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Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that is cheap to make, and quick to produce the effects of addiction. Regardless of whether it is injected, snorted, or smoked, users will experience different stages during usage beginning with the rush and ending with methamphetamine withdrawal.
Stage One: Meth Rush
As soon as meth is consumed, a flood of dopamine rushes to the brain created intense euphoria. As the dopamine attaches to various receptors, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration increase. Body temperature becomes elevated, and the user will feel energetic throughout their body. This can last up to 30 minutes depending on the user, method of use, and the amount of meth consumed.
Stage Two: Meth High
Following the rush, the meth user may begin to exhibit anxiety, paranoia, nervousness, auditory hallucinations, or delusional behaviors of superiority, intelligence, or strength. They may become talkative, overly-active, or intensely obsessed with an object, thought, or activity. Cognition and motor functioning are affected and vary by user. This high can last anywhere from 4-14 hours.
Stage Three: Meth Binge
Once a person begins abusing meth, they will often use the drug uncontrollably for long periods of time. They will repeat doses, increasing the quantities until their bodies wear out, or no more meth is available.
Stage Four: Tweaking
Tweaking occurs when a meth user continually takes the drug to avoid crashing. This binge keeps them from sleeping, eating, and interferes with their brain, and the rest of the body. Chronic meth abuse may cause the person to itch uncontrollably, believing that bugs are crawling under their skin. Some users even harm themselves to get rid of them. Psychotic effects of hearing or seeing things that are not there will begin to appear.
Stage Five: The Crash
When the binge is over the user will “crash” and sleep for extended periods of time, sometimes days.
Stage Five: Methamphetamine Withdrawal
After awakening from a meth crash, the user’s state of mind and body remain overwhelmed with the abuse. At this point, the user will begin to go into methamphetamine withdrawal. They may be dehydrated, starving, exhausted, and unstable physically and emotionally. Users often have emotional swings of anxiety, depression, and cravings to do more meth for relief. These symptoms can last days or weeks. Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms of severe depression, suicide ideation, inability to feel pleasure may be noticed 1-3 months after last use.
Stage Six: Return to Meth Binge or Complete Meth Detox
Many users who wish to avoid dealing with the depression and comedown of meth, will use again once they are able to get more of the drug.
On the other hand, some users take this opportunity to get clean. People who successfully detox from meth, and get clean, run a high risk of relapse. Tolerance levels drop the longer someone is sober, making a return to use extremely dangerous. To avoid relapse and overdose, individuals should seek out meth treatment programs immediately.