The use of methamphetamine is an increasing struggle among many individuals living in the United States. In a 2017 survey, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or SAMHSA1 reported that 1.6 million people (or 0.6 percent of the population) reported using methamphetamine within the last year. If you or a loved one is grappling with methamphetamine use, there is hope, and there are many pathways you can follow to achieve and maintain recovery from addiction.

Remember, when it comes to detoxing and recovery, it is in your best interest to seek help or guidance from trained health professionals at a trusted treatment center. Read on to learn more about methamphetamine use, how long the drug stays in your urine, and the steps you can take when seeking treatment for drug addiction.

What is Methamphetamine?

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration2, Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. It was derived from the drug amphetamine and created similar effects in a person’s body but is far more potent than amphetamine. Methamphetamine was created in Japan in 1919, and was in wide use during World War II when both sides used the drug to keep their troops awake and alert. In the 1950s, methamphetamine was prescribed by doctors to use as diet aids to lose weight, to treat narcolepsy, to treat asthma, and to treat depression.

The prescription form of methamphetamine is Desoxyn. It was also used at this time by people who needed to stay awake and alert for long periods. As the usage became more pronounced and injectable methamphetamine because more available, people were abusing the medication leading to the US government making it illegal and classifying it as a Class II substance in 1970.

Today, methamphetamine is the second most popular illicit drug in the world, only second to marijuana. Methamphetamine can be made from relatively inexpensive products. It is highly addictive due to the euphoric long-lasting high that it creates, and the user keeps trying to match that first euphoric high, increasing the amount each time to do so. Methamphetamine can be sold either as a powder or a crystalline form that looks like a chunk of rock. The color can vary from white, yellow, brown, gray, orange, or pink.

Methamphetamine can also be ingested in many ways, from actually taking the stimulant orally, injecting, smoking, or snorting the drug depending on the intensity the user is trying to achieve or based on the user’s habit. It takes around 15 to 20 minutes for the drug to create the euphoric effect by ingesting it orally, where it only takes 3 to 5 minutes if snorting the drug. Both ingesting the drug or snorting the drug produce a longer-lasting high than when smoking or injecting the drug. Smoking or injecting the drug causes the drug to reach the brain very quickly, creating a very intense, rapturous sensation.

According to Medline Plus3, Methamphetamine has several common names, as well as street names for this drug. Some common names that people use are crank, meth, and speed. Street names used are Beanies, Chicken Feed, Ice, Crystal, Tina, Crink, Crypto, Getgo, Mexican Crack, Redneck Cocaine, Tick Tick, Tock, Cinnamon, and Chalk.

Methamphetamine, besides being very addictive, is also illegal and is considered a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule II drug has a high probability for abuse and can lead to psychological and physical dependence on the drug.

When Does Meth First Appear in Urine?

Methamphetamine appears in the urine two to five hours after use. Interestingly, a blood test for methamphetamine can show the presence of meth two hours after first using it. A saliva test can test positive for methamphetamine within 10 minutes of use. The human body usually expels 50 percent of the drug within 12 hours of consuming the drug.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Urine?

Methamphetamine can show up in an individual’s urine as long as one week after the last dose of the drug if they are a heavy meth user. However, the typical urine test can detect methamphetamine for up to 3 to 5 days after taking the last dose. Methamphetamine metabolizes to amphetamine, so an individual tested for methamphetamine use will usually test positive for both methamphetamine and amphetamine.

Typically, a urine test shows a higher concentration of methamphetamine than other forms of testing because the metabolites are eliminated through urine. The liver helps break down the drug, and the kidneys excrete it through urine. The time the drug is detectable in the urine depends on several factors such as the frequency of use, size of the dose, metabolic rate, age and overall health of the user, body mass, amount of physical activity, drug tolerance, and pH level in the urine. The quantity and frequency of use are significant factors in how long it takes a person to metabolize the drug from their system.

An individual in good overall health will be able to rid themselves of the substance faster than a less healthy individual. A younger person generally has a higher metabolism rate than an older person, and thus, they can metabolize the drug out of their system faster. Some other drugs can produce a false positive test, including some over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines, nasal inhalers, and cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine.

Common Side Effects of Meth Use 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse4, Methamphetamine effects can last in the system anywhere from 8 hours to 24 hours after taking the drug, depending on the method you use to administer the drug, the amount taken, and how well the person’s kidneys and liver are functioning. The drug was created and used for people with narcolepsy, people with ADHD, and for people trying to lose weight.

People often use methamphetamine to reduce their inhibitions or increase their confidence levels, manage mental health issues, or stay awake and alert and be productive for long periods. It is also often used for weight loss. If these side effects were the only issues with this drug, it would be a powerful remedy to lose weight, be efficient, stay awake for long periods, and be confident. However, there are many short-term side effects and long-term side effects from the use of methamphetamines, and most of these are very unpleasant and dangerous to your overall health.

Short Term Side Effects

  • Loss of Appetite
  • Increased heart rate, higher body temperature, and high blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased activity-lots of energy
  • Excitement
  • Nausea
  • Erratic behavior, sometimes resulting in violent behavior
  • Panic
  • Psychosis
  • Irritability
  • Dry Mouth
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Increased Libido
  • Sensations of itching or muscle spasms
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Long Term Side Effects 

  • Organ damage, especially to the liver, kidneys, and lungs
  • Tooth decay
  • Malnutrition or severe weight loss
  • Depression
  • Brain damage resulting in short term memory issues
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sores or abscesses on the skin
  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Psychosis
  • Addiction

Why a Treatment Center is Essential to Recovery

If you or a loved one is suffering from methamphetamine addiction, seeking professional help from a reputable treatment center is vital. Methamphetamine use and addiction is a difficult cycle to break. The addictive properties associated with meth are linked to dopamine, a chemical in the brain that helps human beings feel good by interacting with our brain’s pleasure and reward center. It interacts with other chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin, oxytocin, and endorphins, to affect our feeling of contentment or happiness.

Dopamine is often referred to as a chemical messenger because it sends messages to your nervous system. Your nervous system uses it to transmit messages between nerve cells. Dopamine helps to control motivation, desire, and cravings. When high levels of dopamine are released in the body, it can cause feelings of elation or bliss. Therefore, exposure to substances, such as meth, that increase dopamine production in the body can become highly addictive and becomes a difficult cycle to stop. However, it can be done with focused support, encouragement, medications, and treatment.

It is not a process to tackle without professional help, as the withdrawal symptoms can be challenging to handle. An individual who is trying to stop using methamphetamine can have severe withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, depression, suicidal thoughts, trouble sleeping, hallucinations, lack of motivation, decreased sex drive, paranoia, agitation, fever, nausea, and low energy and fatigue, to name a few. These often are worse within the first 24 to 48 hours of stopping usage but can last for months. This is why it is essential to get the professional help needed to stop using meth and treat the addiction, so a successful recovery is possible.

How Windward Way Recovery Can Help

If you or a loved one have currently tested positive for methamphetamine and is seeing the adverse effects that methamphetamine is having on your personal life or your career and you want to stop using it, there is hope and a road to recovery waiting to begin at the Windward Way Recovery Treatment Center. At Windward Way Recovery, we know and understand the struggles that come with drug usage, drug addiction, and recovery. Our qualified and professional staff will be there to help you or a loved one through the difficult journey of withdrawal, treating the addition, and understanding the process of recovery.

Windward Way Recovery staff are available any time, day or night, to assist you or your loved one through the difficult journey of drug addiction recovery. Begin the process toward recovery today by filling out this form or calling us at (855) 491-7694. Windward Way Recovery is located in Franklin, California, and is available to any patient throughout the United States. We understand the addiction cycle and know the first step of accepting treatment is often the hardest. We know the types of treatment that work, and we help every individual find the best treatment plan for their own unique situation. Our professional staff will assist you or your loved one in breaking the cycle of addiction and learning how to live successfully in recovery. Remember, the road to sobriety starts at Windward Way Recovery.

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