Ok, so you've weighed up the things you like about meth against the things you don't like so much, and you've decided to keep using for the time being.
Now what? Well, it's really important to consider the possible harms from meth use so you can do something concrete to reduce your risks. Check out the tips below, and surf the net to get as much other advice about reducing harms from meth use as you possibly can, including safer injecting tips if you do inject.
Don't forget to weigh up your pros and cons regularly though because life can change pretty quickly when meth is in it.
Some people might experience anxietyAn extended period of worry or nervousness that's hard to control - can involve poor sleep and difficulty concentrating, as well as feeling restless, tired, and irritable., sweating, racing heart, dizziness, irritability, confusion, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, rapid breathing, paranoiaExtreme suspiciousness, can be linked to a false belief (delusion) of being under threat from harm. or panic. After using high doses, some people might see, hear or feel things that arenít real (hallucinationsA sensation that has no basis in reality, can involve hearing, seeing, feeling or smelling.), or have strange or frightening ideas or beliefs (delusionsFixed, false beliefs that can't be shifted even when challenged with logical, opposing evidence.).
Long-term users might lose a lot of weight, become dehydrated and develop kidney problems, have trouble sleeping, have gingivitisInflammation of the gums. and cavities due to dry mouth, damage teeth due to grinding and jaw clenching, feel that Ďbugsí are crawling under the skin, habitually pick at the skin, have trouble thinking clearly, and have mood swings including depressionA disorder of mood which usually involves feeling 'flat' or sad; disturbed sleep; poor concentration; loss of interest in sex, eating, or other enjoyable activities; irritability; aches and pains; avoidance of social contact; and possibly suicidal thoughts. and possibly suicidal feelings. Others might have problems with money, employment, study, housing, relationships or the law.
Injectors might damage veins, contract or transmit blood borne viruses such as Hepatitis B&C from sharing injecting equipment, and develop heart problems such as weakened heart muscle or endocarditisAn infection of the lining of the heart..
Try not to use more than two times in a week, and no more than a small amount each time. Have regular or set non-using days each week. The risk of becoming dependentThree or more of the following: strong desire to use; use more than intended: wish to reduce or stop; use despite harms; tolerance; withdrawal. on meth is high for regular users, injectors and smokers of ice.
Injecting meth is risky, but if you do choose to inject, make sure you use safer injecting techniques. There's lots of on-line information about safer injecting, but if you're looking for a place to start, try the AIVL site: www.aivl.org.au
Drink plenty of water - keep a water bottle handy so you can take frequent sips even if you don't feel thirsty. Don't let yourself become dehydrated.
Plan a time to come down if youíve been bingeing or using regularly so you can eat, drink, rest and sleep undisturbed for a few days. Stock the fridge with good food so you donít have to go out; take the phone off the hook; turn off your mobile; make sure you don't have to go to work or do anything important; avoid making important decisions until you feel better.
Eat a balanced diet. You can still eat a little even if you don't feel hungry. Weigh yourself regularly to make sure you're not losing too much weight.
Try milk, high protein drinks, shakes, or fruit smoothies if you really canít eat very much.
Get enough rest. Going more than two nights without sleep is stressful on the body so plan rest periods too. Even marathon runners plan regular rest breaks.
Brush and floss regularly, and chew sugar free gum to take some pressure off tooth enamel. Dental health can suffer because meth tends to dry up saliva which helps to fights bacteria.
Plan for the week ahead and make sure you donít use (or be in the middle of coming down) just before an important event or commitment. Planning helps to keep life a little more on track.
Call on friends or family who donít use meth if you feel scared, paranoid or panicky. Even though it's sometimes hard to ask for help (some people feel embarrassed or even ashamed), support people can often help you calm down. Donít hesitate to call for specialist help if you need it.
Take a total break from using meth if you hear, feel, or see things that arenít there, or start to have strange or scary thoughts. Sometimes people can experience psychosisMental health disorder that can include hearing or seeing things (hallucinations), false beliefs (delusions), extreme suspiciousness (paranoia), and seemingly irrational behaviour. and if this happens to you, get some professional help (e.g. GP, local emergency department, local mental health service).
Stop and think. Consider if you're doing things that you wouldnít normally do to get meth. Sometimes people donít realise that their life has gotten out of control, and your own moral compass is a good indicator.
Call an ambulance on 000 immediately if you or a friend overdoses on meth Ė ambulance officers donít routinely call police in the event of an overdose, and untreated meth overdose is life threatening.