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Snorting Meth

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All methods used to ingest methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth) can be dangerous, and each comes with its own unique set of risks. In addition to the many health effects meth can cause, snorting it can lead to chronic or permanent damage to the nose and nasal passages. Meth use in any form can also lead to dependence and addiction, which can be challenging to overcome without professional help.

At Guardian Recovery, we offer specialized treatment for addictions to meth, other drugs, and alcohol. Our goal for each individual we treat is to ensure they receive the tools and support they need to overcome substance misuse and sustain long-lasting sobriety. Contact us today to learn more about our comprehensive programs and personalized treatment plans.

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Why Do People Snort Meth?

Meth affects the brain and body by increasing levels of feel-good neurochemicals, such as dopamine and norepinephrine, which are responsible for regulating mood, motivation, and reward. This action leads to intense feelings of well-being, euphoria, and increased energy. People choose to snort meth for many of the same reasons they would use it via other methods or snort different drugs, such as cocaine.

However, there are some sought-after aspects unique to snorting meth. Although meth use is hazardous regardless of the way it’s administered, snorting it may come with fewer risks overall than smoking or injecting. Smoking is the most popular means of delivery, but because the intake of the drug per hit may be significantly higher and the effects more rapid, some users may opt to snort meth as an attempt at harm reduction.

It is believed that the faster and more intensely a drug reaches the brain, the higher the risk of dependence and addiction. (1) In fact, the “rush” or high experienced after snorting, although less rapid and powerful than other methods, does tend to last longer. Also, although snorting meth versus smoking it may seem like a minor tradeoff, injecting it is especially dangerous, and using needles is off-putting to many.

Risks & Dangers of Snorting Meth

Users who snort meth face many risks and dangers associated with this method of delivery, including infections, nose damage, and addiction.

Infections & Diseases

Snorting powder of any kind, including meth, can increase the risk of respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, as well as infections in the sinuses and throughout the body. (2) Although it’s most common among those who inject, meth use in any form can increase the risk of infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, especially when snorting utensils like straws are shared. (3)

Snorting Meth & Loss of Smell

Snorting meth, just like cocaine, can damage the nasal tissues, sometimes leading to a loss of smell and other nasal problems. (4) A loss of smell can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, as it can affect their ability to enjoy food and identify odors that signal danger.

Sinus Problems Due To Snorting Meth

Snorting meth can also lead to various sinus issues, including acute and chronic sinusitis and symptoms such as headache and fever. (5) It’s also associated with rhinitis, an inflammation of the nasal passages that further leads to congestion, a runny nose, and sneezing. (6) Chronic rhinitis can occur when the nasal passages are repeatedly exposed to irritating substances like meth, leading to chronic inflammation and respiratory problems.

Snorting Meth & Nose Bleeds

Meth is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it narrows the blood vessels and reduces blood flow to the nasal tissues. (7) This can lead to dryness and irritation of the nasal passages, which can cause nosebleeds. Repeated use of meth can lead to chronic nosebleeds, which can be difficult to control and can cause further damage to the nasal passages. In addition, the use of unsterilized implements, such as straws or rolled-up dollar bills, to snort meth can increase the risk of bacterial infections and nosebleeds.

Permanent Nose Damage From Snorting Meth

Chronic use of meth can also lead to the formation of nasal septal perforations, which are holes or gaps in the nasal septum that separates the two sides of the nose. This can lead to chronic nosebleeds, breathing difficulties, and a whistling sound when breathing. The damage caused by meth use can be permanent, and in some instances, surgery may be required to repair it if possible. However, even with surgery, the function and appearance of the nose may be irreversibly altered to the point of disfigurement.

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Adverse Effects Snorting Meth Can Have on the Body

In addition to the risks and effects uniquely associated with snorting meth, there are many short- and long-term adverse effects associated with meth use in general that may apply. (8)

Short- & Long-Term Side Effects Include:

  • Headache.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature.
  • Skin problems, including acne, sores, and rashes, often caused by picking or scratching.
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss.
  • Tremors or muscle twitches.
  • Seizures.
  • Hyperactivity and repetitive behaviors.
  • Anxiety and paranoia.
  • Insomnia, hypersomnia, and other sleep disturbances.
  • Delusions, hallucinations, and psychosis.

Short- & Long-Term Risks Include:

  • Chronic high blood pressure, heart attacks, and strokes.
  • Kidney damage, often due to chronic dehydration, rhabdomyolysis, or kidney stones.
  • Liver damage and failure.
  • Reduced immune function and infections.
  • Structural brain changes.
  • Cognitive impairment and memory loss.
  • impairments in decision-making and impulse control.
  • Reduced dopamine production.
  • Depressive, anxiety, and psychotic disorders.
  • Tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
  • Overdose.

Treatment & Healing From Meth Snorting

There are many ways of addressing addiction and promoting wellness, which typically begin with medical detox and treatment that continues over the long term with ongoing therapeutic care and group support.

Treatment for Snorting Meth May Include:

  • Medical detox and clinical supervision to help with withdrawal symptoms while the body is being cleared of meth and other toxic substances.
  • Behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), teach individuals how to identify and alter the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that contribute to their addiction.
  • Support groups, such as Crystal Meth Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, can provide a sense of community, support, and accountability during the recovery process.
  • Family therapy can help repair damaged relationships harmed by addiction and provide support for both the individual and their loved ones.
  • Aftercare involves ongoing support, which is important for maintaining sobriety. This may consist of regular therapist visits, support group meeting attendance, and self-care practices such as the continued use of healthy coping mechanisms and engaging in enjoyable, sober activities.

Ways to Further Promote Healing Include:

  • Practicing good self-care by eating a balanced diet, regularly exercising, and getting adequate sleep, can help the body recover from the mental and physical effects of meth use.
  • Identifying and avoiding triggers that may contribute to relapse, such as certain people, places, or situations.
  • Practicing stress-reducing techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, to manage stress and lessen the risk of relapse.
  • Repairing and rebuilding relationships, whenever possible, with family, friends, and loved ones.

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If you or a loved one have been struggling with meth use, admitting that a serious problem exists and seeking professional treatment is the first step in the recovery process. Although drug addiction is a chronic brain disease, it can be effectively treated using various evidence-based approaches and holistic activities.

At Guardian Recovery, we offer a full continuum of care, including medical detox, inpatient and outpatient programs, behavioral therapies, group support, and more. Contact us for a free, no-obligation assessment and health benefits check, and let us help you begin your recovery journey today.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

(1)https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/addiction/delivery (2)https://time.com/4851507/snorting-chocolate-powder-drugs/ (3)https://www.healio.com/news/infectious-disease/20160808/sharing-snorting-utensils-for-drug-use-may-increase-hcv-transmission (4)https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273694367_Case_Report_Maxillary_Sinus_Manifestations_of_Methamphetamine_Abuse (5)https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17700-chronic-sinusitis (6)https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nonallergic-rhinitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351229 (7)https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26568405/ (8)https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-misuse

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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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