Drug Abuse

meth high

Posted on October 4, 2017
Last modified on June 10th, 2019

What Does a Meth High Really Feel Like?

Some meth abusers say crystal meth produces a high like none other. The drug works by flooding the brain with high amounts of dopamine. This is one of the brain chemicals responsible for feeling pleasure. Very high levels of dopamine can make you feel euphoric and invincible. As you continue to abuse meth, the intensity of that high gets weaker. Many meth abusers say they keep trying to chase the intense meth high they got the first time they used meth. They know they’ll never get it, but that doesn’t stop them from trying. This cycle is how you can quickly develop an addiction to meth and a tolerance to its pleasurable effects.

How People Get High on Meth

Crystal meth is a common name for the street drug methamphetamine. It gets its name because it looks like the crystals found in some rocks. Methamphetamine users experience similar mental and physical changes while “high,” regardless of the form of meth they take. The difference is how quickly the effects of meth arise and how intense they feel. When you smoke or inject meth, it reaches your brain much faster than swallowing or snorting it.

Crystal meth is typically smoked. Some meth addicts prefer crushing it into a powder and injecting it into their veins. Meth abusers may also swallow or snort meth. These methods also produce a much more powerful “high.” The speed and power of a meth high is what many meth addicts say draws them to the drug.

What Meth Highs and Crashes Are Like

Like many illicit drug users, meth users are after the euphoria they feel after taking meth. Methamphetamine affects the reward center of the brain. Meth causes a feeling of euphoria by driving up levels of the feel-good chemical, dopamine. Dopamine also increases when you do things like eat foods you like or have sex. However, crystal meth triggers far greater increases than these activities, especially when you smoke or inject it.

Crystal meth use triggers other mental changes as well. You may feel more alert and awake while “high.” You may feel like you can focus better. You can feel less of a need for food.

The highs and lows of meth can be intense. When you’re addicted to meth, you go through this cycle over and over again. Here are the stages of a meth high, or the short-term effects of meth:

The Rush

You only experience a “meth rush” if you smoke or inject the drug. It happens in the first minutes after taking it, and can last a few minutes to an hour. When meth enters your system quickly, like when you inject or smoke it, the gland that produces adrenaline is activated. It floods your body with adrenaline. The adrenaline paired with the excessive amount of dopamine can create intense physical sensations. During a meth rush your breathing and heart rate increase and you may feel shaky. You also feel a powerful euphoria.

The High (or “The Shoulder”)

After the intense euphoria of the rush, meth effects create a pleasurable high. This can last from a few hours to half a day depending on the amount of meth and how it was taken. Meth intoxication can make you feel confident and aggressive. You may be talkative and energetic. Some meth abusers get into fights and interrupt people when they’re high. The high of meth can make you restless and suppress your appetite.

Your body rapidly responds to the presence of crystal meth. Since meth is a stimulant, the physical effects are similar to other kinds of stimulant drugs. They may include increases in:

  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Physical activity

Some of the physical effects of a crystal meth high are dangerous. For example, your heartbeat may grow unsteady or irregular. If you take too much meth, you can develop a potentially life-threatening elevation in your normal body temperature (a condition called hyperthermia). You can also go into seizures or convulsions.

The euphoria of a meth high can also lead to poor decision-making. You may have unprotected sex, putting you at risk for sexually transmitted diseases. You may put yourself in dangerous situations like driving a car during meth intoxication or taking extreme risks because you have a feeling of invincibility.

The Binge

People addicted to methamphetamine try to make the meth high last as long as possible by binging on the drug. Meth binges may last a few days to a couple weeks. During a meth binge you won’t achieve the intensity of the first high. Every time you take meth after the first injection of the binge, the high decreases until you’re no longer able to get high. You’ll also start experiencing some tweaking symptoms. Meth abusers usually keep binging on meth to avoid tweaking, but it eventually comes.


Tweaking is where some of the more infamous symptoms of meth abuse show up. When a meth addict is portrayed on television, it’s often in the tweaking phase. Tweaking is when you’ve binged on meth until your body can no longer get high anymore. You’ve severely drained your dopamine supply and physically exhausted your body. Common symptoms of tweaking include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Panic
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Hallucinating sounds
  • Feeling like bugs are crawling on you (known as meth bugs or crank bugs)
  • Movement problems
  • Violent behavior

Many methamphetamine abusers try to cope with tweaking by abusing alcohol or other drugs. This can make recovering from the effects of meth even harder, which can fuel more meth use.

The Crash

After a meth binge, you’ll inevitably crash. It’s what it sounds like. You sleep for a long time. All your energy is depleted and you can’t do much of anything. You feel like you can barely move. This can continue for about three days.

Each time you binge and crash, your “normal state” gets worse. Taking crystal meth over and over can cause the brain to rewire. It stops being able to produce regular amounts of dopamine on its own. It also thinks it needs excessive amounts of dopamine to function.

When crystal meth abusers get used to having meth in their systems, they no longer feel as “high” as they used to when they take any amount of methamphetamine. In order to get the desired high, they keep increasing their meth intake. In time, this cycle repeats itself. It’s the ongoing spiral of rising tolerance and increasing intake that leads to meth addiction.

People with meth addiction, usually have meth withdrawal symptoms when they go without the drug for a while. This can include:

  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Loss of energy
  • Meth cravings

How to Kick a Meth Addiction

Meth addiction can be hard to overcome. According to one study, 61% of meth users relapsed within a year of quitting meth. Addiction recovery from meth is possible with determination and the right treatment though.

Time in an inpatient addiction treatment center may be necessary. You’ll have space to focus on yourself. You’ll get distance from triggers to use drugs and alcohol. In substance abuse treatment you learn coping skills that help you stay sober in everyday life.

Drug rehab centers also address co-occurring disorders. These are mental health issues that may fuel drug addiction. People with meth addictions sometimes also have mental health issues like:

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depression or mild, chronic depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Other substance issues like alcohol abuse and mixing drugs

Sometimes mental disorder symptoms are part of the psychosis that meth causes. Conditions like depression can come about because of changes in dopamine from meth effects. Other times, you may already have a mental health disorder prior to using drugs or alcohol. Meth abuse may be your way of coping with mental disorder symptoms. Drug rehab centers have psychiatric specialists. They’re able to appropriately treat mental health symptoms.

Drug rehabs provide professional and peer support. You’ll explore emotional pain with trained counselors. Group therapy helps you feel less alone. You’ll be with people who are also struggling with drug addiction. This can provide support and accountability in recovery.

An addiction to meth can put you in a dark place. Your whole life revolves around reaching a high that gets harder and harder to obtain. Relationships, finances, jobs and self-care suffer. It may feel impossible to crawl out of the hole of meth addiction. Know that you or your loved one can get better. Call 844-877-1781 for help.

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After The Fall: Schools’ Crack Down on Study Drugs – What You Need to Know

Posted on August 29, 2017
Last modified on May 13th, 2019

Why ADHD Medication Abuse is Growing on College Campuses

The more some things change, the more they stay the same: professors who believe their course is your number one priority can make finals week a nightmare, especially when you have four or five such instructors! But getting through college without resorting to ADHD medication abuse is a new challenge – one that previous generations did not have to overcome.

In 2015, one study found that 17% of college students reported Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) medication abuse. The most commonly reported reason for this drug use was the effort to improve academic performance.

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Can an Epilepsy Medication Reduce the Risks for Morphine Addiction?

Posted on June 8, 2017
Last modified on May 11th, 2019

Prescription Drug Use Continues to Rise

By Jenna Mitchell

According to recent findings out of the Mayo Clinic and Olmsted Medical Center, nearly 70% of Americans take at least one prescription medication, over 50% take two, and 20% take more than five. Furthermore, the same research shows that those percentages are only going up as prescription drug use has been steadily increasing throughout the United States for the past decade.

Money spent on these drugs is also on the rise. A 2015 study by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a company that tracks sales at the pharmacy level for drug companies, reported that in 2014 total drug spending was $374 billion — up 13.1% from the previous year. In 2014, the most commonly prescribed drug was Levothyroxine at 120 million prescriptions. It was followed by hydrocodone at 119 million, Lisinopril at 104 million, Metoprolol at 85 million, and Atorvastatin at 81 million. Another study found that one in six U.S. adults takes a psychiatric drug, such as a sedative or antidepressant.

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photo of narcan rx

Posted on June 7, 2017
Last modified on May 10th, 2019

How to Administer Naloxone/Narcan

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 U.S. deaths in 2015, the most recent year statistics are available, including 33,091 (63.1%) that involved opioids.

The tragic increase has been “driven in large part by continued sharp increases in deaths involving heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl,” the CDC said in its latest report.

Naloxone (brand name Narcan) is a medication administered to those who have overdosed on opioids such as:

  • heroin
  • morphine
  • oxycodone
  • methadone
  • fentanyl
  • hydrocodone
  • hydromorphone
  • buprenorphine

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Wealthy Celebrity Prone to Drug Abuse

Posted on March 30, 2017
Last modified on May 9th, 2019

Are the Ultra Wealthy More Prone to Drug Abuse?

In America and throughout the world, celebrities and other ultra-rich individuals receive a broad range of social perks and privileges. If you base your opinions on popular news and entertainment coverage, the ultra wealthy also appear to have ready access to drugs and alcohol. But does celebrity drug abuse actually happen more often than drug abuse in other segments of the population? Judging from the impact of wealth on substance abuse risks, the answer to that question may be “Yes.”

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Map of US Drug Abuse

Posted on March 24, 2017
Last modified on May 8th, 2019

5 Cities With the Worst Substance Abuse Problem

If you take a look at national substance abuse statistics by city, it’s evident that some regions suffer from bigger drug problems than others. In particular, states such as Maryland and Louisiana are not only home to cities with major drug problems, but they also have seen dramatic increases in drug use in recent years. If you live in or are traveling through any of these five cities, stay safe and steer clear of any known drug areas.

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