Within the world of drugs, there are substances considered “uppers” and substances considered “downers”. With the exception of a small few, most drugs fall into one of these two categories. These terms refer to the physical, mental, and emotional reactions an individual experiences while being under the influence of a specific substance.  Uppers are stimulants that produce an increase in energy, feelings of invincibility, and sharpened focus while downers act as depressants, inducing lethargy, feelings of euphoria, and relief from discomfort. 

While uppers and downers yield opposite effects, each is equally capable of inflicting damage to the user.  Complications associated with uppers include rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and aggression whereas downers contribute to breathing suppression, low blood pressure, and impairment of motor skills. 

Is Meth an Upper or a Downer? 

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant, categorizing it as an upper. Due to its invigorating properties, meth was a popular diet aid and antidepressant in the 1950s. By 1970, The U.S. Government ruled the drug illegal, citing its destructive nature and the likelihood of developing addiction. Since then, illegal production and drug trafficking remain solely responsible for its availability. Today, methamphetamine ranks in the top 5 of most addictive, illicit drugs in the world.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults reported past-year methamphetamine use with 52.9% in the study group reporting an existing methamphetamine use disorder between the years of 2015 to 2018. 

When methamphetamine is ingested, it alters brain activity. With prolonged use, irreversible damage can be inflicted on the brain as well as other organ systems that rely on it to function. As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system that are associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning, resulting in an increased risk among users of developing Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nerves that affects movement.

Unlike many addictive substances, there is no approved medication for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction or methamphetamine overdose. Some side effects of prolonged methamphetamine abuse are irreversible and the withdrawal process is typically unaided. A recent increase in methamphetamine overdose fatalities illustrates the real danger of this upper. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved methamphetamine in recent years.

Side Effects of Using Methamphetamine

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. The use of methamphetamine results in a short high in which the user experiences: 

Increased Focus

Decreased appetite

Rapid heartbeat 

Sense of invincibility

Increased strength and/or stamina

Facial scars or ‘picking’ scars 

Weight loss

Tooth decay 

Agitation

drug addiction

Asheville Recovery Center Can Help  

Methamphetamine is an extremely addictive stimulant that inflicts long-term damage on the body when abused. It is important to seek help immediately if you or a loved one is struggling with this addiction. At Asheville Recovery Center, treatment specialists have developed a unique, hybrid model of treatment which combines a traditional 12-step program with holistic rehabilitation. A multitude of services, programs, and therapies are offered, including the Partial Hospitalization Program, Residential-style treatment, outpatient rehabilitation, and more. 

The founders of Asheville Recovery Center, as well as many of our addiction therapists, have struggled with addiction and now enjoy life in recovery. They understand the struggles of addiction and how difficult it is to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call (828)518-6996 and speak with an addiction expert today so you can take the first step towards a rewarding life of sobriety.

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