Alcohol And Meth Facts
Alcohol is one of the deadliest chemicals to date and a highly addictive substance. Continued alcohol use changes the chemical compounds in the brain, causing intense withdrawal symptoms when stopped; symptoms can range from cravings to auditory and visual hallucinations. Roughly 86.3% of people drink alcohol, according to a 2018 survey. Furthermore, that 88,000 people have died yearly from alcohol-related deaths reveals the complication of alcohol use and its addictive qualities. Alcohol consumption poses risks such as cirrhosis of the liver, brain or kidney damage, depression, jail time for alcohol-related crimes, specific cancers, and fatal overdoses.
Meth is also highly potent, causing almost immediate addictions and intense physical symptoms. In addition to the euphoric side effects of Methamphetamines, the highly abused and potentially fatal substance produces intense withdrawal symptoms that often are avoided by continued drug abuse. After continued use, Meth can cause dental decay damage called Meth mouth, extreme weight loss, skin damage and facial scarring (from picking the skin), heart failure, and psychosis. When people combine multiple drugs, known as poly-drug use, they are increasing their odds of suffering fatal overdoses—especially when alcohol is involved.
When people combine multiple drugs, they are increasing their odds of suffering fatal overdoses.
Combining Meth And Alcohol
A study drew a connection between the likelihood of Meth abuse and alcohol use. The results concluded that “daily drinkers were 5 times more likely to abuse Meth.” In former years, 16% of Meth-related hospital visits included alcohol. A common explanation for why this combination has occurred is for individuals to offset the stimulating effects of Meth with the relaxing impact of alcohol or vice versa. Meth reportedly allows the user to drink much more.
Because Meth stimulates the user, some people may seek to combine it with alcohol to decrease its effects and create a feeling of balance. The idea that large amounts of alcohol will depress the side effects of Meth via binge drinking can seem to produce a sense of control to hide or mask Meth abuse.
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Meth Abuse And Binge Drinking
Studies found there was an increase of Meth abuse in the case of binge drinking. Binge drinking is marked by drinking large amounts of alcohol in a specific amount of time. Women are considered to be binge drinking when they consume 4 or more drinks in a 2-hour timeframe, men when they drink 5 or more drinks in a 2-hour timeframe. A study conducted by Columbia University and the New York Psychiatric Institute concluded the following when examining men who abused both substances:
- The participants felt less drunk due to this combination.
- Meth “counteracted some cognitive impairment caused by alcohol.”
- Individuals developed a tolerance to both drugs and didn’t feel the effects as strongly as before.
Since some participants did not feel the effects of alcohol as strongly as one would expect. This could cause risky behaviors because of people underestimating their intoxication. For example, they might drive while drunk. Additionally, individuals could seek more alcohol to increase feelings of intoxication; they might engage in cycles of binging or heavy drinking. Lastly, conditions like alcohol toxicity can occur if those combining both drugs abuse large quantities of alcohol to offset Meth’s side effects.
Common Questions About Rehab
Signs Of Meth And Alcohol Abuse
Meth abuse has visibly identifiable symptoms to look for, which include but are not limited to:
- Hyperactive behavior
- Rapid weight loss
- Poor to no appetite
- Heart palpitations
- Dental decay
- Meth tolerance/withdrawal
Alcohol abuse can have more subtle signs; when combined with Meth abuse, signs may be easier to spot. When Meth is combined with alcohol, symptoms can include:
- Increased drinking
- Fatal overdose
- Hallucinations (both from Meth and alcohol use)
- Liver damage
- Kidney damage
- High blood pressure
Meth And Alcohol Withdrawal
Meth and alcohol abuse create withdrawal symptoms that cause disruptive and challenging effects on the mind and body. Signs of withdrawal occur when a drug dependence has taken place. Withdrawal symptoms can range from anxiety to depression, to vomiting, nervousness, dizziness, lack of appetite, and uncontrollable drug cravings. Many people find it difficult to endure withdrawal symptoms if they are trying to get clean; as a result, many opt to go cold turkey. Withdrawal is best when treated by the care of a qualified medical professional, where medications and supervised detox is facilitated. It is imperative to note that alcohol withdrawal can be fatal if it is not medically supervised.
Alcohol and Meth both change the structure of the brain; going “cold turkey” can be extremely difficult. Detox is beneficial, as patients are safe and away from risk factors that can contribute to addiction (bars, friends, etc.). Secondly, the patient has monitored care provided by a medical professional. Standard detox medications are administered in accordance with the patient’s healing timeline. Community-based 12-step support groups that center on unique needs of those involved are available to build rapport during treatment. Some facilities also offer counseling, nutritional plans, exercises, and mind-body techniques for relaxation.
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Krystina Murray has received a B.A. in English at Georgia State University, has over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience, and over 15 years of overall writing experience. She enjoys traveling, fitness, crafting, and spreading awareness of addiction recovery to help people transform their lives.
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- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2020.) Alcohol Facts and Statistics. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics
- Very Well Mind. Saleh, Naveed. (2020.) Risks of Mixing Meth with Alcohol. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.verywellmind.com/mixing-meth-with-alcohol-1124153
- Drug And Alcohol Depend. Roche, Daniel. Bujarski, Spencer. Ray, Lara. (2014.) The Relationshhip Between Methampetamine and Alcohol Use In A Community Sample of Methampetamine Users. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4157644/
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014.) Harmful Interactions. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines
- Drug Free World. (2019.) What is Binge Drinking? Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/alcohol/what-is-binge-drinking.html
- Very Well Mind. T, Buddy. (2020.) The Physical Effects of Methaphetamine Use. Retrieved on August 21, 2020 from https://www.verywellmind.com/visible-signs-of-methamphetamine-abuse-67600
Certified Addiction Professional
Deborah Montross Nagel
Deborah has a Master’s Degree from Lesley University and has been certified as an Addictions Counselor in PA since 1986. She is currently a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor – CAADC. She is nationally certified as a MAC – Master Addictions Counselor – by NAADAC (The National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors). Her 37 years of experience and education are in addiction, recovery, and codependency. Addiction affects the entire system around the addict. There is no "bad guy" in the system. Fight the addiction, and help the addict. I help loved ones restore sanity to their lives and hence encourage change. Recovery is possible!
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