What is Meth Mouth?

Meth, also known as Methamphetamine, is one of the most powerful and addictive substances on the market. It can even be fatal, with deaths connected with meth use doubling in recent years.  So what exactly is meth and how can we help ourselves or others who may be struggling?

Where did Meth come from?

Meth was originally created in 1983 by a Japanese scientist from ephedrine. It was initially used for its stimulant properties.In 1919, the recipe was  reformulated to resemble the crystalline form we know it to have today. Originally, it was used as a weight loss drug and as a medical treatment from asthma and narcolepsy.  In World War II to help keep soldiers alert and awake. After the war, methamphetamine was marketed as a prescription drug under various brand names for treating fatigue, depression, and weight loss. Over time, people began to misuse methamphetamine for its powerful stimulating effects. This led to widespread recreational use, addiction, and the illegal production of meth.

Understanding Meth

Meth is a stimulant that targets your central nervous system. Users report feeling alert and awake, having high energy and an overall feeling of euphoria due to the increased dopamine.  In fact, dopamine is increased by 10x when one uses meth. Methamphetamine prevents neurons from recycling excess dopamine, leading to prolonged pleasurable sensations. However, neurons can only store a limited amount of dopamine at a time.

Replenishing dopamine stores can take anywhere from two to ten days. During this period, individuals may feel flat, moody, irritable, forgetful, restless, and exhausted, which is the opposite of meth’s initial effects. 

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Use

Someone struggling with methamphetamine use may exhibit a range of physical, behavioral, and psychological signs. These can include:

Physical Signs:

  1. Extreme Weight Loss: Meth suppresses appetite, leading to rapid and significant weight loss.
  2. Dental Problems (“Meth Mouth”): Severe tooth decay and gum disease, often due to dry mouth and poor oral hygiene.
  3. Skin Sores: Caused by repetitive picking at the skin, often due to hallucinations of bugs crawling under the skin.
  4. Increased Heart Rate: Rapid heartbeat and elevated blood pressure.
  5. Dilated Pupils: Enlarged pupils, which can be more noticeable in low light.
  6. Twitching and Tremors: Uncontrollable muscle movements and spasms.
  7. Hyperactivity: Excessive physical activity and an inability to sit still.

Behavioral Signs:

  1. Aggression and Agitation: Increased irritability and aggressive behavior.
  2. Paranoia: Extreme and irrational distrust or suspicion of others.
  3. Erratic Sleeping Patterns: Staying awake for long periods (often days) followed by extended periods of sleep.
  4. Neglect of Responsibilities: Ignoring work, school, or family obligations.
  5. Isolation: Withdrawing from social activities and relationships.
  6. Risky Behaviors: Engaging in dangerous activities, such as unsafe sex or reckless driving.

Psychological Signs:

  1. Euphoria: An intense feeling of happiness and well-being, particularly when using meth.
  2. Anxiety: Heightened nervousness and panic attacks.
  3. Hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there.
  4. Delusions: Strongly held false beliefs, often involving persecution or grandeur.
  5. Depression: Severe sadness, hopelessness, and lack of interest in life, especially during withdrawal periods.
  6. Confusion: Difficulty thinking clearly and making decisions.

Other Indicators:

  1. Drug Paraphernalia: Finding items like pipes, needles, and small bags with residue.
  2. Financial Problems: Unexplained spending or borrowing money frequently.
  3. Legal Issues: Getting into trouble with the law, such as arrests for possession or theft.

If you suspect someone is struggling with meth use, it is crucial to approach the situation with care and seek professional help. Treatment options include counseling, behavioral therapies, and support groups. Recovering from methamphetamine use is a challenging but achievable process.

What is Meth Mouth?

Perhaps the most well known side effect of using meth is called “Meth Mouth.” Meth mouth is a term used to describe the severe dental problems commonly seen in individuals who abuse methamphetamine. Here are the main characteristics and causes of meth mouth:

Characteristics of Meth Mouth:

  1. Severe Tooth Decay: Teeth often become blackened, stained, and rotting.
  2. Gum Disease: Swollen, bleeding, and receding gums are common.
  3. Tooth Loss: Many users experience significant tooth loss due to decay and gum disease.
  4. Cracked Teeth: Teeth may crack or crumble due to grinding and clenching (bruxism) often associated with meth use.
  5. Dry Mouth: Reduced saliva production leads to dry mouth (xerostomia), which contributes to tooth decay and gum disease.

Causes of Meth Mouth

  1. Dry Mouth: Meth reduces saliva flow, which is essential for neutralizing acids and washing away bacteria.
  2. Poor Oral Hygiene: Users often neglect oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing.
  3. Diet: Meth users tend to consume sugary foods and drinks, which increase the risk of cavities.
  4. Bruxism: Meth can cause users to grind and clench their teeth, leading to wear and fractures.
  5. Acidic Nature of Meth: The drug itself is acidic, which can directly erode tooth enamel.

Ready to get help from Meth Withdrawal. Then get the help you need at ARIA! 

At the Addiction Recovery Institute of America, our addiction treatment specialists provide expert care for individuals who are struggling with substance use disorders. Our goal is simple: to provide each of our clients with the tools they need to achieve long-term recovery. When you enroll in any one of the programs at ARIA, you are committing to sobriety, right here in West Palm Beach, Florida.

We are dedicated to holding up our end of the bargain by designing individualized substance abuse treatment programs that serve each of our client’s individual needs. To get in contact, Call us at (844) 973 2611 or head over to our Contact Us page, fill out our information form and our representatives will get back to you as soon as possible. 

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