Some addictive substances are defined as “uppers” while others are defined as “downers”. Most drugs fall into one of these two categories. These terms refer to the mental, physical, and emotional reactions a user experiences while under the influence of a specific substance.  Uppers are stimulants that increase energy, generate feelings of invincibility, and sharpen focus while downers act as depressants that impair motor skills, produce lethargy, and relieve discomfort. 

While uppers and downers generate opposing side effects, each is equally capable of harming the user.  Complications associated with uppers include rapid heart rate, aggression, and high blood pressure, whereas downers contribute to breathing suppression, low blood pressure, and impairment of motor skills. 

Is Meth an Upper or a Downer? 

Methamphetamine, commonly referred to as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant, classifying it as an upper. Due to its energizing properties, meth was a popular diet aid and antidepressant in the 1950s. By 1970, The U.S. Government ruled the drug illegal, citing its destructive and addictive nature. Since being criminalized, illegal production and drug trafficking remain solely responsible for the availability of meth today. Today, methamphetamine is among the top 5 most addictive, illicit drugs in the world.  According to the CDC, an estimated 1.6 million U.S. adults reported past-year methamphetamine use.

When methamphetamine is ingested, it manipulates brain chemistry and activity. With prolonged use, irreversible damage can be inflicted on the brain as well as other brain-reliant organs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, methamphetamine use alters the brain’s dopamine regulation that is associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning, resulting in an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the nerves that affects movement, among users.

Unlike other addictive substances, there is no approved medication for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction or methamphetamine overdose. Some side effects of methamphetamine abuse are irreversible and the withdrawal process is typically unaided. A recent increase in methamphetamine overdose fatalities illustrates the real danger of this stimulant. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 15% of all drug overdose deaths involved methamphetamine in recent years.

Side Effects of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. The use of methamphetamine results in a short high in which the user experiences: 

Increased Focus


Decreased appetite

Sense of invincibility

Weight loss

Rapid heartbeat 

Increased strength and/or stamina

Facial scars or ‘picking’ scars 

Tooth decay 

Knoxville Recovery Center Can Help 

Methamphetamine abuse is very dangerous to the user if left untreated. Fortunately, help is available for those battling this addiction. Depending on the stage of an individual’s addiction, they may require detox, an intensive treatment program, or both. Fortunately, Knoxville Recovery Center offers various services to those struggling with this addiction. 

Services offered: 

Detox – Our on-site detox clinic accommodates and supports clients as the body sheds all residual traces of meth. Clients are under medical supervision during the detox process to ensure that they remain safe and comfortable. 

Addiction Treatment –  During our addiction treatment program, clients will engage in introductory therapies and exercises that work to prepare them for continued, more intensive treatment outside of our facility. The goal of our addiction treatment track is to stabilize clients so that they are treatment-ready. 

Mental Health Treatment – Our mental health treatment program introduces behavioral therapies rooted in self-expression and holistic exercise. Art therapy, music therapy, and yoga are just a few forms of therapy we offer at the center. Our goal is to help the client reclaim their voice and expose them to treatment within a professional facility. 

Aftercare Planning – Aftercare is designed for individuals who have benefitted from our introductory addiction services and are transitioning into a more intensive addiction treatment program. Once a client is stabilized, they will be encouraged to pursue continued addiction treatment. Our experienced case managers will then work with our clients to place them in a program that addresses their specific wants and needs. 

Addiction is difficult to overcome alone. If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with meth abuse, our specialists are on standby and ready to help. Call Knoxville Recovery Center and speak with an addiction expert today.

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