What Exactly is Methamphetamine (Meth)?

Published On: December 1, 20234.1 min read812 wordsCategories: Methamphetamine

If you’ve ever seen those “before and after” shots of individuals before their addiction and after, you’ve probably seen the effects of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine addiction is known for wreaking havoc on the body and the mind, resulting in difficulty maintaining personal hygiene, the appearance of rapid aging, rotting or loss of teeth, and more. It’s an incredibly potent, dangerous and addictive recreational drug. 

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what exactly methamphetamine is, how it’s different from amphetamine, and the dangers that come with consuming this substance.

What is methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine — most commonly referred to as meth — is an illegal, synthetic (man-made) stimulant drug that’s extremely addictive. 

Methamphetamine is formally a Schedule II substance, a category that also includes cocaine, PCP and other highly addictive substances. Drugs within this category often result in severe consequences on the mind and body of the individual due to the harshness of the addiction.

It can be sold as a powder (loose or in pill form) or as rock-like chunks and can appear in the colors of white, yellow, orange, brown, gray and even pink. Depending on the form it’s been produced in, meth can be smoked, snorted, injected or orally ingested.

People who abuse methamphetamine tend to experience a mental high, as well as being full of energy (sometimes called a “flash”). Though it might make the user feel as if they’re invincible or like they could run forever, methamphetamine is extremely damaging to the body and brain.

What are the effects of meth?

Methamphetamine can have a vast range of horrible effects on the body, though the severity of these effects will depend on the individual and how long the addiction goes on.

Some of the short-term effects it can have on the body include:

  • Agitation or hostility 
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Shallow or difficulty breathing
  • Heightened anxiety and hyperactivity
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss

The long-term effects of meth are much more serious, including:

  • Severe dental problems
  • Chronic, open skin sores
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Memory loss and other cognitive challenges
  • Increased risk of infectious diseases
  • Heart and lung issues
  • Organ failure
  • Stroke

In the worst cases, methamphetamine addiction is fatal. When combined with other substances especially, the risk of dangerous and life-threatening effects increases significantly.

Why do people get addicted to meth?

The euphoric effects that methamphetamine produces in the body can last up to 24 hours in the bloodstream, which is why it’s so addictive to users. It doesn’t take much to experience the high, but the high can still last significantly longer than the majority of other substances.

The low-quality and often-toxic ingredients make meth relatively affordable to create, and therefore readily available for most people to access, even teenagers. The reasons behind why people begin using meth vary; every person’s circumstance is slightly different.

A methamphetamine addiction can start quickly — without a lot of money, or a lot of the drug.

Another drug that’s similar to methamphetamine is amphetamine; both are powerful stimulants with a potential for addiction, but they are two distinct substances.

Methamphetamine vs amphetamine

Amphetamine is a legal, synthetic prescription medication that’s commonly used in the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. It can be used recreationally, but its medical use is more common and regulated.

While methamphetamine is an illegal substance, amphetamine has several established medical uses. For example, many common ADHD medications (like Adderall) contain amphetamine because of its ability to increase energy, improve mood and heighten focus.

In terms of chemical structure, methamphetamine is far more potent than amphetamine, though both drugs have a high potential for abuse, dependency and addiction. 

Another difference between these two substances is that methamphetamine has a longer duration of effects on the user than amphetamine. While the average amphetamine prescription will have effects that last anywhere from 4–8 hours, the euphoria of methamphetamine can last upwards of 24 hours.

Both drugs act similarly in the body, and abuse of either one can have serious health consequences. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder, send us a message today.

Take the first step towards recovery

Here at Freedom Detox, our top priorities are to keep you as safe and comfortable as possible as we guide your body and your mind through detoxification from a substance use disorder.

Recognizing that no two people are alike, we do not provide a one-size-fits-all treatment, but instead, work closely with each individual to create a fully customized plan for you. Our medical support team will be there every step of the way; you’re never alone here at Freedom.

To speak with one of our intake specialists and learn more about how we can help you take the first step towards sobriety today, give us a call at 800-475-2312.

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