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Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant. It's like amphetamine, which doctors can use to treat sleep problems, ADHD, and obesity.
There's also an illegal form, called meth. Meth is an odourless, bitter-tasting powder that can be dissolved in water or alcohol. It's usually white, but it can be other colours. It can be in a pill, powder, or small, clear crystals that may look like ice or rocks.
The drug is often made in home labs from cheap, often toxic, ingredients.
Meth can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected.
Methamphetamine use can lead to stimulant use disorder. This means using meth in a way that harms you or causes you to harm others. It may also be called substance use disorder or drug misuse. People who use this drug tend to use it again and again (binge) and then sleep for a long time (crash) afterward.
People who use this drug have strong cravings for it.
People who use meth may become anxious, confused, and violent. It can affect a person's brain so that they cannot tell what is real (psychosis). This may include:
In high doses, it can increase body temperature to dangerous levels. It can cause seizures. Because the drug raises heart rate and blood pressure, it can damage blood vessels in the brain. This can cause a stroke.
Some signs that a person may be using meth include:
Signs of stimulant use disorder include:
Treatment may include group therapy, one or more types of counselling, and drug education.
Treatment focuses on more than drugs. It helps you cope with the anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment that often happen when people try to stop using drugs.
Treatment also looks at other parts of your life. For example, how are your relationships with friends and family? What's going on at school and work? Treatment helps you take control of your life so you don't have to depend on drugs.
Drug use affects your whole family. Family counselling often is part of treatment.
It can be hard to stop using drugs. But many people have overcome a use disorder. And most of them started by reaching out to others, like caring friends or family, their doctor, or a support group.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
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Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
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