man in hoodie on meth

Can Methamphetamine Kill You?

Methamphetamine, a central nervous system stimulant, is one of the most popular illicit drugs in the United States. In 2015, close to 5 million people in the country sought treatment for meth addiction. The drug can be inhaled via smoking, swallowed, snorted or injected. Meth is chemically similar to amphetamine, which is a prescription medication that can treat for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

If you’re wondering whether meth can kill you, the drug is most certainly deadly. The number of people who have died due to meth use increases year to year in the U.S.

Meth is especially popular in rural areas. Indiana has the most meth labs of any state while Tennessee, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois round out the top five. Certain meth death statistics also show how the deadly the drug can be. According to the CATO Institute, the number of deaths due to use of meth nearly tripled in Oregon from 2014 to 2016, rising from around 50 to nearly 150. The upward trend is nationwide, too. The National Center for Health Statistics reported that the number of drug overdoses involving meth rose from 5 percent in 2010 to 11 percent in 2015.

Many people wonder why meth is so addictive. Two of the main effects of using the drug are a burst of energy and a concurrent euphoric high. These are the result of the release of dopamine, a pleasure-inducing chemical that interacts with the brain and share the effects of another stimulant substance, cocaine. When dopamine is released at increased rates and volumes due to the use of meth, the body becomes accustomed to these chemical levels and associates the release of the chemical with the presence of the drug.

Forming this psychological and physical connection to meth can result in a dependence forming, which can lead to people needing a larger amount of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Increasing the dose can be risky due to the potential of an overdose occurring.

How to Help Someone Addicted to Crystal Meth

Meth comes in multiple forms: as a white powder or pill, or as glass fragments, the latter of which is known as crystal meth. Regardless of form, meth is extremely dangerous and an addiction to this substance is a disease that afflicts many people.

The question of how to help someone addicted to meth has been asked many times by friends and loved ones of someone struggling. Since the drug is a stimulant and causes a chemical change for the body, simply not taking the substance any longer can be challenging. Meth addiction can lead to withdrawal, which includes uncomfortable experiences and effects such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Increased appetite
  • Itching
  • Dry mouth
  • Paranoia
  • Changes in body temperature

However, going through withdrawal from meth is one of the first steps in the recovery process. Regular use of the drug can lead to extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, sores from itching and scratching, hallucinations, violent behavior and other negative consequences, including death. Not only do people overdose from using the substance but the withdrawal symptoms and cravings can lead to feelings of depression or thoughts of suicide. The drug also can impair a person’s thought process and motor functions and lead to accidents that result in serious injury or death. Since the drug can be taken intravenously, people who use the drug with this method can develop diseases such as HIV or other deadly infections.

If you are wondering how to help someone with a meth addiction, call The Recovery Village as soon as possible. Undergoing detoxification, which is the physical removal of a substance from a person’s body, in a clinical setting can help mitigate the severity of withdrawal. The first few hours or days following the end of a person’s meth use can be the most difficult, but a healthier future is attainable.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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