Shooting Up Meth: The Dangers

Also known as intravenous drugs, shooting up meth is the act of injecting methamphetamine into the bloodstream. Short for methamphetamine, meth was originally introduced to the United States in the 1930s. If you’re wondering about shooting up meth and the dangers of doing so, the short answer is simple: It’s incredibly dangerous and potentially even fatal.

Although meth was originally used in inhalers, meth produces an incredibly intense high. Now, meth is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the country, with at least 1.6 million people using in 2017 alone.

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shooting up meth the dangers

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system stimulant. It comes in many forms but is popularly known as ice, crystal, glass, crank, or speed. The drug is snorted or smoked.

But can you shoot up meth?

Actually, shooting meth with a needle is the most intense form of using this drug. Meth creates a false sense of happiness, a false sense of confidence, and a huge surge of energy. Shooting meth is by far the most dangerous form of meth usage.

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What are IV Drugs?

IV stands for intravenous. These are drugs that are injected directly into the body. Shooting drugs create track marks on the user’s arm.

Typically people attempt to hide these marks by injecting between toes or other discreet areas. This is not always the case though, and some who shoot up meth are very obvious users.

Can You Inject Meth?

Meth abuse by injection is common among addicts because it gives the strongest effect. Once addicts have snorted the drug enough times, they may resort to smoking it, and finally shooting up meth.

How to Tell If Someone is Shooting Up Meth

There are a few ways to tell if someone is shooting up meth. One common sign is experiencing highs and lows, which is similar to drinking coffee and crashing from the caffeine.

Common side effects during the “crash” period after shooting up meth and being high include:

  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Difficulty making decisions.
  • Nodding head irrationally.
  • Falling asleep randomly.
  • Mood swings.

Other signs someone might be shooting up meth include:

  • Clothing that does not fit the season, such as wearing long sleeves when it is extremely hot to hide track marks.
  • Extreme weight loss can be a sign of shooting up meth. Using meth means you will be up at all hours and often will not eat during a binge. The extra energy received from the drug will also burn calories at an alarming rate.
  • Changes in a routine that include loss of appetite, increased appetite during periods of depression, or a change in sleep patterns. Shooting up meth can cause major changes in all aspects of an addict’s life.

Physical Effects of Shooting Up Meth

Injection Site Marks

An injection site will usually have a small bruise from repeated needle insertion. Additionally, those who are shooting up meth for long periods will develop track marks. These appear as dark veins in the arm but will lead to a darker area around the injection site.

Collapsed Veins

Collapsed veins happen when you continue to pump substances into the same vein. Collapsed veins can occur simply by going to the doctor, but it more often occurs when shooting up meth.

When a vein collapses, it means it will no longer be able to transport blood to the rest of the body. Collapsed veins are hard to spot, and you will have to look carefully to see one.

Skin Infections

Skin infections may occur at the site of injection in prolonged IV usage. Meth users typically have poor hygiene, so there is a higher risk of infection.

Soot Tattoos

Before shooting meth, the needle is “cleaned” in a flame. Soot tattoos occur from the coloration on the needle created by the flame. The soot that formed on the needle from burning it goes directly into the body. These leave behind dark marks that continue to get darker over time. To hide these marks, many people get tattoos to cover them.

Dangers of Shooting Up Meth

  • Collapse of veins.
  • Sores around injection sites.
  • Bruising.
  • Blood clots.
  • Bacterial or fungal infections.
  • Skin infections.
  • Heart infections.

Shooting up meth increases the risk of contracting viral infections. Many people who shoot up meth will share drugs with the people they are around. Anyone who shares needles puts themselves at high risk for contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and other blood-borne viruses. Transmission of skin diseases is possible due to needle sharing, as well as bone infections.

Methamphetamine also suppresses the immune system. Suppression makes the progression of HIV infections faster, making it harder to treat and more likely to turn into AIDS.

If you are shooting up meth, you may also avoid getting medical help. Avoiding medical help can be due to having a financial focus on drugs and not caring about their life anymore. More conditions such as depression can pop up, making the user feel hopeless.

The Psychological Impact of Meth Use

Methamphetamine use leads to profound and often irreversible effects on the user’s psychological well-being. Chronic use of meth can cause severe alterations in brain structure and function, manifesting in symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and aggressive behavior. Over time, meth users may experience a decline in cognitive abilities, struggling with memory, decision-making, and emotional regulation. These changes not only contribute to the continuation of drug use but also impact the individual’s ability to engage in treatment and recovery, complicating the path to sobriety.

The psychological toll of meth use extends beyond neurochemical imbalances; it deeply affects the user’s sense of self and relationships with others. As addiction takes hold, priorities shift dramatically, often leading to the neglect of personal and professional responsibilities. This can result in the loss of significant relationships, employment, and social standing, further exacerbating feelings of isolation and depression. Recovery from meth addiction requires a comprehensive approach that addresses these psychological aspects, offering therapeutic interventions that promote mental health, enhance self-esteem, and rebuild damaged relationships.

What Other Drugs Can Be Injected?

Meth and heroin are the most commonly abused drugs for injection, but there are a few other drugs typically injected as well:

  • Steroids.
  • Bath salts.
  • Some prescription drugs.
  • PCP.
  • Ketamine.

The purpose of shooting up any drug is to create a stronger and faster effect. Similar to how doctors inject prescription painkillers into patients, many addicts abuse drugs in the same fashion.

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What To Do If Someone is Shooting Up Meth

If someone you know has a problem shooting meth, then you need to look for physical signs of addiction. Physical signs include track marks, lack of hygiene, dirty needles, and paraphernalia around their house, or small plastic baggies in the trash can.

Sometimes the only way to help someone who is shooting up meth is to stage an intervention. An intervention allows you to talk about how their addiction has impacted you and why you think they should get help. Treatment is eventually the only option in truly getting clean.

How to Support a Loved One Struggling with Meth Addiction

Supporting a loved one through meth addiction is a delicate balance of compassion, encouragement, and setting boundaries. It begins with understanding the nature of addiction as a complex disease that affects both the mind and body. Families and friends can play a pivotal role in encouraging their loved one to seek professional help, offering a non-judgmental space for open communication. It’s crucial to educate oneself about the specific challenges of meth addiction, including the potential for relapse, to foster a supportive environment that prioritizes recovery.

Interventions, when conducted respectfully and professionally, can be a powerful tool in motivating individuals to enter treatment. However, support doesn’t end with the commencement of rehab; ongoing encouragement is vital throughout the recovery process. This includes participating in family therapy sessions, learning about the triggers and stresses that contribute to substance use, and helping to create a stable, drug-free environment at home. Above all, it’s important to recognize the long journey ahead, celebrating milestones in recovery while preparing for the possibility of setbacks, always reinforcing the message of hope and the possibility of change.

dangers of shooting up meth

Meth Addiction and Mental Illness

Studies have shown a link to methamphetamine use and triggering both psychosis and schizophrenia. Meth changes your mood, thought process, and can trigger behavioral disorders. Methamphetamine causes neuroadaptive and pathological changes in the brain. Even if you have never experienced psychosis before shooting up meth, it is completely possible to develop it.

If you are or someone you love has a meth addiction and a mental health problem, both disorders require treatment. Without doing so, it will be impossible to treat the addiction fully.

Rebuilding Life After Meth Addiction

Recovery from meth addiction is just the beginning of a journey toward rebuilding one’s life. The process involves much more than achieving sobriety; it requires individuals to reconstruct their sense of self, repair damaged relationships, and find new purposes and passions. Reintegration into society can be challenging, as the stigma of addiction often persists, potentially hindering employment opportunities and social connections. Supportive services that focus on vocational training, education, and skill development are essential for helping individuals gain the confidence and competencies needed to navigate this new phase of life.

Maintaining mental health is paramount in the recovery process, necessitating ongoing therapy and support groups to manage the psychological aftermath of addiction. Relapse prevention strategies become a daily practice, as individuals learn to identify triggers and develop healthy coping mechanisms. The support of family, friends, and recovery communities provides a network of encouragement and understanding, reinforcing the individual’s efforts to stay drug-free. With patience, perseverance, and the right support, those recovering from meth addiction can rebuild their lives, finding fulfillment and joy beyond substance use.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Inpatient and outpatient programs will always offer help with making a plan to overcome meth addiction. The first step toward recovery is to enter a medical detox. A detox will help wean off the drugs in a milder method.

Although treatment can be scary, meth addiction is terrifying. To help a loved one struggling with their addiction to shooting up meth, talking to a treatment center is your best bet. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer free insurance verification for treatment. Verification will allow you to understand what you can afford, and the monetary impact treatment will have on your life. Contact us today or call 855-458-0050 to get started on your road to recovery.

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