Methamphetamine is a stimulant that is medically used to treat certain psychological disorders. A stronger form of this drug is being sold illegally in the streets as a recreational drug. Because of its widely unregulated use, meth overdose is very common and may lead to death [1, 2].
What is Methamphetamine?
When methamphetamine is taken in by the body, it stimulates the production of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters activate several organs of the central nervous system and cardiovascular system.
A weaker form of methamphetamine is used as a treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Those who use meth for recreation are very prone to addiction.
Typical symptoms associated with the use of meth include a feeling of “rush” and euphoria, increased cardiac rate and respirations, increased activity and talkativeness but they have a decreased desire to eat.
People who are already addicted to meth can exhibit the following physical symptoms: tooth decay or tooth loss, presence of open sores due to consistent skin picking and hair loss [3, 4].
How much is Meth Overdose?
The amount of meth needed to overdose is dependent on several factors such as the weight of the user, the tolerance of the user to the drug and the purity of the methamphetamine being used. The higher the weight of the patient, the higher the amount needed before he overdoses.
This is the same with the developed tolerance of the user in such that the longer the person uses methamphetamine the more amount it would take to achieve the desired effect.
This means that over time, the user will have to take in increasing amount to reach the “high” that they want. In terms of the purity, the purer the variety the lesser the amount it would take before a person overdoses .
What are Meth Overdose symptoms?
If a person takes in a large amount of methamphetamine, he may present with symptoms associated with meth overdose.
These symptoms may include: difficulty in breathing, renal damage or failure, seizures, stroke, heart attack, stomach pain and coma. These individuals may even exhibit paranoia or delusional behavior which can be dangerous to the people around them .
What is Meth Overdose management?
Meth users who might overdose on methamphetamine should be brought to the hospital right away. Time is essential in the management because the sooner medical treatment is initiated, the better the chance of patient’s recovery.
Supportive care such as initiation of artificial breathing and intravenous fluids may be done to manage the presenting symptoms.
Medications may be given to address the complications of the brain, heart and kidneys. Meth taken by mouth may be removed from the body through the use of laxatives or activated charcoal. Blood and urine tests may be performed to assess the damage to other body systems [1, 4, 5].
How to prevent Meth Overdose?
The best way to prevent the overdose on methamphetamines is to stop the recreational use of this drug. Individuals who have become addicted to this drug should undergo withdrawal and detoxification of methamphetamine.
After undergoing detoxification, training on relapse prevention and sobriety support have proved to be essential in keeping individuals from using the drugs again [1, 2, 5].
The risk of meth overdose is real and it can be fatal to those who are addicted to this drug. If you have more info, you can share it in the comment section below.
- Heller, J. L. (2015, April 23). Methamphetamine overdose. Retrieved from Medline Plus: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007480.htm
- Project Know. (2016). Facts About Crystal Meth Overdoses. Retrieved from Project Know: http://www.projectknow.com/research/crystal-meth-overdose/
- Kish, S. J. (2008). Pharmacologic mechanisms of crystal meth. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1679-1682.
- Timberline Knolls. (2016). Meth Addiction Symptoms and Effects. Retrieved from Timberline Knolls: http://www.timberlineknolls.com/drug-addiction/meth/signs-effects/
- Addiction Blog. (2013, April 1). Methamphetamine overdose: How much meth does it take to OD? Retrieved from Addiction Blog: http://drug.addictionblog.org/methamphetamine-overdose-how-much-meth-does-it-take-to-od/
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