who love him or her. Individuals who are addicted to meth are urged to seek help as soon as possible before circumstances deteriorate further and lead to permanent impairments or death.

Our center offers integrated, evidence-based treatment in both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. All of our programs include services critical to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

Our knowledgeable medical professionals administer care to our clients with compassion and expertise and provide them with the tools and assistance they need to recover and enjoy longstanding wellness and sobriety.

Please contact us immediately if you are ready to regain your life free of drugs or alcohol! We can help!

Meth Sores

Meth Sores | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Meth Sores – Methamphetamine abuse can lead to disastrous effects on a person’s physical and mental health and overall well-being. Much of the damage caused by meth happens on the inside, but the most noticeable harm can be seen right on a person’s skin in the form of meth sores. These are primarily caused by the presence of “meth mites,” or non-existent bugs that the person is hallucinating.

People who use meth are notorious for exhibiting scratches, sores, scabs, and scars. These self-injuries are often associated with hallucinations that make the user believe they have insects crawling under their skin. Meth users often scratch at their skin to try to remove the imaginary bugs. However, several other factors can also contribute to meth sores, including injection track marks, malnutrition, and poor hygiene.

Meth Mites and Crank Bugs

“Meth mites” and “crank bugs” are street terms for the same type of hallucination. People who abuse meth tend to stay awake for several days at a time, and sleep deprivation itself can cause hallucinations in otherwise mentally healthy individuals. Researchers have not found an exact cause of these hallucinations, but there are many possible suggestions, including the following:

Cause 1: Meth use can produce itchiness, anxiety, and paranoia. After many days of sleep deprivation, those who abuse meth may start to perceive the itching as caused by something moving around beneath their skin.

Cause 2: People who abuse meth may have delicate skin due to malnutrition, bad hygiene, or the toxic ingredients used to produce meth. When high, users may compulsively pick or scratch at their already delicate skin, causing rawness, irritation, and sores.

Cause 3: Sleep deprivation and/or the psychotic features of “tweaking” may prompt a user to begin hallucinating and falsely believe that bugs are creating their skin problems.

Meth sores and scabs are characteristic signs of meth abuse. In general, those who abuse meth more often or for a more extended period are likely to display more sores than others. In addition to being unattractive to look at, meth sores can lead to health problems if they become infected. Some of these sores can be treated with disinfectants, but those that become infected will probably require medical assistance.

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Meth sores can differ in appearance depending on the cause, level of infection, and how long they’ve been present on a person’s skin. Meth sores on the body, however, tend to present as red dots, cuts, and rashes. On the face, meth sores can resemble pimples or acne.

Sores can also form around the lips or inside the mouths of those who smoke crystal meth. These sores can look similar to canker or cold sores, and they are one of the potential symptoms of what is also popularly referred to as “meth mouth.”

On other areas of the body, sores can sometimes appear similar to chickenpox blisters that the person has scratched. When a sore becomes infected, it may look like a bad blister with a brown or black center, and the blister may also be enlarged and pus-filled.

Without treatment, an infection can spread. If a user with these sores treats the sores properly and stops abusing meth, the wounds will ultimately heal and scar, and some will eventually fade away.

Meth Sores | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Health Effects of Meth Sores

If a meth sore isn’t thoroughly cleaned and protected, bacteria can enter the person’s body. Minor infections can cause pain and discomfort, and if the infection expands and becomes severe, it can result in fever, fatigue, and diarrhea. Such infections that go unaddressed by medical professionals can be life-threatening. Signs of a burgeoning infection include redness and soreness around the affected area, as well as swelling and the presence of pus, blood, or both in the wound.

How to Treat Meth Sores

The most effective way to treat meth sores is to live a healthy lifestyle, allow time for them to heal on their own and, in the meantime, protect them from infection. The wounds should be cleaned with disinfectants or antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide, and then bandaged. Avoid scratching, picking, or in any way interfering with the sore’s healing process.

And, of course, you should stop abusing meth immediately. Quitting any intoxicating substance is often easier said than done, and, therefore, people who are addicted to meth are urged to seek professional treatment.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Harmony Recovery Center offers outpatient detox and integrated programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. These programs employ services clinically-proven to be beneficial to the recovery process and include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are suffering from an addiction to meth, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we can help you break free from the abuse of substances and foster the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!

Related: Slamming Meth

Effects of Crystal Meth

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Effects of Crystal Meth – Methamphetamine hydrochloride (also known as meth or crystal meth) is a psychostimulant with a high potential for addiction that affects the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system (CNS). Depending on its form, meth can either be smoked using a pipe (as in crystal form), dissolved in water and injected, snorted as a powder, swallowed in tablet form (Desoxyn), or administered through the urethra or rectum.

Like cocaine, meth changes the way the brain produces the neurotransmitter dopamine by radically elevating levels. Dopamine is a chemical responsible for feelings of motivation, reward, and pleasure. Furthermore, meth also has significant effects on the way the brain manages serotonin, another neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood and personality regulation, among other functions.

What meth looks like depends on the form in which it is produced. Meth is available in the following forms:

Powder—This form, also widely known as speed or crank, is a coarse or fine powder and is usually off-white to yellowish. Pharmaceutical grade powder meth can also be found as a tablet of the prescription drug Desoxyn, a medication that is indicated to treat stubborn attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Meth is usually least potent when found in this form.

Base—This form, also known as base, point, or wax, is a damp, chunky, and gritty paste-like substance, and is off-white, pink, yellow, or brown. This form is usually more pure and potent than powder.

Crystal—This form, also known as crystal meth, is manufactured illicitly using a combination of over-the-counter medications and poisonous substances in clandestine labs, both in the U.S. and elsewhere (Mexico, for example) for recreational purposes. Crystal meth, which is sometimes also called ice, blue ice, or glass, presents as a white or bluish-white, quartzlike glass shard or rock. Meth is typically the purest and most potent when found in this form.

Effects of Crystal Meth

As a stimulant, meth induces an intense “rush” of feelings of well-being as heart rate, blood pressure and libido all increase. A meth rush is shortly followed by a powerful extended high. Despite this high, crystal meth is an exceptionally dangerous drug.

Crystal meth is known to cause a myriad of acute psychological side effects, such as the following:

  • Nervousness and fidgeting
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Aggression and violent behavior
  • Hypervigilance and paranoia
  • Enhanced concentration and focus
  • Racing thoughts and speech

  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Increased energy and libido
  • Increased sociability
  • Reduced inhibitions

  • Elevated confidence
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • A sense of power or invincibility
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Compulsive or repetitive behaviors

Crystal meth also causes a laundry list of acute physical effects, including the following:

  • Dilated pupils and blurred vision
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Bruxism (teeth clenching)
  • Acne or dry, itchy skin

  • Flushing
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Tachypnea (rapid respiration)
  • Headaches

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Pallor
  • Excessive sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Twitching or tremors

The high produced by cocaine (coke) usually only lasts between 15-30 minutes, and for crack cocaine, only 5-10 minutes. In comparison, just the rush experienced by meth use can last over a half an hour, and the subsequent high can persist for between 8-24 hours. Meth is also usually cheaper than coke, so a person seeking a high that is longer-lasting and probably less expensive than other stimulants such as coke may very well opt for meth in some form.

Unfortunately, being under the influence of a substance for this length of time also means that the person’s body must also endure any physiological stress it produces. Moreover, the human body did not evolve to handle being high on powerful stimulants very well, especially over an extended period. Therefore, significant internal and physical damage is inevitable for many chronic users of meth.

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Meth Mouth

Meth is famous for causing severe dental deterioration and decay, commonly referred to as “meth mouth.” This condition occurs because meth users often have dry mouth that lacks the saliva necessary to protect teeth from the acidic elements used in meth production, including battery acid, hydrochloric acid, and drain cleaner, among others. Also, meth users are prone to repeatedly clench and grind their teeth, crave sugary drinks, and neglect oral hygiene in favor of abusing or binging meth.


Prolonged periods of continuous meth use, also known as a binge, can result in a state of profound drug intoxication referred to as “tweaking,” which is often considered one of the most dangerous outcomes of meth use. Tweaking occurs when a user binges for several days without sleep and begins to become paranoid and unstable. Tweaking is marked by compulsive, uncontrollable scratching, tremors, mood swings, paranoia, and tactile hallucinations that feel like bugs crawling under the skin.

Recreational Effects

Crystal meth has achieved popularity among people who use it to heighten pleasure while going to clubs, raves, and parties. Some use it because as an appetite suppressant, it tends to cause rapid weight loss, although this weight frequently returns upon cessation of drug use. And because the user will build an increasing tolerance of meth, this weight loss effect tends to lessen over time.

Some also use it as a means to self-medicate depression, owing to its prolonged mood-enhancing and euphoric effects. Others consume it primarily as an aphrodisiac because it increases libido and can enhance sexual pleasure.

Brain Damage

Concerning regions in the brain associated with dopamine production and processing, neural imaging studies have revealed that chronic meth users exhibit structural transformations severe enough to compromise their motor skills and verbal learning abilities. Likewise, meth can disrupt brain regions involved with memory and emotion. For these reasons, long-term meth abusers commonly develop cognitive impairments and dysregulated emotions.

And unfortunately, some of these neurological alterations may continue long after meth use has been discontinued. Many of the adverse changes associated with the transmission and processing of chemicals will gradually reverse, but this process may demand more than a year of abstinence. Moreover, some instances of devastating neurochemical trauma precipitated by excessive meth use lead to irreversible brain damage.

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Physical effects induced by long-term meth use include the following:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Chemical dependence
  • Meth mouth
  • Burn sores
  • Sores from itching skin

  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Premature skin aging
  • Frequent nosebleeds if snorted
  • Rapid weight loss or anorexia
  • Malnutrition

  • Brain cell destruction
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Lung damage
  • Congenital impairments
  • Seizures

What’s more, long-term crystal meth use dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Psychological effects caused by chronic meth abuse include the following:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Paranoia
  • Meth psychosis

  • Insomnia
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Addiction and compulsive drug-seeking behaviors

Meth users also encounter many other risks associated with drug use, such as contracting HIV or hepatitis B and C, and overdose. The reduced inhibitions caused by meth may prompt some users to inject the drug using dirty needles, as well as participate in unprotected sex. Likewise, the physiological strain of meth in the body can hasten the progression of HIV and AIDS.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is a particularly devastating condition that negatively affects the health and emotional wellness of those suffering, as well as the lives of those around them.

Fortunately, meth addiction is very treatable using a comprehensive approach to substance abuse. Former meth users seeking recovery can achieve abstinence and restore emotional and physical wellness to their lives. Harmony Recovery Centers offers professional addiction treatment that includes clinically-proven, evidence-based services vital to the recovery process.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to meth, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We can help you recover from your addiction and reclaim the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve!

What Does Meth Look Like?

What Does Meth Look Like? | Harmony Recovery NC

What Does Meth Look Like? – Meth (methamphetamine) can be found in two common forms – as a crystalline powder and as glass-like rocks known as crystal meth. Less commonly, the drug is also sold in pills or as a waxy, gooey oil known as meth base.

Regardless of its form, meth delivers an intense and energetic high. It can also produce dangerous side effects, including a rapid and irregular heartbeat, elevated body temperature, convulsions, and even death.

People who routinely use meth can easily develop an addiction. Long-term meth use is well-known for its devastating health effects.

Meth is usually whitish or translucent, but it also can appear in a variety of colors depending on how it is prepared and what other drugs or substances are combined with it. Meth makers have been known to add food coloring or dye to batches of meth to help sell their product.

For example, they have reportedly added blue coloring to the drug in an attempt to mimic the purportedly pure blue meth produced by the fictional character Walter White in the popular AMC television series “Breaking Bad.” Pure meth, however, isn’t blue – it’s colorless.

What Does Meth Look Like?

Powdered Meth

Crystalline powder is a popular form of meth that is often snorted. Because meth dissolves in water and alcohol, it can also be administered by injection. Also, some people prefer to mix meth with a liquid and swallow it. Powdered meth may resemble cocaine or chalk dust depending on its coarseness. As noted, while the powder is usually white to off-white, it can also appear yellow, pink, or a variety of other shades.

The processes and materials used to manufacture the drug affect its color. For example, cooking meth using red pseudoephedrine tablets can give the powder a pink or reddish color. Meth produced with gun scrubber, a gun cleaning product sold in sporting goods stores, can have a green color. Solvents such as camping stove fuel can result in a bluish tint.

Crystal Meth

Powdered meth can be transformed into crystal meth, a more potent form that looks like shiny fragments of glass, quartz or rock salt. Crystal meth is produced by dissolving meth powder in a solvent, such as acetone or denatured alcohol.

As the concoction evaporates, clear, chunky translucent, white, or bluish-white crystals form around the edge of the mixing container. This form of meth is typically smoked or injected. It induces a longer-lasting high than powdered meth and more intense physical effects.

Small doses of crystal meth will increase a person’s energy levels and suppress their appetite. But using large amounts, especially on a routine basis, can lead to severe psychological issues, such as paranoia, hallucinations, and violent rage. Other signs of meth use include marked weight loss, tooth decay, sores, and frequent scratching.

Meth Tablets

What Does Meth Look Like? | Harmony Recovery NC

Desoxyn (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is a prescription-only stimulant indicated to treat particularly stubborn attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as a treatment for obesity. Although it has a very limited medical use and is not as popular as other better-known medications like Adderall or Ritalin, it is still used often enough to be of significance. Moreover, Desoxyn pills may be diverted from legitimate prescription holders and used illicitly.

Meth is sometimes sold as a small, green or reddish-orange colored pill known as yaba that contains a mix of caffeine and approximately 30% methamphetamine. Similar to ecstasy and other club drugs, yaba is often stamped with logos, most commonly the letters R or WY.

Although people usually swallow yaba, some melt the pills and inhale the vapor or crush and snort it. It can also be combined with solvents and injected into a vein.

The pills primarily originate from Burma and are sold in Thailand, but they have also been trafficked into the U.S. through the mail. Yaba is most common in East and Southeast Asia, but meth pills have been found in the U.S. rave scene, as well.

Liquid Meth

Drug smugglers frequently dissolve meth in water and traffic the drug in liquid form. Liquid meth is a syrup-like, dark yellow fluid that is usually stored in liquor bottles and other common containers.

However, meth is rarely sold on the streets as a liquid. After it is trafficked, it is usually boiled back into a powder for consumption or sale.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is a devastating condition that gradually destroys the mind and body of those who suffer from it. Individuals who are dependent on meth are encouraged to seek help as soon as possible before circumstances worsen further and result in permanent impairments or death.

Our center offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment in both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. All of our programs include services critical to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

We employ caring, knowledgeable medical professionals who administer services to our clients with compassion and expertise and also provide them with the resources they so desperately need to recover and enjoy longstanding wellness and sobriety.

Please contact us immediately if you are ready to regain your life free of drugs or alcohol! We can help!

Related: What are Schedule II Drugs?

Long-Term Effects of Meth

long-term effects of meth | harmony recovery center

Long-Term Effects of Meth – Meth (methamphetamine) is a powerful and usually illicit stimulant drug that can be administered in a variety of ways and cause widespread damage to one’s health and well-being. Some of the long-term effects of meth use can be more serious than those of other illicit drugs, and some may be irreversible.

Among the many adverse consequences of long-term meth use is the development of an addiction. Those addicted to meth will begin to engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite adverse outcomes – an effect caused by meth’s ability to produce vast changes in the brain’s reward system.

Tolerance, Dependence, and Withdrawal

As with most long-term drug consumption, users tend to develop a tolerance to the meth, requiring higher and higher dosages to experience the desired effects. This condition occurs because of the brain’s tendency to reduce the impact of a psychoactive substance in response to repeated exposure. Tolerance increases the risk of overdose and further intensifies an addiction.

Also, over time, users can become dependent on meth, meaning that the brain has become so accustomed to the drug’s presence that it can no longer function properly without it. This condition results in highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the user attempts to quit or cut back, including depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and intense cravings.

long-term effects of meth | harmony recovery center

Research has revealed that long-term meth users’ brains are altered to the point that they find it difficult to experience pleasure other than that produced by the drug, which encourages further drug abuse. Chronic methamphetamine abusers may also experience symptoms such as the following:

  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Aggression
  • Violent outbursts

Psychotic Effects

Excessive meth use can also produce psychotic features that include paranoia and delusions, as well as visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations. For example, some chronic meth abusers report the feeling of insects crawling under their skin.

Unfortunately, some of these psychotic features can continue for months or years after the user stops taking meth. In fact, recurrence of these symptoms can be triggered by stressful situations long after the person has discontinued use.

Emotion and Memory

Neuroimaging research has found that meth abuse significantly interferes with dopaminergic activity, leading to reduced motor function and impaired verbal learning. Others studies have shown that meth users exhibit severe damage in the region of the brain linked to memory and emotion.

Meth abuse can also adversely impact brain cells known as microglia, which support the brain by eliminating damaged neurons and defending against infections. However, excessive microglial activity in the brain can damage healthy neurons.

Imaging studies have revealed that the brains of former meth abusers have double the quantity of microglial cells compared to people who were never exposed to meth.

long-term effects of meth | harmony recovery center

Some Long-Term Effects of Meth are Irreversible

Studies have also shown that some of the brain damage induced by chronic meth abuse is partly reversible. Motor and verbal memory have shown some improvement after prolonged abstinence from meth – but this reversal may take more than a year.

One study, however, revealed that other brain functions damaged by meth use did not recover even after 14 months, and other research has found that meth use increases the risk of stroke and leads a higher incidence of Parkinson’s disease – conditions that are irreversible.

There are other physical effects that meth users can encounter including severe weight loss, skin sores and rampant tooth decay, tooth loss, and gum disease, a condition also known as “meth mouth.”

Other Damage

Chronic users can also experience an overall increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat that can result in cardiovascular collapse or death, as well as liver, kidney and lung damage.

Other irreversible long-term effects of meth include the following:

  • Irreparable damage to blood vessels in the brain and heart
  • Deterioration of tissues in the nasal cavity if snorted
  • Respiratory problems if smoked
  • Infections and abscesses if injected
  • Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth abuse and addiction are incredibly dangerous conditions that wreak havoc on the lives of those suffering and those around them. Treatment usually begins with a medical detox – a process in which the patient is monitored around the clock for several days while their body clears itself of harmful toxins.

After detox, patients are highly encouraged to enroll in an inpatient or intensive outpatient addiction treatment program. Our center offers comprehensive, integrated programs that include behavioral therapy, counseling, education, group counseling, and more.

Our center employs professional medical staff who deliver these services to our clients with compassion and expertise in addiction. We can provide clients with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

You can regain your life free from drugs and alcohol! Call us now to find out how we can help!