What Does Meth Feel Like? The Effects of Methamphetamine

What Does Meth Feel Like? The Effects of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine, commonly called meth, crystal meth, speed, or ice, is a potent upper that keeps people awake for long periods of time, resulting in insomnia and fatigue. It comes in powder, snorted, smoked, or injected form. Meth notoriously produces a short-term high that users describe as intense and euphoric.

That being said, people often wonder, “What does meth feel like?” In short, it provides an exhilarating rush but can also make people feel agitated, paranoid, and aggressive. Meth addiction can also cause several dangerous physical side effects, such as increased heart rate, blood pressure, and irregular heartbeat.

Stages of a Meth High

People who use meth commonly experience intense energy and euphoria, as well as increased alertness, talkativeness, and reduced appetite. They may feel highly confident, become easily agitated, and experience paranoia and visual and auditory hallucinations. It can increase risk-taking behaviors and lead to anxiety and depression when not high. In addition, each stage of a meth high has different characteristics and lasts for various lengths of time, which begins with a rush and ends in withdrawals.

  • Rush: A short-term intense high, lasting from just a few minutes to up to 30 minutes.
  • High: An extended euphoria and alertness, lasting from 4-24 hours.
  • Binge: Using meth repeatedly over several days or weeks at increasing doses.
  • Tweaking: Experiencing erratic behavior, insomnia, and paranoia for days or weeks after the binge.
  • Crash: Long periods of exhaustion and depression lasting last for several days.
  • Withdrawal: Cravings, fatigue, and depression that can last for weeks or months.

Coming down from a meth high can cause various physical and emotional symptoms. These may include fatigue, insomnia, depression, agitation, anxiety, tremors, and cravings. Additional physical side effects of meth such as headaches, changes in body temperature, dizziness, constipation, appetite changes, and meth mouth, may occur.

However, WebMD notes many potential treatment options for meth addiction, including psychotherapy, lifestyle modifications, medications, and rehabilitation centers. In addition, using meth can damage your brain, make you see and hear things that aren’t there, cause psychosis, take away your appetite, and cause you to give up loved ones and activities you enjoy. 

Why Does Meth Make You Feel Good?

Meth is a stimulant drug that acts on the central nervous system, triggering the release of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with feelings of pleasure. As the drug builds up in the body, the effects of meth produce intense euphoria.

As a result, meth turns on the part of the brain that gives pleasure and triggers an intense euphoric feeling. This feeling is often described as an adrenaline rush. The dopamine released also contributes to increased energy, boosted confidence, increased self-esteem, and decreased fear or anxiety. These effects add to the feeling of being “high.”

How People Abuse Meth

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, meth has been used since the early 1900s. Initially, meth treated narcolepsy and ADD, and its use was regulated until the 1950s. During the late 1960s and 1970s, meth use increased as a recreational drug. It became a significant public health concern, with reported increased crime and psychological problems associated with its use. In the 1980s, its use declined, but it steadily increased throughout the 1990s and 2000s and is still widely used recreationally.

There are four standard methods for abusing meth: smoking, snorting, injecting, and taking it orally.

  • Smoking is the most used method due to its fast-acting effects. Smoking affects the brain quickly and dramatically increases the user’s heart rate and blood pressure, increasing the risk of stroke or heart attack.
  • Snorting involves inhaling the drug through the nose, which can take up to 8 minutes to take effect. The user’s immediate effect of snorting meth is a rush of intense pleasure, quickly followed by intense cravings for more, leading to a cycle of abuse. Snorting increases the chance of addiction and can lead to various health problems, including anxiety, depression, aggression, seizures, and even death.
  • Injecting requires heating and injecting the drug directly into the bloodstream, leading to an even faster effect. Injecting meth is extremely dangerous and can lead to dependence, overdose, health issues, and even death.
  • Taking meth orally typically results in a slower onset but more substantial effects. Meth taken orally can have several risks. It can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular complications. Additionally, long-term oral use of meth can cause kidney damage and neurological damage.

Glass pipes, lighters, scales, shot glasses, test tubes, and needles are typical paraphernalia used to abuse meth. Empty containers of chemicals, burners, tubing, and lab glassware are used in meth production. Lastly, ammonia, brake cleaner, acetone, muriatic acid, battery acid, and other toxic substances, including alcohol, are often used in the process.

Long-Term Symptoms of Meth Use

While the physical side effects of meth use include increased heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, depression, aggression, hallucinations, paranoia, nodding off during daily activities, and seizure, other symptoms are noticeable to those close to the person abusing meth.

A study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also explains some signs that those close to meth users can recognize. Those include secretive or suspicious behavior, changes in sleep and eating habits, increased talkativeness, and unusual bursts of energy. As the abuse continues, there can be unusual smells emitting from the individual’s clothing and breath, a lack of attention to personal hygiene, and an obsession with weight loss.

Long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse on the brain include depression, anxiety, reduced cognitive abilities, memory loss, and paranoia. Drug use also affects the body by increasing the risk of developing heart, lung, and kidney problems, weakening the immune system, and increasing the risk of stroke.

Getting Treatment for Meth Addiction

Drug addiction treatment can be done through various methods. The best way to start is to speak with a professional in the substance use field who will help assess you or your loved ones situation and plan an individualized treatment program. Treatment for this addictive drug can include detoxification, counseling, support groups, and medications. Long-term recovery requires active participation and commitment of the individual and their family to make lifestyle changes.

Don’t let meth addiction hold you back from the life you deserve. Southeast Addiction Center is here to help. We’re available 24/7 to assist you in any way we can. We’ll help you decide if our medical drug detox is right for you. Give us a call at (833) 605-1278 or email us at info@southeastaddiction.com. Get the help you need now.

Picture of Reviewed by: Nick Diamantides

Reviewed by: Nick Diamantides

Southeast detox was founded on the belief that everyone deserves an opportunity to live a beautiful life. Comprised of a leadership team with over a decade in the industry. We have built a team of loving and compassionate staff eager to help you or your loved one get their lives back on track.

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