What You Need to Know About Meth Overdoses and Seizures

Why are meth seizures such a risk for people who use this drug? There are different ways in which meth is harmful to your health, including the occurrence of meth seizures. Understanding the risks of this drug is important. Even using this drug once can have deadly effects. Let’s examine what methamphetamine is, why it’s so dangerous, and the risks of meth seizures and other consequences — and then explain how a drug and alcohol addiction center like Resurgence Behavioral Health can help.

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What is Methamphetamine?

Let’s talk about meth as a drug before exploring the meth seizure risk. Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a drug that increases brain neurotransmitters. Meth affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. The triggered neurotransmitters can cause high energy and alertness when consuming meth.

Meth is also known as crystal, speed, tweak, and crank. As a stimulant drug, it increases central nervous system activity. You can inject or smoke meth, and it leads to a rush or high. Sometimes this high is also called a flash. If you snort it, you get high, but you do not experience the so-called rush.

Effects of methamphetamine include:

  • Pleasurable feelings.
  • Increased sociability.
  • Irritation or agitation.
  • Being more physically alert.
  • Reduced appetite.
  • Diminished inhibitions.
  • Confusion.

Outward signs and symptoms that someone is using meth can include:

  • Hyperactivity.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Sudden weight loss.
  • Burns on the fingers and lips.
  • Skin scabs or sores.
  • Changes in sleep habits.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Dilated pupils.
  • Jerky or twitchy movements.

In the United States, meth is a Schedule II stimulant. It has limited medical uses for treating ADHD and weight-loss, but use in these situations is rare.

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Long-Term Methamphetamine Risks

It is possible to become addicted to meth in a very short period. You might also develop a tolerance. You may need higher doses when you use meth repeatedly or need to use it more often to get the same effects. If you are a chronic, long-term user of meth, you may have difficulties experiencing pleasure in any other way. If you are tolerant of meth and attempt to stop using it, you might have withdrawal symptoms.

Meth withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, fatigue, and intense drug cravings. Other side effects of long-term methamphetamine use include:

  • Anxiety.
  • Confusion.
  • Mood disturbances.
  • Violence.
  • Insomnia.

Meth Affects Your Brain

Frequently, long-term meth users will have symptoms of psychosis. These can include visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, and delusions. Delusions can include the sensation of bugs crawling on the skin. These symptoms can last for months or even years after someone stops using meth. Research has also indicated the potential for spontaneous methamphetamine psychosis to occur long after someone stops using the drug.

There are also significant changes in the brain often seen in meth users, even after they stop.
For example, imaging studies on the brain show dopamine’s effect on verbal learning and motor speed. Studies have also shown severe structural and functional changes in the brain areas associated with memory and emotion.

Some of the effects of meth on the brain may be reversible, at least partially.

meth overdoses and seizures

Meth Mouth

We associate meth use with tooth decay and tooth loss, referred to as “meth mouth.” Meth mouth occurs because of a combination of poor hygiene, poor nutrition, teeth grinding, and dry mouth caused by the drug.

Skin sores are also a common sign of meth use. Sores happen because the drug leads to the sensation of insects crawling on or under the skin. Someone using meth might scratch or pick their skin to “get rid of” these imagined insects.

Can Meth Cause Seizures?

Meth seizures are possible, usually in conjunction with overdoses. An overdose of any substance occurs when you take more than your brain and body can handle. An overdose can be accidental or purposeful. If you take meth and overdose, one of the reasons that you might die is because it can lead to heatstroke. A heatstroke from meth can then cause multiple organ failure. A meth overdose can also trigger a spike in blood pressure leading to bleeding or liver failure.

According to the National Institutes of Health, distinct features of seizures induced by drugs like cocaine and methamphetamine are possible, such as longer duration of convulsions for meth than cocaine.

Along with a meth seizure, other symptoms of an overdose may include:

  • Heart arrhythmias.
  • Hypertension or hypotension.
  • Problems breathing.
  • Chest pain.
  • Agitation.
  • Hallucinations.
  • Psychosis.

Unlike opioids, when someone has a meth seizure, there is not a reversal drug. For example, Narcan can reverse an opioid overdose, but will not reverse a meth overdose.

What Happens During a Meth Seizure?

Rather than waiting until you are at a deadly point, it is important to recognize addiction and seek help. You might also want to find help and resources for a loved one who could be struggling with meth.

When faced with a meth-induced seizure, knowing how to respond safely can significantly impact the affected individual’s well-being. The first step is ensuring the person is in a safe environment where they can’t injure themselves — clear the area of any hard or sharp objects and cushion their head if possible. Do not attempt to hold them down or put anything in their mouth, as this can cause injury. Instead, observe the seizure’s duration and characteristics to report to medical personnel, and call emergency services immediately.

After the seizure subsides, keep the individual on their side to maintain an open airway and stay with them until medical help arrives. Being prepared with these strategies can make a critical difference during such a medical crisis, potentially saving a life and preventing further harm.

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Inpatient Meth Detox and Treatment

Due to the serious side effects of meth and the powerful addiction it creates, inpatient detox and addiction treatment are best. There is a lot of ground to cover in meth addiction treatment. First, you have to detox safely. Then, you have to receive treatment for the drug use itself and the underlying causes of addiction. You have to work through the physical, psychological, and neurological effects the drug has on you.

An inpatient program provides a safe environment to treat meth addiction comprehensively. Inpatient treatment can last several weeks, several months, or even longer, depending on the addiction’s severity and other individual factors. Find an addiction treatment program that uses evidence-based, personalized programs, and is comfortable with a compassionate staff. For meth use, longer-term treatment is often ideal.

Outpatient Meth Treatment

Outpatient treatment for meth misuse is not residential, and you can return home in the evening after treatment. For meth addiction, you should start with inpatient treatment because of the nature of the drug and its effects.

After inpatient treatment, you might then move down into a lower level of care, such as outpatient treatment.

The Role of Hydration and Nutrition in Meth Recovery

Hydration and nutrition play pivotal roles in the recovery from meth use, especially considering the risk of dehydration and nutritional deficiencies that accompany chronic use of the drug. Proper hydration helps to stabilize the body’s systems, mitigating some of the physical withdrawal symptoms and supporting overall health.

Similarly, focusing on nutrition can replenish the body’s depleted reserves, providing the vitamins, minerals, and energy needed for recovery. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can aid in repairing the damage meth has caused to the body. Addressing these fundamental needs can make the withdrawal and recovery process more bearable and support long-term health and well-being.

meth seizures and overdoses

Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Meth Overdose

Recognizing the early warning signs of a meth overdose is crucial for preventing severe outcomes, including seizures. Symptoms such as extreme agitation, rapid heart rate, elevated body temperature, and hallucinations can precede more serious complications. These signs suggest that the body is struggling to cope with the high levels of methamphetamine, and immediate action is needed. Educating oneself and others about these early symptoms can lead to quicker responses, such as seeking medical attention, which could be life-saving. It’s important for users and their loved ones to understand that meth overdose is a medical emergency, and recognizing these signs early on can make a significant difference in the outcome.

Preventing a Meth Seizure

A meth seizure is one possible outcome of using this stimulant drug, affecting your entire central nervous system. Using meth just one time can lead to dependence and addiction. To prevent a meth seizure, the best thing to do is learn more about addiction treatment.

Resurgence is an evidence-based treatment center that can help you find a program that will work for your individual needs. Our clinical team has addiction treatment experts, but we also provide a comfortable, compassionate environment. Meth addiction is difficult to overcome, but certainly not impossible, especially with the best treatment available. Reach out to Resurgence today and explore our inpatient and outpatient treatment programs. Our team can also work with you on insurance verification.

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