Can You Overdose on Meth?
Meth Overdose: Warning Signs and Recovery Methods
Exactly what is Crystal Meth, and why is it such a powerful drug, quietly wreaking so much havoc in the shadow of the opioid epidemic?
Crystal meth is a neurotoxin that stays in the brain longer and causes severe harm, despite its similarities to meth, cocaine, and other stimulants. Methamphetamine usage increases the rate at which the central nervous system processes information, leading to potentially lethal overstimulation of the brain and body, leading to challenges associated with chronic methamphetamine overdose.
Keep reading to learn the answer to ‘can you overdose on meth,’ as well as how to find effective forms of treatment for meth and gain a foundation for lasting recovery with Icarus Behavioral Health!
Meth Overdose: Can It Really Happen?
An overdose is always a risk while consuming crystal meth. When the body is unable to digest a drug properly, a methamphetamine overdose can occur. A methamphetamine overdose can be fatal or cause serious health complications. At the minimum, it highlights the need for addiction treatment in those who suffer from chronic substance abuse along with social isolation.
Long-Term Meth and Drug Abuse
Because their bodies have become hardened to meth’s effects, long-time users can often take relatively large amounts without experiencing any immediate effects, leading some to struggle through the symptoms and signs of a meth overdose.
Long-term meth users, on the other hand, may develop a physical tolerance so that ever-increasing doses of the drug are required to get the same degree of pleasure and exhilaration, raising the risk of deadly overdose. At this point, methamphetamine toxicity may happen during the use of the stimulant drug without much warning.
First Time Meth Users and Acute Methamphetamine Toxicity
Since they haven’t built up a tolerance and don’t know how the drug will make them feel, new users frequently experiment with lethal doses of this Schedule II stimulant. People who have never taken meth before can accidentally overdose or take another dose before the previous one wears off, making the chances of overdose greater.
An overdose of crystal meth can happen if the drug is mixed with alcohol or other drugs or if it is cut with a stimulant like caffeine, amphetamines, ketamine, or even fentanyl. There is a huge concern regarding the stimulant and opioid mortality rate because of the combination factor. It is also uncommon for people to overdose when they have no idea they are suffering from an illness like diabetes or heart disease.
What Are the Chances of Death During a Meth Overdose?
The likelihood of survival after a methamphetamine overdose depends on a number of factors. A healthy individual is less likely to overdose than someone with a heart ailment or high blood pressure. The sudden spike in blood pressure is one of the leading contributors during the event of an overdose, making the need for holistic addiction treatment even more important.
Those with dependence are safer from overdosing than first-time users. The frequency with which meth is used also matters. Unlike when insufflated, meth’s effects wear off rapidly when injected or smoked. The risk of overdose is greatly increased if meth is used every few hours to maintain the high. Meth overdose depends on a person’s approximate age as well. Those who are older generally run a higher risk because of the general frailness of their bodies.
The meth’s purity also plays a significant role – a huge factor in the overdose spikes we’re currently experiencing. The purity levels of the drug today are much higher than they’ve been in past years.
Acute vs Long Term Effects: Aggressive Medical Treatment Required
Overdosing on crystal meth can have both short- and long-term effects. Harmful consequences that accumulate over time are what’s known as a chronic overdose effect. This can even happen in users who require stimulants for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder while using prescription stimulants – or after transitioning to illicit use through methamphetamine.
Can You Overdose on Meth? The Warning Signs
Each case is life-threatening and can lead to fear paralysis, chronic anxiety, and other severe conditions. Acute overdose symptoms are common and can be recognized by knowing what to look for:
- Excessive perspiration
- Excruciating discomfort in one’s abdomen
- Loss of muscular control
- Breathing problems (slowed, slowed to a stop, or stopped)
- Blood pressure that’s too high or too low
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Spikes in body temperature
- Increased anxiety
- Meth psychosis
Kidney and other organ failure is a major complication of meth overdose and the leading cause of death. Convulsions, stroke, heart attack, cardiac arrest, and coma are all possible life-threatening outcomes of a meth overdose.
What are the Signs of Meth Addiction and Chronic Overdose?
Chronic meth usage can cause negative outcomes, including overdose. Although many of these effects of meth use are transient, some of them may be more long-lasting:
- Sores on the skin
- Teeth decay (meth mouth)
- Arrhythmia or irregular heartbeat
- Repeated infections
- Drastic weight loss
- Irrational fear and suspicion
- Deterioration in cognitive abilities
The Course of Action During Meth Overdose
When an overdose occurs, you must act quickly. Even if you’re unsure, dial 911 immediately. The potential for severe reactions, even fatal ones, increases with delay.
Be as detailed as possible in your call, including things like:
- Is the person out of it? Have they stopped breathing?
- Were there additional chemicals involved?
- Can you think of any other health issues?
- Is the person on other, prescribed medications?
Crystal Methamphetamine: How to Help a Loved One
There are things you can do after calling 911 for an overdose from methamphetamine use. Waiting until emergency care arrives, you should:
- Tilt the person’s head to one side so she won’t choke on her own vomit.
- Hold his head gently to avoid harm, but don’t limit his ability to move his arms and legs if he’s experiencing a seizure.
- Don’t give the person anything to eat or drink.
- If the person seems angry, hostile, paranoid, or displays other psychotic symptoms, proceed with caution.
The Existence of Good Samaritan Laws
Maintain constant physical contact with the victim until medical assistance comes. Most states have passed Good Samaritan Laws that shield both you and the person who is overdosing on meth from prosecution for crimes like the sale or use of a restricted narcotic if you call emergency services on them.
Many states’ Good Samaritan rules apply even if you’ve broken your parole or probation. Don’t let your anxiety stop you from seeking assistance and potentially saving a life.
The Official Management of Meth Overdose
There is currently no established procedure for treating someone experiencing an overdose of crystal meth, though particular symptoms may be managed. First responders will likely deliver intravenous fluids, do a toxicological screening, and take any other measures necessary to stabilize the patient.
To prevent the absorption of crystal meth’s poisons into the bloodstream, first responders may give the patient activated charcoal if they arrive within an hour or two after ingestion.
When someone who has overdosed on meth finally makes it to the ER, doctors will treat their individual symptoms, which could include a stroke, heart attack, extreme agitation, or organ failure.
Beyond using meth as a recreational drug, one of the health risks associated with the treatment process is meth withdrawal. Those who overdose and abstain are likely to experience severe withdrawal.
The Two Main Stages of Meth Withdrawal
Detoxing from crystal meth requires knowledge of the two stages of meth withdrawal:
Stage 1: Meth Comedown and Acute Meth Withdrawals
In most cases, the first stage can last up to 10 days and consists of the following:
- Strong cravings
- Ache and pains
- Tense, clammy skin
- Abnormal cardiac rhythm
- No energy
- Sleep disturbances
- Mood swings
Stage 2: Post-Acute Withdrawal from Methamphetamine
Meth withdrawal symptoms often normalize during phase two, which lasts at least two weeks. However, you may experience persistent cravings, nightmares, mood changes, despair, and anxiety throughout this time as you go through withdrawal.
Symptoms subside further, and typical sleep and energy patterns emerge after three to four weeks. However, cravings often subside after about five weeks, though they may linger for a few months.
Even with treatment for crystal meth, it is possible that some meth withdrawal symptoms, such as irrational paranoia and meth-induced psychosis, may persist for months. Other side effects such as memory loss and persistent insomnia, can last for even longer.
The Devastating Effects of Meth on the Human Body
Meth overdose generates a dangerously high heart rate and temperature when the central nervous system becomes overstimulated. Strokes, organ malfunctions, and heart attacks are all brought on by these alterations.
Chronic anxiety and psychosis are possible outcomes, as is heart disease, reduced mental function, kidney failure, and amputation due to muscle tissue damage. Meth also does tremendous damage to the teeth for many users, as well as creating an appearance that has become known as ‘meth face‘ with a gaunt look and ragged skin blemishes being common. The full list of potential consequences is terrifyingly extensive.
Taking Action to Avoid Potential Life-Long Risks
Consequences of chronic meth use, brought on by meth use disorder, increase over time. Some of these effects may be invisible to you. The consequences to your health can be devastating, yet you might not notice any changes until it’s too late.
Make sure you get checked out by a doctor just to be safe. Some of the effects of long-term meth use are so devastating that they can result in mortality, even in the absence of an overdose.
It is crucial that you get the support you need to get clean and break the pattern of meth usage. Help is available at our program for meth rehab – and Icarus is staffed with people who care deeply about your success and recovery.
Crystal Meth Detox: Rehab for Meth Addiction
The presence of any of the symptoms associated with meth overdose should serve as a red flag that something is seriously wrong. Meth addiction treatment should start immediately after an overdose is prevented. When an overdose occurs, it may not always be lethal, but that cannot be said for future attempts. The decision to enter therapy and undergo meth detox should be made immediately.
If you are dealing with an OD situation, remember the laws, and take the proper steps to get individual care.
The Value of Effective Treatment for Meth Addiction
Recognizing the symptoms of a crystal meth overdose could save your life or the life of someone you care about if you’re concerned about their meth usage. Treatment for meth addiction is difficult, but it has the highest chance of success when delivered by a qualified, caring team of experts.
Effective Treatment for Meth Overdose and Addiction
At Icarus Behavioral Health in New Mexico, we have a team expertly trained in combatting the negative side effects of a methamphetamine overdose, along with licensed mental health treatment and substance abuse counselors who are compassionate about your recovery.
For more information regarding the treatment of recovery from methamphetamine use disorder and how we can help you or a loved one experience recovery, contact a member of our Admissions team today!