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
- Memory/cognitive impairments
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Impaired motor functioning
- 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!