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What Are Meth Binges?

Teen holding a small plastic baggie filled with crystal meth rocks  

Methamphetamine — or meth for short — is a potent stimulant and addictive drug. It can make people feel so good they may use it for days at a time without pausing for other activities like sleeping or eating. This type of behavior is called binging.

Not all teens who try crystal meth binge it, but binging is a sign of a developing or developed substance use disorder (SUD). People who binge will have severe crashes and symptoms of withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms can happen when a person becomes dependent on methamphetamine. When someone uses the drug for a long period, their brain cells adjust to the presence of the drug and have a hard time functioning without it. When the drug is stopped or taken away, the person feels withdrawal symptoms.

Examples of how withdrawal from meth affects the body include:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Intense Cravings
  • Irritability
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure (anhedonia)
  • Sleeping too much or too often (hypersomnia)

After regular use of meth, most people will feel withdrawal symptoms for up to 14 days. Because these symptoms are uncomfortable, many people will return to drug use to stop the symptoms from happening.

Meth Abuse Patterns

Meth abuse is more complex than many realize. Meth statistics show that people take the drug differently depending on where they live. Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected or taken by mouth depending on the level of abuse.

Meth and other drug use may fall into different categories that include social, functional, or dependent use.

People who use meth socially typically do so only in group settings or during parties. This type of abuse pattern is less harmful than other types of abuse patterns because teens will limit their use to social settings. Unfortunately, methamphetamine is very addictive, and teens often do not just use it socially.

Another type of abuse pattern is functional use. Teens who engage in functional use either take methamphetamine regularly while they are not working or going to school, or they use it because it helps them focus at work or school.

Finally, teens with dependent methamphetamine use have to take the drug to feel normal. They may be unable to get out of bed in the morning without taking methamphetamine first. Teens engaged independent use are more likely to binge and crash on methamphetamine. They are likely to ignore their basic bodily needs, such as eating and sleeping, to use meth. Meth can cause financial, legal and occupational trouble for people in this stage.

Binging on Methamphetamine

Drug binges are common while on meth. Meth directly activates the pleasure and reward centers of the brain, so when a teen takes meth, they feel the urge to continue using the drug. The danger of meth is that it feels so good most people cannot control their usage and will use it even when they are putting their health, money, and friendships at risk.

For example, three day-meth binges (or longer) are common, and someone will use the drug every few hours without sleeping, eating, or taking care of personal hygiene. While a binge can last from three to seven days, most people will go through a meth crash after just a few days, since the body usually has trouble staying awake for longer than this.

Methamphetamine Use During Teenage Years

Most people who use meth start in their 20s or 30s and only a small portion of teens will try it. However, substance use in adolescence increases the chance that someone will go on to use drugs in adulthood, making it harder to treat.

The side effects of meth use also become more prominent when people start taking it as teenagers. The damaging effects are more pronounced when a person’s brain and body are still developing.

If you or a friend has started using methamphetamine, please consider calling Next Generation Village. Meth is a very addictive drug, and it is difficult to stop without professional help. We have knowledgeable and caring professionals dedicated to treating teen addiction.

Medical Disclaimer: Next Generation Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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