Methamphetamine, also known as “meth” or “crystal meth,” is a highly potent stimulant drug that can cause an array of adverse side effects such as significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior.
The most common methods of administration people use when using meth are smoking or snorting. However, long-term meth abuse will cause you to develop a tolerance. Tolerance means that your body becomes accustomed to the amount of meth you are abusing, causing lower doses to no longer affect you in the manner you crave and driving people to increase their dose.
Because of increasing tolerance, you may begin to use other methods of administration to get high on meth. People who have built a tolerance to smoking and snorting meth tend to advance to intravenous (IV) methamphetamine abuse because injecting it causes more potent effects.
Unfortunately, shooting up meth is extremely dangerous. Being aware of the risks and dangers of injecting meth can prevent you from experiencing life-threatening complications and motivate you to seek the help you need.
What are the Effects of Abusing Meth?
People abuse methamphetamine to experience a rush of euphoria and a long-lasting increase of energy. Because meth is a powerful stimulant drug, even small amounts can produce powerful effects. However, it is important to note that the desirable effects of meth are short-lived, while the adverse effects can last up to 14 hours.
The short-term effects of meth abuse include:
- Increased attention and decreased fatigue
- Increased activity and wakefulness
- Decreased appetite
- Increased respiration
- Rapid and irregular heartbeat
- Feelings of anxiety and paranoia
When you abuse meth, your brain releases high amounts of dopamine. Regular meth abuse trains your brain to associate meth use with feelings of pleasure, causing you to crave more once it wears off. This is how methamphetamine addiction begins, causing you to become stuck in a cycle of substance abuse, cravings, and withdrawal.
Why Would Someone Inject Meth?
Repeated methamphetamine use will result in the development of tolerance. The same amount of meth that affected you previously will no longer provide the same rushes of euphoria and increased energy. As a result, you may begin to increase the amount of meth you use.
Sometimes, instead of increasing the amount of methamphetamine, people switch their method of administration to combat a growing tolerance. The manner in which you abuse a substance can change the potency of the effects you experience. While smoking and snorting are popular ways to abuse meth, injecting meth provides a more intense high.
The Dangers of Shooting Up Meth
Injecting meth is incredibly dangerous because all of the substance enters your bloodstream at once, producing extremely potent effects.
Potential risks and dangers of shooting up meth include:
Track Marks and Infections
The first risks associated with the IV use of any substance include physical injuries related to the needle itself. When you use a needle to inject a drug into your veins, you will develop track marks. Track marks are small puncture wounds around the site of injection and are a telltale sign of IV drug abuse.
Additionally, shooting up meth can result in collapsed veins which occur when you repeatedly inject a substance into the same spot, causing your blood to no longer be able to flow through your veins.
Even further, IV meth use can result in skin infections and abscesses. These occur when you use dirty needles or fail to clean your injection sites. While many of these infections are not life-threatening, they can become fatal without medical treatment.
Lastly, if you share needles with other people you could develop blood-borne diseases like HIV or hepatitis.
Because shooting up meth causes the most potent effects, IV meth use comes with an increased risk of experiencing a fatal overdose. This risk increases substantially when you develop a tolerance to the drug and begin increasing your dosage.
If left untreated, meth overdoses can be fatal. The symptoms of a meth overdose include:
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat
- High body temperature
- Difficulty breathing
Meth abuse can damage the brain in three different ways:
- Acute changes to neurotransmitters
- Brain cell death
- Rewiring the brain’s reward system
The acute changes to neurotransmitters that occur after long-term meth abuse can lead to several mood changes, including feelings of irritability, apathy, rage, depression, insomnia, and anxiety.
When it comes to the rewiring of your brain’s reward system, meth does this by releasing large amounts of dopamine. Over time, your brain associates meth with feelings of pleasure and reward which cause you to crave the substance when you are not using it.
One of the most concerning effects meth abuse has on your brain is the death of certain brain cells. Long-term meth abuse can cause brain cell death in parts of your brain associated with self-control. Unfortunately, this type of cell death is not reversible, which means you could experience long-term symptoms and mental health issues that are not curable but manageable with treatment.
Finding Help for IV Meth Abuse
If you or a loved one are addicted to meth, you must seek help from a reputable drug rehab center near you. The long-term risks and dangers of IV meth abuse are substantial and irreversible. With the help of a meth rehab center, you can receive the support and tools you need to maintain long-term recovery.
To learn more about our meth addiction treatment program in New Jersey, contact Moving Mountains Recovery Center today.