Injecting Meth – Methamphetamine (meth) is a highly addictive stimulant that boosts activity in the central nervous system (CNS), resulting in accelerated breathing, increased body temperature, and elevated heart rate. Meth is most often abused for its euphoric effects and ability to increase energy and alertness and suppress appetite. However, it is also notorious for provoking severe and debilitating effects on the physical health and well-being of users, as well as adversely impacting the lives of those close to them.
Meth can be administered by oral consumption, smoking, snorting, or injecting. Injecting meth is also commonly known as “slamming” or “shooting.” No means of ingestion is ever safe, but injecting poses risks that may be more serious than others. For one, slamming meth can rapidly contribute to the development of addiction because of the intensity in which the resulting effects are experienced.
Effects of Injecting Meth
Injecting causes meth to enter the brain rapidly, and induces an intense “rush” or sense of euphoria. This effect only continues for a few minutes, however, so the user will soon need to inject more of the drug to resume experiencing the desired effects. This is why meth is frequently used in a binge-style pattern, as the user repeatedly injects over a short period in an attempt to maintain the high.
Binging is eventually followed by a phase called “tweaking,” which can persist for several days, and then a “crash.” During this time, people may neglect normal daily functions and responsibilities (e.g., personal hygiene) in favor of meth abuse.
The euphoria experienced by a meth user is caused by a rapid release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved with feelings of pleasure and reward that positively reinforce drug-using behaviors. During the early stages of a high, the user experiences the characteristic, sought-after stimulant effects, including exhilaration and energy, as well as a flurry of thoughts and rapid speech. The person may also exhibit an increase in impulsive behavior and a hyperactive sex drive.
In the later stages, the user may encounter restlessness, nervousness, paranoia, and psychosis. Cravings for more meth are likely to manifest in the later phase, as well as a depressed mood and severe fatigue.
Dangers of Slamming Meth
Slamming meth can lead to many serious health problems. These are associated with both the use of the drug and the usual method of administration. Below are some complications that may result from injecting meth:
- Track lines
- Puncture marks
- Skin sores, abscesses, and infections
- Collapsed veins
Users who inject meth also face a heightened risk of contracting HIV, hepatitis B and C, and tuberculosis.The risk of contracting HIV is higher due to both the sharing of needles and engaging in risky sexual behavior, which is common for those who use meth due to a hyperactive sex drive.
The following are additional harmful effects related to meth abuse, regardless of the means of administration:
- Violent behavior
- Mood disturbances
- Memory problems
- Cognitive impairments
- Weight loss
- Poor motor function
- Irregular heartbeat
- Heart attack and stroke
Chemical Imbalances and Brain Damage
Over time, shooting meth alters the user’s brain chemistry significantly. Prolonged use contributes to tolerance, which is characterized by the person’s need to use increasing amounts of the drug to achieve the desired high (repeated exposure = diminished response).
As the brain grows accustomed to the continued presence of meth, it also becomes unable to function normally without it—a condition referred to as dependence. Once a person has become dependent on meth, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use, such as extreme cravings, depression, and sleep disturbances.
As noted, meth has a significant impact on the dopaminergic system in the brain. 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 effects because the drug destroys dopaminergic neurons, which then result in reduced levels of these neurotransmitters in the brain.
Addiction and Treatment
Meth addiction is a devastating disease that will eventually destroy the mind and body of those who use it and profoundly impact those who love them. People who are addicted to meth are urged to seek help immediately before circumstances deteriorate further and lead to irreversible impairments or death.
Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers integrated, evidence-based treatment in both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. All of our programs include services vital to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual, group, and family counseling, group support, and more.
Our knowledgeable addiction professionals administer care to our clients with care and expertise. We provide our clients with the tools and support they need to recover and begin to experience long-lasting wellness and sobriety.
Please contact us as soon as possible if you are ready to reclaim your life free of drugs or alcohol! We can help!