Updated on Aug 13, 2019
Snorting meth is a less common method of administration than smoking and produces a less intense high than either smoking or injecting. In the short term, snorting meth can damage sinus cavities and the lining of the nose, leading to chronic stuffiness and nosebleeds. This habit also increases blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
Long-term, snorting meth can result in the following:
- Heart attack
- Extreme weight loss
- Memory impairment
- Dental deterioration
- Employment issues
- Relationship problems
- Academic difficulties
Methamphetamine (meth) is categorized by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule II substance, indicating that it has a high potential for abuse, despite the fact that it has some very limited medical use. As the prescription drug Desoxyn, meth has been historically prescribed in low doses for treating particularly stubborn attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity.
In recent decades, safer alternatives have largely replaced meth for these purposes. Most of the meth found in the U.S. is not a product of Desoxyn diversion and instead is purchased illegally and is produced in superlabs by Mexican cartels or small, clandestine neighborhood labs in the U.S.
How Meth Is Used
Meth can be administered in pill form, but is more commonly smoked, snorted, or injected (also known as “skin popping.” People who use meth might choose to snort it due to the fear of using needles or contracting hepatitis or HIV/AIDS. Snorting meth induces a euphoric high, although this is usually less intense than the rush users encounter when either smoking or injecting.
Meth is a human-made substance synthesized from various toxic chemicals, which may together compound on one another to produce adverse health effects. Common ingredients used in the illegal manufacturing of meth include the following:
- Anhydrous ammonia
- Battery acid
- Drain cleaner
- Iodine crystals
- Paint thinner
- Red phosphorus
Drug and law enforcement agencies have begun to monitor and place controls on some of these ingredients—pseudoephedrine and ephedrine in particular. Small labs can produce around $1,000 worth of meth in just a few hours using only about $100 worth of materials. Despite the seeming lucrativeness, chemical reactions can occur during the manufacturing process, causing devastating explosions.
Moreover, the process of making illicit meth also creates toxic byproducts that are harmful to people who come into contact with them, including the person doing the manufacturing and everyone else in the near vicinity. For every pound of meth that is manufactured, around 5.5 pounds of hazardous/toxic waste is produced as a byproduct.
This waste can harm farmland and forests, generate toxic drainage, adversely affect nearby animals, and require expert teams to clean up. In many states, property owners can be held liable for the cost of such hazardous material cleanups, even if they aren’t directly linked to meth manufacturing.
Short-Term Effects of Snorting Meth
While meth may offer a euphoric high, it also comes with the risk of many side effects and adverse effects, regardless of how it is administered. Because meth is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, using it artificially recreates the natural fight-or-flight reaction. Experiencing a state of persistent CNS activation has been linked to dangerous increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature.
Users also tend to experience a marked increase in energy levels, in addition to reduced appetite. These conditions can persist for up to 24 hours.
When talking, people intoxicated by meth might shift from one topic to another, feel more assertive or confident, or behave in paranoid or peculiar ways. The high later grinds to a halt and is followed by a dramatic crash, compelling the person to want to recommence using the drug to avoid the comedown and withdrawal symptoms.
Meth users who are crashing will exhibit excessive fatigue, hunger, thirst, intense cravings, confusion, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and a lack of pleasure in ordinary activities. There is then, naturally, a strong motivation to avoid these unpleasant effects, and this leads many people to administer repeated doses in a relatively brief period, which is called binging.
Long-Term Effects of Snorting Meth
Over time, the effects of repeated meth use can result in severe damage to the circulatory, nervous, respiratory, and renal systems, leading to adverse physical and mental effects. These consequences include profound weight loss, dental decay, insomnia, and an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, and liver or kidney damage.
With repeated use, tolerance can develop, a state that requires users to consume increasing amounts of meth to achieve the desired high or even just to feel relatively normal.
Psychological complications associated with meth use include the following:
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Delusional beliefs
- Suicidal ideation
- Mood swings
- Poor concentration
- Memory impairment
Gradually, the regular pattern required to feed a meth addiction begins to consume more and more of the user’s time. This means that the person is usually either compulsively seeking to obtain and use meth or recovering from its use.
While meth can give users short periods of excess energy, the dramatic crash that follows may lead to extremely low mood and lack of motivation, which can cause problems with academics and employment. Adolescent meth users might drop out of school due to excessive absenteeism or poor grades.
Furthermore, employees might be terminated from their job due to meth use. Chronic use can result in long-term or even permanent effects on the brain, including changes that impact the brain’s pleasure and reward centers, making it more difficult for users or former use to experience satisfaction again while engaging in activities that should be enjoyable.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth use can rapidly lead to dependence and addiction and require special attention and care in a private treatment facility.
Unfortunately, there are currently no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of meth addiction. Instead, treatment is grounded in therapies that are intended to transform negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an effective technique that seeks to alter behaviors by identifying unhealthy thoughts and replacing them with ones that are more helpful and productive.
Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive treatment program focused on behavioral change that uses many different therapeutic approaches, such as behavioral therapy, individual counseling, and group support. We also provide education for the individual and family, healthy sober activities such as art and music therapy, and aftercare planning. Integrated, evidence-based treatment models such as this have been proven effective in clinical studies to help individuals recover from meth use.
Finding Help for Meth Addiction
Meth is a highly addictive substance that can change the brain, body, and physical appearance in a relatively short amount of time. While some damage from meth addiction can be restored to normal or near-normal, much of may be permanent. Extended use can result in irreversible changes in the person’s ability to regulate emotions, radically impair the reward centers of the brain, and also cause physical damage to vital organs, scarring, and profound dental decay.
Long-term meth use can result in adverse health effects, permanent debilitating conditions, a shortened lifespan, and even death. The longer and more frequently that meth is used, the greater the risk becomes. If you or a loved one is suffering from meth abuse or addiction, please call us as soon as possible to speak with an addiction specialist who can help you get started on the road to recovery today!