Is Speed as Addictive as Meth?

black and white image of smoke coming from man's mouth

At first glance, it’s not difficult to see why people confuse amphetamine and methamphetamine. They both produce a stimulant chemical high that can rapidly lead to dependence. Both are also highly addictive. They even have a similar chemical makeup, which helps to create even more confusion.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, both drugs have the same short-term effects, namely a quick onset of intense euphoria, a burst of energy, and appetite suppression. These three effects largely contribute to their popularity as recreational drugs. But what are the differences between the two drugs, and would taking one be more harmful than the other?

Difference Between Amphetamine and Methamphetamine

Since both drugs are used recreationally, you would often hear their “street names” used when referring to them. Amphetamines are known as “speed”, while meth goes by a range of names, with “ice” or “crystal meth” being the most widely known. The latter’s wide recognition may be attributed to the popular series Breaking Bad.

Let’s take a closer look at each substance.


Amphetamines are drugs that stimulate the central nervous system. After taking amphetamines, the user will experience a greater ability to focus on tasks, as well as an increased sense of productiveness.

Doctors prescribe amphetamines to people with ADHD to help with focus and concentration, and you may be familiar with one of the most well-known brands of the drug: Adderall.

When prescribed, amphetamines come in either pill or tablet form. For street use, however, “speed” looks like a loose powder that is snorted, smoked, or injected.


Since methamphetamine (meth) is very similar to amphetamines (speed) in terms of their chemical make-up, they also have similar effects. There is one key difference, however, and this difference goes a long way toward explaining why meth tends to be much more addictive than ‘regular’ speed.

In short, methamphetamine crosses the blood-brain barrier more rapidly and in greater amounts than amphetamines. The result of this is an almost immediate and incredibly intense euphoric high.

Why Meth is Highly Addictive

While both substances are classified as Schedule II controlled substances by the DEA, doctors are warier to prescribe meth because of the extreme reaction triggered by the drug. Since meth is more fast-acting, people are more prone to getting addicted to the effects and going on binges to “chase” the high, which can lead to addiction much faster.

Another reason why people are more prone to getting addicted to meth is the method of consumption. Smoking or injecting meth results in the drug getting into the bloodstream much quicker compared to ingesting a pill or snorting powder.

Are There Harmful Long-Term Effects?

Yes, there are harmful long-term effects for both speed and meth if they are taken for recreational use, rather than under a strict and controlled prescription. These effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Blurry vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Psychosis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Heart damage
  • Permanent brain damage

Is Speed as Addictive as Meth?

In a nutshell: no, speed is not as addictive as meth because of the speed at which meth crosses the blood-brain barrier and becomes active in the body’s metabolism. However, this does not mean that speed is safe to take without a doctor’s prescription. As with any prescribed drug, the only way to safely take amphetamines is to follow the prescribed amount and schedule. Though experimentation with speed is very common, recreational use of it nearly always leads to negatives outcomes.

Methamphetamine Effects on the Body

woman struggling from meth addiction sitting uncomfortably

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (or “meth” for short) was discovered in 1893. During World War II, combatants on both sides of the Atlantic used methamphetamine to stay alert (1). Methamphetamine belongs to a class of drugs called amphetamines. They work by speeding up the functions of the brain. As prescribed by a doctor, amphetamines can be used to treat attention deficit disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and obesity. Some research also indicates that therapeutic doses of amphetamine can improve focus, concentration, and memory (2). Methamphetamine may resemble shards of glass or crystal. For this reason, it may be referred to as “crystal,” “glass,” or “ice” on the street. Other names for it include “tweak,” “speed,” and “tina.” Meth can be consumed by smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injecting.

How Does Meth Affect The Brain?

Meth is a stimulant. It mainly affects the brain’s central nervous system (CNS). This part of the brain that assists in regulating our emotions and behavior. The nerves in this part of your brain are called neurons. As a stimulant, meth makes the natural processes of the neurons work faster. When consuming meth, you experience a heightened sense of energy. Your heart rate increases and your breath quickens. Your blood pressure and body temperature escalate. Your appetite will be suppressed so you won’t feel hungry. Meth also deteriorates the glial cells of the prefrontal cortex. These cells are responsible for judgment, abstract thought, and attention (3). Glial cells are likewise responsible for protecting the body against infection.

Effects of Prolonged Use

Methamphetamine is inexpensive to produce, and it is also incredibly potent. As a result, it is highly addictive. Since its production involves toxic chemicals, making meth can be just as dangerous (if not more so) than consuming it. Labs are known to combust, killing or injuring those nearby. Prolonged use of meth can lead to severe weight loss and malnourishment, memory loss, and repetitive scratching. You are likely also familiar with “meth mouth” via images of users with rotten teeth and gums. Those who inject methamphetamine put themselves at risk for hepatitis B and C, as well as HIV. Living with a constant elevated sense of awareness leads users into paranoia. Combined with a lack of sleep (often for days at a time), hallucinations result. Meth’s hold on the brain is so strong, that users can even experience psychosis during withdrawal or detox. Symptoms of meth psychosis can include stronger hallucinations, delusions, agitation, and violence (4). Between 2011 and 2018, the number of methamphetamine-related deaths increased five-fold (5).

Is Recovery Possible?

Definitely! Recovery is always possible, even from a substance as noxious as methamphetamine. A recent study (6) indicated that a combination of an oral medication (bupropion) and an injection (naltrexone) might aid in treating meth addiction. At present, there are no medication-assisted therapies for recovery. That makes this study a first of its kind. Current treatments for meth addiction include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational incentives (7).

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to methamphetamine, take heart. Treatment is available, and recovery is possible. Call Midwood Addiction Treatment now at 888-628-1110.



What is Crystal Meth Psychosis?

Shows the pain of comorbidly occurring anxiety disorder and addiction

For anyone who’s ever experienced crystal meth-induced psychosis, there’s no need to ask what it is. In fact, most of these people understand it all too well, at least from the first-person perspective. This post is designed to describe the general characteristics of crystal meth-induced psychosis to drug users, their loved ones, and the general public.

A Quick Look at Methamphetamine

A thorough discussion of methamphetamine (or crystal meth) is beyond the scope of this post. However, a generalized understanding of the drug is necessary to understand the phenomenon of crystal meth-induced psychosis.

Here’s a summary of what you need to know about methamphetamine to understand the psychosis that can be associated with it:

  • Crystal meth is a highly addicted central nervous (CNS) stimulant that creates a powerful but temporary sense of euphoria in the user
  • It also increases activity and talkativeness, while decreasing the appetite and the need for sleep
  • The euphoria and increased productivity associated with crystal meth are powerful at first, but the user quickly requires more and more of the drug to achieve the same effect
  • Even after just a few uses, people who imbibe crystal meth can start to experience frightening withdrawal symptoms

This is a very incomplete description of methamphetamine, but it will suffice to give some insight into the phenomenon of crystal meth-induced psychosis.

Crystal Meth Induced Psychosis: An Overview

Crystal meth-induced psychosis is an example of a broader class of stimulant psychoses. Interestingly, the symptoms of crystal meth psychosis can arise as a result of a binge or during acute withdrawal.

Crystal meth-induced psychosis is marked by the following symptoms:

  • Paranoia, including delusions that someone is ‘after them’
  • Feelings of grandiosity
  • Extreme agitation and irritability
  • Erratic movements
  • Auditory and/or visual hallucinations
  • Irrational thinking and speaking
  • Extreme feelings of fear and panic

The symptoms of crystal meth-induced psychosis can resemble those associated with schizophrenic psychosis, but the drug-induced variety tends to resolve much quicker than the type associated with schizophrenic disorders.

It is difficult to predict when (and if) a methamphetamine user will crystal meth-induced psychosis, but there is a definite correlation between the condition and the frequency of use. Long-term users are also more likely to experience crystal meth psychosis, but there are many hidden factors involved as well. Needless to say, it is imperative to seek medical help immediately if you or a loved one experiences any form of drug-induced psychosis.

The Aftermath of Methamphetamine Psychosis

Typically, the worst symptoms of crystal meth-induced psychosis start to improve a day or two after the amphetamine use is discontinued. There may be a few lingering symptoms beyond this time frame, but they can usually be managed without medical care.

However, anyone who experiences crystal meth-induced psychosis should seek emergency medical attention immediately and strongly consider entering a drug treatment facility to get started on the path to long term recovery.

Signs of Meth Use

Signs of Meth Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamine (meth) is an illicit stimulant similar to amphetamine, a prescription drug used to treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD and narcolepsy. Meth is typically more potent than other amphetamines, however, and is only rarely used (i.e. Desoxyn) for any legitimate medical purpose.

Meth is usually obtained illegally – “cooked” at home, or bought from a dealer. On the street, meth is also known as crystal, glass, ice, and crank, among other names. It generally appears as a crystal/rock-like substance that is clear, semi-transparent, or bluish in color, but occasionally can be found in a powdered or tablet form.

Signs of Meth Use

1. Changes in Lifestyle

Meth abusers are often secretive and try to disguise their use. However, over time, it will become increasingly difficult to hide their habit, as they continue to spend an escalating amount of time and money obtaining and using the drug.

As meth use becomes more central in a user’s life as a priority, they will often fail to live up to obligations at work, school, and home. For example, expenses surrounding drug making and/or using may cause financial difficulties, and binges are often followed by long periods of inactivity in which child-rearing and other critical responsibilities are neglected.

2. Mood Swings and Mental Health Changes

Like other psychoactive substances, meth use causes the brain to release massive amounts of dopamine. Over time, the brain becomes less able to produce dopamine on its own terms (without meth.) This effect can leave the user with depression, anxiety, and other adverse feelings during periods of abstinence.

Long-term meth use can also lead to paranoia, delusions, and even psychosis. Users may suffer from irrational fears and adverse mental/emotional effects that persist long after meth use has ended. Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are common among chronic meth abusers when they try to quit or cut back.

3. Behavioral Changes

Because meth is a powerful CNS stimulant, increased activity in the brain and body results in feelings of euphoria and high energy. Users are often extraordinarily talkative and hyperactive and may engage in obsessive and repetitive activities such as cleaning.

Meth users can also experience tactile sensations that cause itching or the feeling of bugs crawling on their skin, leading to compulsive scratching and tell-tale sores from pruritis.

Finally, long-term use typically results in appetite suppression, and thus profound weight loss. Over time, users begin to look malnourished and gaunt from poor eating and sleeping habits.

4. Physical Signs

In addition to itching, non-healing sores, weight loss and a generally run-down appearance, long-term meth users also experience “meth mouth” – a loss of tooth enamel due to poor hygiene and dry mouth, which leads to tooth decay.

The method of use can also affect a meth user’s physical symptoms. For example, people who smoke meth face a higher risk of bronchitis, pneumonia, and other infections, and may suffer from coughing and congestion. And snorting meth, like cocaine, can lead to frequent nosebleeds and permanent damage to the nasal septum and surround tissues.

Finally, injecting meth, not unlike heroin, can lead to open wounds and sores on the skin (track marks) as well as vein damage.

5. Meth Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia for using meth may include any of the following items:

  • Razor, mirror, rolled paper, hollow tube for snorting
  • Glass or metal pipe, bong, foil, light bulb with a hollow tube attached for smoking
  • Spoon, lighter, syringe, surgical tubing for injection

Signs of a Meth Lab

Not all meth users, by any means, cook their own meth. However, the following includes signs that may indicate someone you know is operating a meth lab:

  • Extensive or threatening home security measures such as “Beware of Dog” or “Private Property” signs, fences, or over-the-top alarm systems, etc.
  • Concealment features such as blackened windows, drawn curtains, high fences, etc.
  • Chemical smells are detectable around the home, garage, or yard
  • Garbage contains a number of suspicious bottles, containers, coffee filters, or sheets stained from filtering chemicals
  • Evidence of dumping chemical waste such as burn pits

Treatment For Meth Addiction

Signs of Meth Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Our Approach To Addiction Treatment
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.


⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Crystal Meth Effects

What Is Tweaking?

What is Tweaking? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Tweaking is the 4th stage that meth users experience, and is also the most dangerous. The condition occurs when the user has come to the end of a meth binge, and the drug is no longer is providing the user with the desired rush or a high.

Methamphetamine (meth) is a potent and addictive stimulant drug that can have long-term effects on a user’s body. Meth is a human-made drug that, with the arrival of other more effective and less harmful prescription stimulants, currently has minimal therapeutic use in rare cases of difficult-to-treat ADHD and severe obesity.

Crystal meth is methamphetamine in the form of a semi-transparent white or bluish rock-like crystal, which is usually heated and then smoked in a glass pipe – less commonly it is snorted or injected. The desired effects of both meth and crystal meth effects include increased energy, euphoria, and suppressed appetite.

What Is Tweaking?

Tweaking is a physical and psychological state that can occur following a meth binge, which can sometimes last several days. During a binge, the person continues to use meth to delay the “comedown,” a state that is hallmarked by the increasing loss of desired effects, and positions the user squarely at the onset of highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

After prolonged use, the person is no longer able to experience a high, and the user begins “tweaking.” At this time, the person will feel intense cravings and desperation that can no longer be sated. It is at this point that psychotic symptoms may manifest and the user begins to suffer from delusions, hallucinations, and other altered perceptions.

The experience of a tweaking phase precedes a point in which many users seek and enter addiction treatment programs. Due to psychosis, they may begin sobriety in an inpatient mental health facility before being transferred to medical detox or inpatient rehab.

After experiencing days of insomnia and a loss of appetite, most people do little more than sleep during the days following an episode of tweaking. After this crash comes a period – one that can last up to two weeks – in which the person will be hungry, thirsty, and fatigued as their body tries to re-balance itself after exposure to the substance.

Short-Term Effects of Using Meth

What is Tweaking? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Prolonged use of meth can result in severe anxiety, paranoia, and insomnia. Additionally, thoughts of suicide or violence against others have manifested in some users.

People that use meth are typically looking for the immediate, long-lasting and intense effects for which the drug has gained its reputation. Because meth acts as a powerful stimulant, there is a near-instant euphoric effect after exposure that can last up to 30 minutes, followed by a significant increase in energy, alertness, motivation, and confidence that can last for up to 12 hours.

The desirable high of meth, however, quickly gives way to the much less pleasant effects of the substance – even short-term use can result in erratic and violent behavior when consumed in large doses.

Other side effects of crystal meth include:

  • Poor appetite and weight loss
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Severe mood swings

  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Tremors or convulsions
  • Hyperthermia

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heart rhythm

Long-Term Effects Of Using Meth

When used for a prolonged period, meth use can result in severe physical and psychological issues as acute effects increase in intensity.

Signs and symptoms of long-term meth use include:

  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Sores from skin-picking
  • Confusion/bizarre behavior

  • A feeling of bugs crawling on the skin
  • Psychosis—delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia
  • Depression, anxiety, and social isolation
  • Breathing problems caused by smoke inhalation
  • Irreversible damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain

Chronic Methamphetamine use can also cause outward signs of premature aging. Because the drug damages tissues and blood vessels and hinders the body’s capacity to heal, users often develop acne and other skin blemishes, and the skin begins to lose its elasticity. “Meth mouth” is a condition that is characterized by the widespread deterioration of teeth and gum disease.

Meth Dependency

Because meth use causes the brain to release an increased amount of dopamine – a chemical responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure – the drug has a high potential for addiction.

Researchers believe this elevated activity of dopamine plays a vital role in the development of chemical addiction to certain drugs. Moreover, the positive feelings produced by excessive dopamine are so powerful and intensely rewarding that it reinforces the behavior that was the catalyst for its release.

As users build a tolerance to meth, they need increasing amounts of the drug to experience the desired effects, putting themselves at risk for overdose and continuing to fuel the body’s dependency on it.

After prolonged use, dopamine receptor activity becomes impaired and can cause the user to experience decreased happiness and pleasure (dysphoria) and even result in irreversible cognitive impairment.

Symptoms Of Meth Withdrawal

  • Itchy eyes
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Increased appetite

  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Loss of energy and fatigue

Getting Help For Meth Addiction

Tweaking is dangerous and withdrawing from meth can be very unpleasant and may compel users to relapse in an attempt to relieve symptoms. Participating in a medically supervised detox program, however, can ensure that symptoms are managed and relapse is prevented.

Ideally, successful medical detox should be followed by a long-term stay at a residential rehab program or participation in a structured and intensive outpatient program.

Residential or inpatient programs can be very effective at treating addiction, as they allow the person to concentrate on recovery with minimal distractions and temptations. Most programs range from 30-90 days, but some may offer longer stays for more severe cases of addiction.

You can reclaim the life you deserve and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety! Contact us today and find out how we can help!

Our Approach To Addiction Treatment
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.


⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Signs of Meth Use


Meth Mites and Meth Sores

Meth Mites and Meth Sores | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Meth Mites and Meth Sores – Methamphetamine use can result in devastating effects on a person’s health and well-being. Much of the damage induced by meth happens internally, but the most obvious harm can be seen on a person’s skin, and much of it is caused by the hallucinatory presence of “meth mites.”

People who use meth are infamous for exhibiting sores, scratches, scabs, and scars. These injuries are often attributed to hallucinations that make them believe they have insects under their skin. Meth users often pick or scratch at their skin to try to remove the nonexistent bugs. However, several other factors can contribute to meth sores, including injection track marks, malnutrition, and poor hygiene.

What Are Meth Mites?

“Meth mites,” “meth bugs,” and “crank bugs” are all street terms for the same type of hallucination. People who use meth tend to stay awake for several days, and sleep deprivation itself can induce hallucinations in otherwise healthy individuals. Researchers have not identified an exact cause of meth hallucinations, but there are many well-founded theories, including the following:

Cause 1: Meth use can cause itchiness, anxiety, and paranoia. After many days without sleep, people who use meth may begin to perceive the itching is caused by something under the skin.

Cause 2: People who use meth may have unhealthy skin because of malnutrition, poor hygiene, or the toxic ingredients used to produce meth. When high on meth, users may compulsively scratch or pick at their already weakened skin, causing irritations and sores.

Cause 3: Sleep deprivation and/or psychotic features of “tweaking” may cause a user to begin hallucinating and erroneously believe that bugs are causing their existing skin problems.

Tweaking is a word used to describe erratic and bizarre behavior caused by stimulant abuse.

Meth Sores

Meth sores and scabs are hallmarks signs of meth abuse or addiction. In general, those who abuse meth more frequently or for longer periods are likely to exhibit more sores than others. In addition to being unappealing to look at, meth sores can cause health problems if they become infected. Some meth sores can be treated with disinfectants, but sores that become infected will likely require medical treatment.

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Meth Mites and Meth Sores | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Meth sores can vary in appearance depending on the cause, the presence of infection, and how long they’ve been on a person’s skin. However, meth sores on the skin tend to appear as red dots, rashes, and cuts. On the face, meth sores can appear similar to acne.

Sores can also develop around the lips or on inside the mouths of people who smoke crystal meth. These sores can look like canker sores or cold sores, and they are one of the symptoms of what is referred to as “meth mouth.”

On other parts of the body, meth sores may appear similar to chickenpox blisters that the person has scratched. When a sore gets infected, it may look like a bad blister with a brown or black center. The blister may also be swollen and pus-filled.

Without treatment, the infection can spread. If a user with meth sores treats the sores appropriately and stops abusing meth, the wounds will eventually heal and scar, and some will ultimately fade away.

Health Impact of Meth Sores

Meth sores are associated with health risks similar to those of other types of open wounds. If the sore isn’t properly cleaned and protected, bacteria can enter a person’s body and cause infections, which can be anywhere from minor to severe.

Minor infections can result in pain and discomfort, and if the infection spreads and becomes severe, it can lead to fever, fatigue, and diarrhea. Such infections that go untreated can be life-threatening. Signs of worsening infection include redness and soreness around the afflicted area, as well as swelling and the presence of pus or blood into the wound.

Meth sores that are related to unsterile injections may also indicate the presence of a contagious disease. Meth users often have weak or compromised immune systems, so any wound they sustain may take longer to heal. Likewise, their infections may become more severe and spread more rapidly.

How to Treat Meth Sores

The simplest way to treat meth sores is to live a healthy lifestyle, wait for them to heal on their own, and protect them from infection in the process. Clean the wounds with disinfectants or antiseptics, such as hydrogen peroxide, and then bandage them. Avoid picking, scratching, or in any way interfering with the wound’s healing process.

And, of course, you should stop using meth immediately. Quitting any habit-forming substance is much easier said than done, and people who are addicted to meth should seek professional treatment. Once you’ve quit using crystal meth for good and adopt a healthier lifestyle, your skin and overall health will improve.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers outpatient detox and comprehensive programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. These programs employ services clinically-proven to be highly beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are suffering from an addiction to meth, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we can help you free yourself from the abuse of substances and foster the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!

Meth Detox and Withdrawal

Meth Detox and Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth, or ice) is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that has become increasingly popular among drug users in recent decades. Meth is typically found in the form of a crystalline powder or as small, blue or white rocks. It is customarily snorted or smoked, but can also be combined with water and injected.

This drug is often manufactured in small clandestine home labs with simple ingredients that can be obtained at pharmacies and stores that sell common household chemicals, such as paint thinner and ammonia. It has also become increasingly available through large drug cartels, especially from Mexico.

Meth Comedown

When meth is administered, the drug enters the brain where it initiates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals increase energy, alertness, and sociability. Meth’s effects may persist for up to eight hours, but when the drug begins to wear off, the comedown effects can cause the person to feel very ill.

The process of comedown is somewhat different from withdrawal, but there are a few features and effects that are similar. Meth comedown symptoms include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Depression and moodiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased appetite

  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Headache
  • Jaw clenching
  • Muscle pain

The symptoms of comedown may continue for several days after heavy use, especially mental health changes that may have occurred, such as depression or anxiety. If the person refrains from further meth abuse, these symptoms will resolve on their own, no treatment needed. Of note, similar to cocaine, a comedown will likely occur even in non-frequent meth users as an inevitable product of meth use itself.

Withdrawal from Meth

There is a substantial amount of research that has documented withdrawal effects in chronic meth users. The timeline for meth withdrawal is predictable and offers insight into what medical personnel and those in recovery can expect during the process.

Meth withdrawal symptoms are primarily emotional in nature with various related physical effects. Withdrawal from meth is typically less severe than withdrawal from other intoxicating substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids. Any related symptoms are unlikely to be physically damaging unless the person attempts to detox alone and becomes emotionally volatile, a situation which can lead to self-harm and suicidal ideations and behavior.

Meth has a half-life of around 10 hours and is a fast-acting drug. According to research, the timeline for meth withdrawal is reasonably consistent among users:

  • Withdrawal symptoms begin within the first 24 hours of abstinence.
  • Symptoms peak within the first 7-10 days following discontinuation of drug use, and there is a consistent decline in the intensity of symptoms following this peak.
  • Extended emotional symptoms have an average duration of about two to three weeks, but they most commonly abate after about 14 days.

Meth Detox and Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

According to research, the primary symptoms during the withdrawal period usually include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Jitteriness

  • Feelings of fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • Increased appetite

Also, a number of people report feeling depression or apathy, which tends to subside gradually throughout the withdrawal timeline. These depressive symptoms can be severe, however, and may be connected to thoughts of suicide. Intense cravings for meth can also occur during the withdrawal period but also tend to decline over time.

Psychotic symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, have also occurred for many people. These symptoms require treatment in a medical environment. Research has shown that these psychotic symptoms tend to be the most dangerous symptoms, along with severe depression.

Also, research has suggested that people who engage in meth use for an extended period may exhibit some cognitive deficits in mental processing speed, attention, and memory that may not be fully recovered within six months of abstinence.

Withdrawal Medications

Currently, the FDA has not approved any pharmaceutical treatments for use during meth detox. However, there are a number of medications that can help manage some of the symptoms encountered during the process of withdrawal. These medications include the following:

Wellbutrin (bupropion)An antidepressant that may be useful in reducing some of the symptoms of meth withdrawal, such as drug cravings.

Provigil (modafinil)A prescription stimulant medication that is commonly used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. The mild stimulant properties of this drug may reduce disruptive sleep patterns, as well as help those in detox temporarily experience bouts of energy and improved concentration, which may be vital components to moving forward in recovery.

Paxil (paroxetine)A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is an antidepressant that has been found in some research to reduce cravings in abstinent former meth users undergoing withdrawal.

Remeron (mirtazapine)An atypical antidepressant that may help prevent relapse during the withdrawal process.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

If a person stops using meth abruptly and encounters intense withdrawal symptoms, this is a hallmark sign of chemical dependence, a significant component of addiction. People who undergo detox in a clinical environment (strongly recommended) or at home are encouraged to enter a comprehensive treatment program at a specialized facility such as Midwood Addiction Treatment.

We employ a highly-skilled team of health professionals and addiction specialists who collaborate to evaluate each client and develop individualized programs. Our evidence-based services include psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, health and wellness programs, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to meth, please contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help clients free themselves from the grip of addiction and reclaim the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Prescription Meth

Prescription Meth | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Prescription Meth – Despite the media focus placed on the opioid epidemic in the U.S., according to recent research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there are now more addiction treatment admissions for amphetamine drugs than there are for prescription narcotics.

And according to estimates put forth by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, as many as 30% of illicitly made stimulants in the U.S. are diverted for recreational (non-medical) purposes. This fact is particularly troublesome because Americans use approximately 80% of the global supply of pharmaceutical stimulants.

Prescription Meth: What Is Desoxyn?

Desoxyn is the brand name for methamphetamine hydrochloride, a stimulant medication only available by prescription and indicated for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Although it only occasionally has a legitimate medical purpose and is not as popular as other medications such as Adderall or Ritalin, it is still prescribed commonly enough to be of concern. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, an estimated 16,000 prescriptions for Desoxyn are filled annually.

Prescription Meth as a Drug of Abuse

This is Desoxyn’s official product warning: “Administration of methamphetamine for prolonged periods of time in obesity may lead to drug dependence and must be avoided. Particular attention should be paid to the possibility of subjects obtaining methamphetamine for non-therapeutic use or distribution to others…”

Chemically, Desoxyn is nearly identical to illegal street meth. As such, it has an extremely high potential for abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction. It can be nabbed from medicine cabinets and sold for its intensely pleasant and stimulating effects.

Most people may think of ADHD as a condition diagnosed primarily among youth, and it frequently develops among adults as well. In fact, as recently as 2014, nearly 58% of prescriptions for stimulants were written for adults.

The abuse of prescription stimulants is more common than one might think, especially among college-aged adults. For instance, 62% of students in their four years at college report, as some point, being offered an ADHD medication for non-medical purposes.

Prescription Stimulant Abuse

Unfortunately, nearly 1 in 3 college students will misuse an ADHD drug at some time during their undergraduate career – and 9 out of 10 who use these medications admit to feigning their symptoms to receive a prescription. This is an enormous problem because the long-term misuse of ADHD medications results in significantly-elevated rates of dependence and addiction.

Most – nearly 90% – of people who take excessive doses of prescription stimulants suffer from withdrawal symptoms within 24 hours of the last use, and these uncomfortable symptoms can persist for days or weeks. The desire to avoid withdrawal symptoms often compels users to continue using substances rather than try to quit.

Weight Loss and Desoxyn Abuse

When considering Desoxyn’s potential for addiction, its use as a weight-loss supplement cannot be ignored. Desoxyn is prescribed for obesity, and although it does help some patients shed pounds, it is only slightly more effective than a placebo. In fact, most of the resulting weight loss occurs during the first few weeks of use and then gradually slows thereafter.

The exact mechanism by which Desoxyn appears to foster weight loss isn’t fully understood. Studies have not yet determined if the medication helps merely by suppressing the appetite, or if there is some other property of the drug that plays a role. Because Desoxyn is supposed to be used in conjunction with other health disciplines such as diet and exercise, it could be that weight loss is essentially due to multiple interventional lifestyle changes.

However, some believe that Desoxyn is either primarily or solely responsible for their weight loss, so they ask their physician for more refills or higher doses. This behavior can result in dependence, abuse, and addiction to Desoxyn.

Prescription Meth Can Lead to Illicit Meth

The American Society for Addiction Medicine finds that 80% of heroin addicts began their habit after first misusing prescription opioids. Most of those surveyed stated that they switched to heroin because prescription painkillers were “more expensive and harder to obtain,” and the same could be true for Desoxyn and illegal meth

When a person dependent on Desoxyn is unable to obtain any more refills legally, they may turn to the black market, where the price per-pill can be inexpensive and the supply variable. Conversely, illicit street meth is always available and is remarkably inexpensive.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

If you find yourself grappling with an addiction to Desoxyn, it is critical to seek specialized professional care as soon as possible to improve that person’s outcome and ensure that the condition doesn’t continue to progress.

Meth addiction is a destructive and potentially life-threatening condition that is best treated using a comprehensive approach that includes psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and group support. Our center offers these services in both inpatient and outpatient formats.

You can reclaim your life and experience the harmony and wellness you deserve! Contact us now to find out how we can help!

What Does Meth Do To Your Body?

what does meth do to your body

Methamphetamine (meth) is found primarily as an illicit drug that is produced using a combination of cough and cold medicine ingredients and toxic chemicals. Meth is a rather inexpensive, addictive drug that delivers a powerful high, and tends to adversely impact nearly every aspect of a user’s health and life.

Regular meth use can cause significant damage to every organ, including the brain, and many of the effects may not be reversible. It also degrades the mental well-being of the user, as well as their physical appearance.

How Does Meth Work?

Meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, a chemical involved in body movement, motivation, and the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. The drug’s ability to swiftly release a flood of dopamine in reward areas of the brain strongly reinforces drug-taking behavior, compelling the user to repeat the experience. This effect is what creates the euphoric high and is also the catalyst for addiction.

Along with feeling euphoric, meth use also increases energy levels, alertness, wakefulness, and often causes the user to be more talkative and hyperactive.

What Does Meth Do To Your Body In the Short-Term?

Short-term effects of meth on the body may include increased body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, respiration, and decreased appetite.

There’s also a potential for arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) brain hemorrhage, hyperthermia lung collapse, and convulsions upon overdose.

What Does Meth Do To Your Body in the Long-Term?

Long-term effects of meth on the body include the following:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Damage to organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver, and lungs
  • Damage to nasal passages if snorted
  • Sores, abscesses, and infections if injected
  • Tooth decay
  • Malnutrition

The Effects of Meth on the Heart

Because meth is a stimulant, it can have a profound impact on the cardiovascular system. Meth constricts the veins and blood vessels of the user, which can cause blood clots to form. Meth use can result in chronic arrhythmia and high blood pressure, which can also damage and harden arteries, blocking blood flow to organs.

It puts a strain on the heart due to elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and disruption of normal rhythms, thereby possibly contributing to cardiac arrest.

The Effects of Meth on the Brain

Meth’s effects on the brain tend to be widespread and severe. Among the most dangerous risks meth users incur is an increased chance of stroke, which can result in permanent brain damage, including memory loss, paralysis, loss of speech, and cognitive impairment. Indeed, stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the U.S., and in 2015, strokes accounted for nearly 12% of total deaths worldwide.

In the long term, overstimulation of dopamine and serotonin-releasing cells can result in their destruction and an accompanying decline in dopamine levels. This condition leads to greater difficulty experiencing pleasure, which can cause severe depression and anhedonia.

Meth effects on the brain can also contribute to the development of psychosis, with symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoia that are nearly identical to those of schizophrenia. Although these symptoms may resolve within a few months after discontinuing meth use, some users find that they persist longer and recurrence of these symptoms can occur even after a long period of sobriety.

The Effects of Meth on the Respiratory System

Meth use can affect the lungs and respiratory system in a variety of ways. The stimulant properties of meth produce rapid breathing, and possibly lightheadedness and fainting. Smoking meth can also cause the user to cough up blood due to bleeding in the lungs.

Snorting meth can lead to intense coughing and respiratory trauma, such as a collapsed lung and the release of air into the body outside of the lungs. When meth is inhaled, its impurities can accumulate in the lungs, form granulomas, and lead to lung disease.

The Effects of Meth on the Liver and Gastrointestinal System

Meth users sometimes employ needles to inject the drug, and they may also share needles with others. This practice can easily transmit blood-borne diseases from one user to another, such as hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, can cause progressive damage and over time, may lead to jaundice, cirrhosis, bleeding, and damage to the central nervous system.

Blood vessel constriction produced by meth use can hinder blood flow to the bowels, potentially resulting in the death of bowel tissue. This condition can lead to perforation of the intestinal wall and peritonitis, a life-threatening infection of the abdominal cavity that can advance into septic shock.

The Effects of Meth on the Immune System

Using meth has the potential to stifle the immune system and reduce the body’s ability to combat disease-causing bacteria and viruses, which can leave meth users vulnerable to various infections.

Worse yet, needle sharing can also transmit HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. HIV damages the cells of the immune system, and eventually, this can further compromise the body’s ability to protect against harmful diseases.

The Effects of Meth on Muscles

Chronic meth use can wreak havoc on the musculoskeletal system of the body – among the most troublesome are involuntary myoclonus (muscle twitching and tremors) and repetitive or “stereotypic” movements.

Also linked to meth use is a serious and painful condition called rhabdomyolysis, which is characterized by the rapid destruction of muscle tissue and a potentially toxic release of the contents of the compromised cells into the bloodstream. Meth-induced rhabdomyolysis can lead to widespread muscle pain, extreme fluctuations of serum electrolytes, and if not caught and treated early enough, irreversible kidney failure.

The Effects of Meth on Teeth (Meth Mouth)

Meth is infamous for its visibly destructive effects on oral health, as several factors work together to produce this damage. The destruction meth use can invoke on the teeth is so far-reaching that “meth mouth” has become a common term for meth-induced decay.

More specifically, meth use can cause dry mouth, and a lack of saliva can lessen the body’s ability to fight off cavity-causing bacteria. It can also lead to a compulsive grinding of the teeth, which over time, can wear them down. When combined with nutritional neglect and poor oral hygiene due to being high, meth users can often suffer from severe tooth decay, cracked teeth, and tooth loss.

This damage isn’t just limited to the teeth, either – the gums can incur extensive erosion and recession as well.

The Effects of Meth on the Skin

Meth use can compel people to pick at their skin compulsively due to psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and the feeling that bugs are crawling under their skin. Recurrent scratching of the arms and face can cause open sores to develop, which can then become infected.

An appearance of premature aging can also occur as a result of severe acne, loss of skin elasticity, and the development of leather-like skin texture. Severe weight loss due to appetite suppression can also cause the user to look emaciated and malnourished.

All of these factors can result in meth users exhibiting the characteristic “faces of meth” appearance – a complexion that appears unhealthy and deteriorative.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is an incredibly destructive disease that can cause extensive damage to the human body, resulting in significant health problems, mental illness, and even death.

Those addicted to meth are encouraged to participate in a long-term addiction treatment program on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Our center offers comprehensive, evidence-based services that include psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, group support, and more.

We employ caring medical professionals with expertise in addiction who provide clients with the support, knowledge, and tools they need to succeed at recovery and enjoy long standing wellness and sobriety.

We can help you restore yourself to sanity and regain the life you deserve! Contact us now to find out how!

Amphetamine vs. Methamphetamine

Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Amphetamine and methamphetamine (meth) are both stimulant drugs with similar chemical structures, effects, and health risks. Each drug produces a euphoric high, though meth is more potent and lasts longer than amphetamine. As such, meth has a higher potential for addiction and abuse than amphetamine.

What is Amphetamine?

Amphetamines belong to a class of drugs known as central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, which have psychoactive properties.

Amphetamine is produced legally in the United States as a medication indicated to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, Parkinson’s disease, and, in some cases, obesity.

For individuals with ADHD, amphetamine improves their ability to focus and control impulses. If an individual without ADHD takes amphetamine, it results in an energized, euphoric high.

Some medications that contain amphetamine include the following:

  • Adderall
  • Adzenys
  • Dexedrine
  • Dyanavel
  • Evekeo
  • Mydayis
  • ProCentra
  • Vyvanse
  • Zenzedi

Short-term amphetamine use may result in:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and talkativeness
  • Headache
  • Increased libido
  • Hypervigilance
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nausea
  • Elevated body temperature and blood pressure

Long-term amphetamine use may result in dizziness, fatigue and muscle weakness, skin/complexion problems, difficulty breathing, gastric ulcers, malnourishment, psychomotor tics, impaired coordination, tachycardia, and mental health disorders

Chronic, excessive use of amphetamine can also lead to heart problems, convulsions, coma, and death.

What Is Methamphetamine?

On the street, methamphetamine is more commonly known as “meth,” “crystal” or “crystal meth,” “glass,” or “ice.” Meth has a limited medical use but is primarily produced illicitly and consumed recreationally. Indeed, the only legal, medicinal version of meth is an ADHD medication called Desoxyn.

Short-term effects of meth are like those produced by amphetamine, and may include:

  • Suppressed appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Increased energy and talkativeness
  • Bruxism (excessive jaw clenching and teeth grinding)
  • Headache
  • Profuse sweating
  • Increased body temperature, blood pressure, and libido
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Hostility and paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Twitching

Excessive short-term meth abuse may induce seizures or sudden death.

Long-term meth use may result in anxiety and paranoia, dental degradations, hypertension, cardiac infections, organ damage/failure, heart attack, stroke, and brain damage.

Likewise, long-term meth use can cause an individual to become emotionally dysregulated, violent, suicidal, or even homicidal.

Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine: A Comparison

Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Higher amounts of meth end up in the brain than amphetamine when ingested in comparable doses because meth appreciably crosses the blood-brain barrier, inducing a stronger euphoric reaction.

Indeed, this action makes meth more chemically enticing and is the primary reason why meth is the more potent and addictive of the two. Amphetamine and meth both affect the production and reuptake of a few neurotransmitters in the brain associated with energy levels, executive function, mood regulation, and feelings of reward.

The euphoria induced by both substances is primarily the result of dramatically increased concentrations of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Despite both drugs elevating dopamine concentrations, clinical research indicates that, in similar doses, meth produces a greater amount of dopamine. In fact, one study found that meth was as much as five times more potent than amphetamine. This is another reason why meth proves to be more addictive than amphetamine.

Because meth use results in greater stimulation of the CNS, it also creates more stress than amphetamine. However, amphetamine has been shown to stimulate the peripheral nervous system and cardiovascular system more than meth.

Given amphetamine’s comparably lesser potency and potential for addiction, clinicians are much more willing to prescribe amphetamine vs. methamphetamine for ADHD. For ADHD treatment, meth is generally only prescribed when patients don’t respond well to amphetamine-based approaches.

The prescription versions of these substances, particularly amphetamine, are routinely utilized as performance-enhancing drugs due to their energizing and motivating effects. Athletes, students, high-stress professionals, and individuals working long hours, such as nurses or truck drivers, have all been known to abuse these stimulants to get an edge on their competition or ward off fatigue.

Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The pill form for either substance may be swallowed orally, but may also be crushed and snorted, smoked, or dissolved in water then injected intravenously. Meth is most readily available in its illicitly-produced, crystal form, and as such, it is most often smoked through a glass pipe, while amphetamine is most often taken orally as a pill or crushed and snorted.

Both drugs are often used in binge patterns, meaning that large quantities are consumed repeatedly for hours or days. Particularly bad binges may turn into “runs,” in which a person in the throes of a binge continues getting high for several days, taking the drug every couple of hours throughout that time. During a run, an individual may neglect eating or sleeping, and may even begin to “tweak,” which is a state of heightened irritability, anxiety, and paranoia.

Following a binge, a person’s body and brain crash. A crashing individual often becomes very fatigued, anxious, and depressed. Because a crash is so unpleasant, a person may re-engage in the binging cycle to alleviate side effects. Unsurprisingly, binging either drug skyrockets the likelihood of an overdose.

Long-term, chronic abuse of either substance may lead the user into a psychosis that resembles schizophrenia. This psychosis is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and sometimes paranoia, as well as meth’s hallmark symptom tactile hallucinations (feelings of bugs crawling on the skin.)

If a user becomes chemically dependent on either substance, they will experience a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to quit or cut back.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Increased appetite
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Head and body aches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Hallucinations

Individuals suffering severe withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit amphetamine or meth may require the support of a residential treatment program. A supervised medical detox ensures that the patient is safe and is as comfortable as possible while experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and is effectively prevented from relapsing.

Getting Treatment for Amphetamine or Methamphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine vs Methamphetamine | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Amphetamine and methamphetamine addictions can rapidly destroy a person’s life. As abuse accelerates, a person’s mental and physical health will suffer. Without professional help, these adverse effects could continue to the point of overdose.

Treatment gives a person’s mind and body the opportunity to heal, emotionally and physically. Currently, there are no FDA-approved medications for these types of addictions, but this does not mean that these addictions cannot be treated using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach.

Persons who suffer from an addiction to amphetamines, meth, other drugs, or alcohol should first undergo a medical detox, followed closely by a transition to inpatient rehab treatment. Our center offers behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support, which is providing by caring staff who specialize in the treatment of addiction and mental health conditions.

You can reclaim your life and experience the wellness, happiness, and harmony you deserve! Contact us as soon as possible to find out how we can help you on the road to recovery!

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.