Last updated on May 7th, 2019 at 10:45 am
You’ve likely heard of methamphetamines before, but what exactly is meth and how does it work?
Read on to find out what meth is and how it affects the health of the user. After you read about its ingredients, you may want to stay clear of it. Some of these facts about meth might even surprise you.
What Is Meth?
Crystal methamphetamine, or meth, is a type of methamphetamine. It is a highly-addictive stimulant with serious effects on the health of the user. Meth is also illegal as a schedule II drug.
Crystal meth is odorless. It takes the form of bluish-white rocks or glass. Thus, its common names include: crystal, ice, blue ice, glass, and speed.
The reason why meth can be so addicting is that it increases the brain’s dopamine production. Like cocaine, it makes you feel good or gives you a sense of pleasure. This is the rumored “rush” that is difficult to let go of.
When the rush dissipates however, the user will do anything to get it back. He will then continue to use the drug, each time at higher doses because of his increasing tolerance. The higher the doses of meth you take, the bigger the risks to your health.
What Is Meth Made Of?
Meth has ingredients like acetone, sulfuric acid, sodium hydroxide, and hydrochloric acid. Lithium, red phosphorus, toluene, and anhydrous ammonia are also some of its components. Ephedrine or pseudoephedrine is an ingredient that harms the respiratory system.
As you can see, all these ingredients are dangerous to humans on their own. Crystal meth is the combination of all these, making it very hazardous to health. Stay far away from meth, or seek help to stop abusing drugs.
How Is It Taken?
Movies and TV show a variety of drugs snorted up nostrils or smoked in glass pipes. You might have also seen some syringes involved in those scenes. There is a chance that meth may have been one of those drugs.
There are several ways to intake methamphetamine. These ways depend on the form of the crystals—whether they are solid, liquid, or gas. The method of intake for this drug differs by geographical location.
Of the 1.2 million people that have tried meth at least once in their lives, smoking or inhaling it is the most common way of ingesting it. Users can also snort it through the nose or take it orally in a pill capsule. Another method of taking methamphetamine includes injecting it into various body parts.
Who Takes It?
In theory, anybody can become an addict. Meth users come from many different populations. There are, however, certain demographic trends that we can observe among meth users.
First-time users can start at the age of 12. The typical age range for users is between 19 and 30.
There is no discrimination against gender either. Women are at risk of using meth because of a desire to lose weight, gain more energy, raise sexual pleasure, or increase confidence. Among homosexual men, a minority uses meth to “party and play” or gain confidence.
Oftentimes, meth users introduce meth to their friends as a “club drug”. That means people ingest it when they go to nightclubs or raves for increased pleasurability.
As of 2016, the states Michigan and Indiana had the highest number of seized clandestine laboratories for methamphetamine production.
Brief History of Meth
Methamphetamine first came into the scene around 1919 in Japan. It became a popular drug for kamikaze pilots during World War II. It later became a drug to fight obesity and depression during the 1950s.
It became illegal for use in the US by the 1970s. It continued to grow however, and by the 1990’s, it spread across the United States, Mexico, and Europe (via the Czech Republic).
Meth is now produced primarily across China, Myanmar, and Thailand.
Meth Effects on the Body
Now you know what meth is and what it’s made of. We’ve informed you about where you can see it often and who falls victim to it. Now, what does meth actually do to you?
Effects on the Mind and Body
There are several effects that meth takes on the mind and body:
- Increased alertness and concentration
- Hyperactivity and insomnia
- Anxiety, irritability, and aggressiveness or violent behavior
- Decreased appetite
- Increased energy and libido
- Irregular or rapid heartbeat
- Rapid breathing
- Increased body temperature
- Increased blood pressure
These are some of the immediate effects on both the mind and body.
Now, imagine all these things happening to your body and mind all the time. That’s what we’ll tackle in the long-term effects of methamphetamine.
Long-Term and Short-Term Health Effects
Crystal meth is infamous for its unhealthy side effects for both long-term and short-term use. This includes “meth mouth”. This is where the teeth fall out and decay because of meth use.
As stated above, meth can give increased energy and alertness. Too much energy and high alertness for too long a time aren’t good for anybody’s mental health. Prolonged use of methamphetamine causes extreme mood swings, hallucinations, and paranoia.
At first, meth may seem to be the answer to lose all that extra weight. Over time, it will lead to anorexia. More side effects include acne, itchy skin, dry skin, profuse sweating, and pale skin of the unhealthy shade.
Hyperthermia is also a side effect of meth abuse. Dizziness, diarrhea, and headaches are the results of prolonged drug use as well. Let’s not forget the high blood pressure, numbness, palpitations, and abnormal heart rhythm.
Over time, these effects can cause complications. Meth overdose may lead to convulsions, stroke, heart attack, and death. The drug is also like alcohol in that it leads to lowered inhibitions, making it dangerous to the user.
If you have a friend who displays these symptoms, observe their behavior. If you’re concerned they are using, there are over 13,500 treatment facilities for substance abuse in the US. Reach out to the one nearest you and help your friend.
Using Meth With Other Drugs
More often than not, people who take meth mix it with other drugs. This is not necessarily a gateway drug, yet it very often gets mixed with others.
What Common Drugs Are Used With Meth?
Like alcoholic drinks, someone thought mixing drugs would be fun. However, a better, stronger, longer-lasting high is not always the effect of combining drugs. What we know for sure is that it makes the side effects much worse.
The drug most often paired with meth is marijuana. Next most common is GHB or the ‘date rape drug’. Other drugs mixed with meth are ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, special K, and Viagra.
Meth usage is also often used in sexual encounters with other drugs. HIV is a common disease found in users who use meth polydrugs before or during sexual encounters. Meth can be also mixed into alcoholic drinks.
Avoid It At All Costs
Do you have more questions about meth and other drugs? Think you’re going to need to go to rehab?
Contact us or visit our page for more information on addiction treatment.