Meth Comedown and Addiction – Methamphetamine (meth, speed, glass, ice, crystal) is a white crystalline drug with stimulant effects that is administered by snorting, smoking, or injecting. Regardless of method, however, all of those who use meth illicitly will develop a strong desire to continue using it due to the drug’s addictive properties.
When consumed, meth produces a false sense of happiness and well-being, beginning with a rush of confidence, hyperactiveness, energy, and decreased appetite. These effects generally last from six to eight hours but can persist for up to a full day.
What is Meth? How Does It Work?
With the rare exception of Desoxyn, meth is an illicit, Schedule II drug in the same class as cocaine and other dangerous street drugs. The most common method of meth use is inhaling or smoking it using a pipe, tin foil, and lighter. It can also be administered orally as a pill, or dissolved in water and injected into the veins. It can be found as a powder or in a whitish-blue rock-like form known as crystal meth.
Meth use increases the production of dopamine, a chemical responsible for feelings of well-being and reward – by some estimates, production can be accelerated 1,000 times more than normal, resulting in a euphoric rush.
Unfortunately, however, that feeling only lasts a short time. The rush is followed by hyperactivity, talkativeness, and seemingly boundless energy that upon cessation, often compels users to repeat use in a binge-style fashion to avoid the comedown, tweaking, and withdrawals.
Short- and Long -Term Effects of Meth
Short-term effects of meth use include the following:
- Appetite loss
- Sudden weight loss
- Elevated heart rate and temperature
- Increased blood pressure
- Bizarre behavior
- Pupil dilation
- A sudden surge of energy
- Heavy sweating
Prolonged use can result in a myriad of other problems. Long-term effects of meth use include:
- Loss of teeth
- Dry skin
- Severe breakouts
- Damaged brain
- Weakened state
- Compromised immune system
- Suicidal and homicidal thoughts
- Liver and kidney damage
- Bad breath
- Cardiovascular damage
- Severe malnutrition
- Paranoia and psychosis
- Loss of focus or disorientation
Also, when sharing contaminated needles, those who inject are vulnerable to hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and HIV. It’s also not uncommon for addicts to engage in risky sexual behaviors.
Over time, the damage done to the brain of someone who uses meth may be equivalent to that of Alzheimer’s disease or a stroke. In fact, long-term, frequent meth users may never be the same again after brain damage has occurred.
There is also the possibility of an overdose, which can lead to death. One serious side effect of meth is hyperthermia dangerously high body temperature) which can cause kidney failure. An overdose of meth is considered to be a medical emergency and help should be sought immediately.
Other symptoms of an overdose may include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pains
- Rapid heartbeat
- Having trouble controlling motor movements
- Extremely painful headache
- Tremors and unrestrained jerking
Initially, the euphoric effects of meth will last up to eight hours or longer, but this interval often becomes shorter with prolonged use. It’s not uncommon for addicts to seek another hit after 2-3 hours to avoid a comedown.
A meth comedown is a period in which the effects of the drug wear off and the user begins to “crash.” This is not the same as withdrawal syndrome, and it actually a bit more akin to an alcohol hangover.
Symptoms of meth comedown:
- Deep sadness
- Lethargy and a feeling of hopelessness
- Lack of motivation
- Trouble sleeping
- Dehydration, which leads to headaches
- Jaw pain due to clenching
- Intense cravings
The comedown stage will last until the next fix or until the user’s body begins to go into full withdrawal.
What Happens During a Meth Comedown?
Effects of meth typically last from 4-12 hours. A meth comedown will begin to occur almost immediately afterward. Feelings of euphoria and energy gradually turn to tiredness, anxiety, irritability, and sometimes erratic behavior. Headache, increased hunger, and concentration difficulties frequently ensue. Users may want to sleep excessively or may not be able to sleep at all.
Meth Comedown and Tweaking
One particularly dangerous aspect of a meth comedown is referred to as “tweaking.” Tweaking generally occurs after a binge, when a person has been using continually for several days. Binging is a means to avoid a comedown, crash, withdrawal symptoms, what have you.
But as the binge continues, the high becomes less and less intense. With each repeated use, the effects become weaker. Tweaking occurs when the addict can no longer produce a high. The body and mind simply won’t react to smoking meth anymore, and the person is desperately tired from a lack of sleep and may enter a mental state that is borderline psychotic.
Despite the user’s cravings, he or she can no longer achieve a high so eventually has no choice but to enter the “crash” stage in which the body shuts down and sleep is finally induced – a sleep that can last for several days while the person’s body attempts to recover from the binge.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is a serious, life-threatening condition that has significant health and social consequences for the person suffering. It is most effectively treated through participation in a residential (inpatient) program followed by intensive outpatient treatment.
Our center offers both formats which include psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, and group support. Our medical and mental health staff specialize in addiction and can provide clients with the tools they need to achieve sobriety and enjoy long-lasting recovery from drugs and alcohol.