How Meth is Metabolized
When a person uses meth, the body starts to process it immediately as it circulates through the blood. Some of this is converted into pure amphetamine.
After a few hours, the body begins to metabolize both the meth and amphetamine and the substances start their journey through the liver and kidneys, soon to be partially excreted through urine.
Some research has shown that as much as half of a meth dose can be eliminated from the body in its original form – moreover, not having been metabolized, nor the user having experienced any effects at all from this portion.
Long-term meth use can also increase the risk of heart disease, cognitive defects, neurotoxicity, and early death. Meth use also significantly raises the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, even in young people
Meth use also wreaks havoc on oral hygiene and many long-term meth users end up with tooth decay from dry mouth and even dentures.
Snorting meth, like cocaine, also increases a user’s risk of nosebleeds, infections, and irreversible damage to the nasal septum and surrounding tissues.
Injecting meth, on the other hand, can result in damage to the skin and veins, including abscesses and infections.
Also, people using meth frequently may have an unkempt appearance and tend to neglect critical personal responsibilities such as child-rearing, housekeeping, and employment.
Many meth users also use other drugs or alcohol, which is far more dangerous than abusing meth alone.
Using meth in combination with another stimulant, for example, can lead to sudden death by heart attack. And using meth in conjunction with a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, on the other hand, can result in unpredictable and possibly life-threatening complications such as respiratory arrest.
It’s also becoming increasingly common to find meth on the streets that is tainted with other drugs, such as fentanyl, a powerful synthetic painkiller similar in effect to heroin, but far more potent.
While overdosing on meth is rarely fatal, overdosing on fentanyl-laced meth can cause death when the primary effects of meth wear off and fentanyl is still active in the body.
Treatment for Meth Abuse
Unlike other substances such as opioids and alcohol, there is no medication-assisted treatment for meth withdrawals. However, undergoing a medical detox offers patients a clinically-supervised withdrawal period in which vital signs can be monitored for complications.
After a short detox period, patients should participate in one of our addiction treatment programs, either on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Inpatients stay in our center around-the-clock for at least 30 days. Outpatients visit the center a few times per week but live in a personal residence or sober living facility.
Both programs offer vital therapeutic elements needed for recovery, including psychotherapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, and holistic practices such as meditation and art therapy.
After treatment has been completed, patients can still participate in an aftercare program which includes support group meetings and alumni activities.