The Dangers of Smoking Meth

Methamphetamine, often referred to as meth or crystal meth, is a central nervous system stimulant made from a combination of store-bought chemicals. The most common ingredients are pseudoephedrine and ephedrine, but other components may include acetone, drain cleaner, and battery acid.

Though taking meth without a prescription is illegal, there is a Food and Drug Administration FDA) approved brand of methamphetamine called Desoxyn. This is only available through a prescription marketed in five, 10, and 15-milligram tablets that cannot be refilled. Desoxyn, the only legal form of meth, is used to treat obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

How is Meth Used?

Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug, meaning it is tightly controlled due to its high potential for abuse. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes Schedule II drugs as having a high potential for drug abuse, but they are accepted for certain medical uses with severe restrictions.

Despite there being an FDA-approved form of meth, the majority of all methamphetamine is obtained and abused illegally to achieve a desired high. When abused, this substance can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health.

There are a variety of methods for crystal meth use, including:

  • Snorting crystal meth – Meth crystals are first ground into a fine powder and snorted, or inhaled, through the nose. Snorting meth introduces the substance directly to the central nervous system and is one of the most potent forms of administration.
  • Injecting crystal meth – To inject methamphetamine, users will melt the substance into liquid form and administer it intravenously with a needle. Injecting meth allows for more rapid onset of effects. It also increases the risk of acquiring an infection or bloodborne disease, often due to unhygienic practices like sharing needles.
  • Smoking crystal meth – Smoking meth is another common method of meth use. Meth is typically smoked by heating the fragments of meth in a glass pipe and inhaling the smoke. After long-term use, smoking meth can cause serious lung damage, meth mouth, and other effects of substance abuse that require addiction treatment.

Dangers of Smoking Meth

Studies have shown that individuals are more likely to become addicted to meth if they smoke it than if they use it in other forms. This is due to the increased speed at which meth reaches the brain via smoking meth, with users immediately feeling intense pleasure. While smoking meth speeds up drug delivery, it can also increase the adverse health effects of the drug.

Signs of Meth Addiction or Abuse

There are a range of physical and psychological signs of drug abuse to look out for. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that causes many people to slip into addiction quickly without loved ones realizing it.

Knowing the signs could help support someone in seeking treatment for meth addiction.

Physical Signs of Meth Abuse

  • Weight loss that causes an increasingly frail body
  • Malnutrition
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart palpitations
  • Acne, spots, or sores
  • Poor oral health (‘meth mouth’)
  • Gum disease
  • Convulsions
  • Liver damage
  • Lowered immunity/susceptibility to infectious disease
  • Extreme body temperature
  • Increased libido
  • Intense scratching
  • Increased energy

Common Harmful Effects of Meth Use

Though all of the symptoms noted above are negative effects of smoking meth, some effects of drug abuse are particularly damaging.

Increased Libido

In many cases, an increased libido makes individuals more susceptible to sexually transmitted infections as a result of risky sexual practices.

Meth Mouth

One of the most noticeable signs of meth addiction or abuse is declining dental health. Over time, smoking meth contributes to gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.

Meth Sores  

Crystal meth use can cause damage to the skin in the form of meth sores. These are surface wounds that can appear in a variety of sizes and locations, although most commonly on the face and arms. These sores can be made worse by intense scratching.

Psychosis

Methamphetamine abuse can result in meth-induced psychosis, including delusions, auditory and visual hallucinations, paranoia, and irritability. Although psychosis is a psychological symptom, it can also result in physical harm and injuries.

Intense scratching is a common physical side effect of psychosis, with those experiencing meth-induced psychosis believing that bugs are crawling all over or inside their skin, aggravating sores. Moreover, delusions can result in erratic or dangerous behavior, putting people in harm’s way.

‘Tweaking’

Tweaking is when meth users experience insomnia for between three and 15 days, resulting in intense sleep deprivation. Tweaking is often the result of a meth binge which transpires after repeatedly injecting or smoking meth to chase the original high, a common symptom of drug addiction.

Tweaking can cause paranoia, irritability, confusion, and rapid movements, including talking very fast in addition to rapid eye movements that are distinguishable in close proximity to a person.

Psychological Signs of Meth Abuse

Meth abuse comes with a range of different psychological side effects. When meth is consumed, users experience an initial feeling of euphoria as the drug increases dopamine levels in the brain.

Dopamine is one of the leading chemical messengers in the brain’s reward system, and it is also involved in memory and learning processes. Continued meth abuse repeatedly floods the brain with dopamine, causing an imbalance in the brain’s natural dopamine levels.

As a result, people abusing meth often experience memory problems, struggle with motor skills and learning, and other cognitive deficits. Drugs that activate the brain’s reward system have a high potential for addiction and often leave users craving more.

Common psychological effects of using crystal meth include:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Violent behavior
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Confusion
  • Cognitive deficits
  • Memory loss
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

Meth Withdrawal

Detox is the first stage of recovery for drug and alcohol abuse. It involves allowing all traces of the substance to leave the body and can often come with predictable symptoms called withdrawal symptoms.

For many people seeking addiction treatment, withdrawal is the greatest barrier to treatment. As a result, support from friends, family members, and medical professionals is vital. Although smoking meth causes uncomfortable and dangerous side effects, meth withdrawal symptoms can often cause meth users to relapse.

Common meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue, lethargy, and excessive sleepiness
  • Increased appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Depression, apathy, feelings of hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Extreme cravings for meth
  • Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions

Research has found that a significant number of people who relapse do so as a result of feelings of depression, apathy, and hopelessness. The best treatment centers provide mental health support as part of addiction treatment.

Meth Addiction Treatment

If you are struggling with substance abuse problems or substance addiction, treatment can assist you. As a result of the complex and harmful side effects of snorting, injecting, or smoking meth, recovery in a structured treatment program is almost always the most effective option.

As meth is a highly addictive drug and withdrawal symptoms can be painful, relapse is common, but treatment centers, such as our own, can prescribe medication to alleviate the risk.

Drug addiction is frightening, especially as methamphetamine use can cause issues to a person’s social life, family life, and work. However, meth addiction can be overcome, and a life free from meth use is possible.

At NPAC, our team supports and guides each client through the detox process safely, providing care at every stage of the treatment process. Family therapy and various talking therapies are also offered to those trying to recover from a substance use disorder.

Contact Us

At NPAC, our substance abuse treatment programs provide tailored treatment options, including medication-assisted treatment, mental health treatment, and specialized trauma treatment.

If you are ready to break free from addiction and take a step toward living a fulfilling, drug-free life, contact us today. We can answer any questions and help you understand the treatment process and our addiction treatment options for crystal meth addiction.

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To find out more contact our team

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Samantha Kelly​

Director of National Business Development & Admissions Coordinator

I am a dedicated and passionate professional with extensive experience in business development Admissions and marketing. I have an incredible passion for showing others that there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel if someone truly wants it.
Being in recovery myself I understand the struggles of addiction and alcoholism. I Started this Career path in 2009. With multiple years of experience, I bring a multi-faceted approach and am always seeking new ways to make a difference in the lives of those I work with.

Kim L. Buckner

Facilitator

As a Substance Abuse Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Peer Advocate, and Facilitator. Kim helps clients avoid relapse by understanding their triggers. Those people, places and things that can cause craving, as well as internal triggers like feelings, thoughts, or emotions. Kim also clients with identifying and building healthy relationships now that they’re clean and sober.

Kim’s background includes extensive experience as a motivational speaker and work in faith-based organizations helping youth and adults alike. He says he is motivated by giving back to the community, understanding, and not judging who she comes into contact with. Kim’s favorite quote is by Dr. Raymond Johnson: “The respect given to others rebounds to the giver to deny the scared in the Other is to deny it in oneself.”

Caty Burns

Clinician

Caty graduated from Indiana University Bloomington in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and minors in Counseling and History. Throughout her undergrad, she worked at the local CASA program, supporting volunteers advocating for children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Caty worked for seven years at a community mental health center (CMHC), partnering with children, adults, and families.

During those seven years, she taught life and coping skills as well as behavior management, provided case management and peer recovery services, and facilitated treatment teams that included the client, family, providers, and community members. I have also worked at an IOP providing group therapy services. She is currently working towards my Master of Social Work.

In her free time, Caty enjoys reading, especially historical fiction, spending time outdoors and having movie nights with her family. Disney World is her happy place, and she dreams of living among the elephants.

Madison Knowles

Mental Health Therapist

My name is Madison Knowles, I am a Mental health therapist at NPAC. I am a single-mother of two and I have a daughter who is globally delayed and has been diagnosed with autism. I have been in this industry since I was 16 years old, as I was fascinated with human behavior. I obtained my masters in applied behavioral analysis and started off working with people with disabilities. I then found my love for counseling when I worked with juveniles who had mental health and substance use issues. I then decided to go back for my mental health therapy license after that and working in a forensic treatment center. I went on to obtain my therapy credentials and since 2017, I have also been working on my PhD in forensic psychology in which I am currently working on my dissertation. I am inspired by change and how resilient people can be. My favorite inspirational quote is “Some will, Some won’t, So what, NEXT!!!” This quote has inspired me to try, try, and try again no matter how hard life gets, someone will give you a chance eventually. As a therapist at NPAC, I have been given the opportunity to work with diverse populations such as in substance use and mental health and I am known for my work with people on the schizophrenic spectrum as well as with other clients with other severe conditions including personality disorders.

Megan Carmona, LMHC

Lead Therapist

Our Lead Therapist, Megan, is a bilingual Licensed Mental Health Counselor who specializes in working with adults who struggle with addiction, anxiety, depression, and trauma. As Lead Therapist, she provides individual, family, and group therapy sessions to our clients.  Megan says “I am very passionate about therapy, especially about supporting my clients in exploring their strengths and identity. My goal is to provide individuals with the tools that can help them achieve independence in coping with their challenges and facilitating personal development.” In her free time, Megan enjoys watching docu-series and playing video games with her family. Her dream is to own acres of land so she can care for vulnerable animals, especially old dogs, cats, and horses. 

Kristen Bensley

Primary Clinician

As Primary Clinician, Kristen works with all aspects of our clinical team, from case management to primary therapy.  She has broad experience working in the mental health field. Prior to joining our team at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic, Kristen was part of the team awarded the Evernorth Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Designation by Cigna. She says her motivation is to help people rediscover who they are and become excited about the future and all the possibilities life offers. Kristen’s favorite quote is: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”

Ronn Daigle, MSW

Therapist, Utilization Review Clinician

Ronn Daigle services as a Therapist and Utilization Review Clinician at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has been working in the field of substance use disorder treatment since 2011, with experience in all facility-based levels of care. Ronn earned, both an Associate of Arts in Psychology (2013) and Bachelor of Science in Human Services, with an Addiction Studies Concentration (2015) from Indian River State College. 

Ronn additionally earned a Master of Social Work degree in 2021 and is a current Registered Clinical Social Work Intern working toward licensure (LCSW). He describes himself as detail oriented, and solution focused.

Ronn says: “There is nothing more fulfilling than working with someone who doesn’t believe in himself or herself, and being there in the moment with them when the belief begins. We work with individuals who come to us at a point and time in their respective lives where they do not believe that change for others is possible; let alone for themselves…throughout the process they eventually come to a point where they realize that change is not only possible, but achievable.”

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI

Assistant Clinical Director

Erika Melecio, LMHC, MCAP, CEI is the Assistant Clinical Director at Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic who specializes in the treatment of LGBTQ, addiction, as well as mental health disorders ranging from depression and anxiety, to Bipolar Disorder, trauma, personality disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. Erika utilizes a number of modalities including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Mindfulness amongst others. Erika has been in practice for close to a decade and has earned her license in Mental Health Counseling, as well as being a Master’s Certified Addiction Professional. Erika has worked with many individuals including couples counseling and family therapy, and is fluent in Spanish.
 
Throughout my years of practice, one of the things I enjoy helping people find is inner peace. Whether you are in the deepest parts of depression, overrun by your anxiety, controlled by your addiction, or there are certain issues in your life that are negatively impacting your ability to function, and have a happy, healthy life, maybe now is the time to talk about it. I am a big believer in empowerment, working hard in therapy, and utilizing different techniques to help you regain that inner peace that may have been lost along the way. I want to work with you as a team because with two people, absolutely everything is possible. I want to be there as a therapist, to help build you up, support you, but also help you be honest with yourself and accountable. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, my biggest goal for you is going to be simple….for you to no longer need my services. Why? Because if you no longer need my services, it means that you have regained your peace, you have regained your strength, you have regained your confidence. It means that you now have the tools to address any issues that try to derail you, and best of all, you will have the insight to overcome and thrive. So let’s begin this journey together, and get you to the place you want to be, emotionally, mentally, psychologically, and in your sobriety.

Aurelio Ayuso, MSW, LCSW, CAP, ICADC

Clinical Director

Aurelio has worked with those that suffer from the disease of addiction in adults and juveniles alike for over 10 years, beginning in the United States Navy where he proudly served for 20 years, working with those that were succumbed by addiction due to trauma and continuing his passion for helping those in need locally in Central Florida.

He specializes in both Addictions and Trauma, he has worked first as a therapist then as the clinical supervisor to both the Juvenile and Adult Drug Court programs in Brevard County. Aurelio has been instrumental in developing substance abuse treatment programs directly tailored to help those that also suffer from complex trauma due to their addiction. He has been recognized by several organizations for his forward thinking and ability to tailor treatment to individuals in the most restrictive environments.

Mr. Ayuso received his Graduate Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as Certified Addictions Professional in the State of Florida, and Internationally Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Aurelio specializes in the treatment of Addiction, Trauma, and Abandonment using strength based strategies deeply rooted in Solution Focused, and Mindfulness Therapies. At the Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic he passionately develops holistic curriculums that foster the belief that through addressing the mind, body, and spirit together, the Disease of Addiction can be addressed successfully.

Robert Lehmann, MHSA

Chief Operating Officer

Bob Lehmann is the Chief Operating Officer at the Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic. He has a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration with a concentration in Mental Health Administration and over twenty-five years of experience as a senior executive at addiction and mental health treatment facilities.

One of the reasons for his commitment to excellence in addiction treatment was his experience related to family members who suffered from the disease of addiction. Bob has been actively involved in community organizations throughout his career. Recently he was one of the founders of the Florida Addiction Treatment Coalition (FATC) and is its present Vice President. FATC was designed to bring together treatment executives in Florida to advocate on behalf of treatment facilities and the clients they serve adhering to a foundation of integrity and service excellence.

Jose R. Toledo, M.D.

Medical Director

A well-rounded and accomplished individual, Jose R. Toledo, M.D., is the Medical Director of Neuro Psychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a neurologist with 25 years of experience and has been in private practice since 1991 on the Treasure Coast of Florida. He completed his neurology training at the State University of New York and his Fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh in Epilepsy and Clinical Neurophysiology.

He also completed 24 months of acute inpatient psychiatry at the Western Missouri Mental Health Center, University of Missouri in Kansas City. In 2008, Dr. Toledo participated in and was certified in the continuing medical education activity entitled “Buprenorphine and Office-Based Treatment of Opioid Dependence” from The Medical University of South Carolina during which began his quest to found and head Neuropsychiatric Addiction Clinic.

Dr. Toledo is a brain specialist with particular competence in addiction medicine and out-patient detoxification treatment and integrates the fields seamlessly. He is certified to prescribe Buprenorphine (Suboxone). He incorporates his background in neurology into the addiction field. Dr. Toledo is member/fellow of The American Medical Association, The Florida Medical Association and The American Society of Addiction Medicine