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Methamphetamine Abuse


Methamphetamine (meth) abuse is any use of meth, or needing more meth for the same effects you got from smaller amounts.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Psychiatric assessment:

Healthcare providers will ask if you have a history of psychological trauma, such as physical, sexual, or mental abuse. They will ask if you were given the care that you needed. You will also be asked if you drink alcohol or use other illegal drugs. They will ask you if you want to hurt or kill yourself or others. How you answer these questions can help healthcare providers plan your treatment.


  • Activated charcoal may be given if you swallowed meth. Activated charcoal helps absorb the drug in your stomach. You may vomit.
  • Sedative medicine may be given to help you stay calm and relaxed.
  • Antipsychotics may be given to decrease thoughts that people are trying to hurt you. This medicine may help prevent you from having hallucinations.
  • Antidepressants can decrease feelings of depression. This medicine may also decrease your drug cravings and help you want to stay in a treatment program.
  • Blood pressure medicine may be given to lower your blood pressure.


  • Blood, urine, and hair tests may be used to check for meth. You may also be tested for HIV, hepatitis, and tuberculosis.
  • A newborn meconium test may be used to check for meth. Meconium is your newborn baby's first bowel movement.
  • Telemetry is continuous monitoring of your heart rhythm. Sticky pads placed on your skin connect to an EKG machine that records your heart rhythm.

Mental health treatments:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you change your thinking and behavior. It can help you manage depression and anxiety caused by meth use. CBT can help you learn good coping skills and ways to manage stress. CBT can be done with you and a talk therapist or in a group with others.
  • Family therapy and support groups may include your friends and family. Support groups are meetings with a talk therapist and other people who have used meth or other drugs. Programs near where you live may support your choice to quit using drugs. Ask for information about programs in your town.

Burn treatments:

If you are burned while making meth, you may need the following treatments:

  • Fluid replacement may be needed if you become dehydrated from being badly burned. You may need IV fluids to replace what has been lost.
  • Wound treatment may be needed. The wound may be cut open and drained, or covered with medicine and bandages.
  • An endotracheal tube (ET) may be needed if your lungs are damaged from inhaling chemicals. The ET is put into your mouth or nose. It goes down into your windpipe to help keep your airway open and help you breathe. It may be hooked to a ventilator (breathing machine), and you may get extra oxygen through your ET tube.


  • You may become dependent on meth. Dependence means you need to use more meth, or use it more often, to get the same effects. You may change the way you use meth, such as from snorting to injecting, to get a stronger form of the drug. Your body may get used to the amount of meth you use. This is called tolerance. You may be unable to stop using it. When you try to stop using meth, you may have withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings for the drug. You are at increased risk for suicide because of depression and anxiety. Meth use can also make you want to hurt or kill other people. You can overdose on meth, even on a small amount.
  • Any meth use can cause serious medical problems. Your heart may not be able to pump correctly. You can have a heart attack, kidney failure, seizure, or stroke. Blood vessels in your body or brain can burst, causing bleeding and death. You may have trouble breathing or stop breathing because your airway swells and narrows after you inhale meth. You can lose consciousness, have a seizure, and your heart may stop beating. This can be life-threatening.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Methamphetamine Abuse (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

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