Meth Addiction is the inability to stop using methamphetamine regardless of the harmful physical, psychological, or social side effects it is causing an individual. It is an addiction many Americans face, one that can be overcome with proper intervention, and ongoing treatment. More commonly, this drug is used illicitly in forms such as crystal meth. Methamphetamine was originally synthesized from amphetamine in the early 20th century as a treatment for nasal congestion and trouble breathing.
With the passage of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, methamphetamine, as well as other stimulants amphetamine and cocaine were placed on Schedule II as drugs with a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe physiological dependence. The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 2 million Americans 12 years or older used methamphetamine in the past year, making it the second most commonly used illicit stimulant.
Primarily, crystal meth is easy to get and cheap for how long the high lasts. For instance, a small amount of crystal meth that costs maybe ten dollars could allow one or two people to stay high and keep partying for a full day or longer. Other reasons meth addicts cite for seeking out the drug include rapid weight loss and the way it lowers inhibitions and increases libido. Some people turn to crystal meth after their tolerance to a different drug has grown so much that they can no longer get high from that substance. Crystal meth can not only provide the high the addict is looking for, but it also costs less and lasts longer. Meth Addiction Treatment begins with medical detox.
Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Available in many different forms, meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or ingested orally. Each of the methods of meth use will have a different effect on the user and the amount of time that the drug is active will differ slightly from one method of use to the next. Method of Methamphetamine that can affect the user:
- Injecting meth – leads to an intense rush or flash of a high that is described as a pleasurable state which typically only lasts a few minutes.
- Snorting or Oral Consumption of Meth – leads to a less intense rush that lasts anywhere from 5 to twenty minutes and can linger.
- Smoking meth – leads to a fast uptake of the drug into the brain and can amplify the addiction potential as well as many adverse health consequences such as lung tumors and other problems.
Short Terms Effects of Meth
Meth also impacts the brain’s levels of serotonin, which is responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and memory. When the effects of methamphetamine wear off, the brain is depleted of both dopamine and serotonin, creating feelings of depression and anxiety. Repeated use of methamphetamine also leads to tolerance, meaning that users need higher doses to receive the same effect. These higher doses fuel the addiction to the drug.
The short-term psychological effects of methamphetamine include:
- Euphoria like extreme happiness
- Heightened sense of well-being
- Increased alertness
- Increased wakefulness
- Edginess, anger, irritation, or anxiety
- Unpredictable behavior
- Urges to do repetitive or meaningless tasks
Some of these effects such as euphoria, excitement, and a heightened sense of well-being can make the user want more and more of the drug. Short-term physical effects of methamphetamine include:
- Increased physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Rapid breathing rate
- Rapid or irregular heart rate
- Elevated body temperature like overheating
- High blood pressure
- Dilated pupils
- Uncontrollable jaw clenching
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
Even with this long list of physical effects, most of them negative. Users may still become addicted to meth due to the perceived beneficial psychological effects listed above.
Long-Terms Effects of Meth
Many of these effects may continue for several months or even years after users have stopped taking the drug. Research has indicated that at least 50% of the brain’s cells that produce dopamine can be damaged from long-term use of even low doses of meth. In addition to the damage to dopamine-producing cells, studies have shown that the damage to nerve cells containing serotonin may be even greater.
Long-term psychological effects of methamphetamine include:
- Mood swings
- Memory loss
- Suicidal thoughts
- Homicidal thoughts
- Sleeping difficulties
- Aggressive behavior
Long-term physical effects of methamphetamine may include the following:
- High blood pressure
- Meth mouth like severe dental problems
- Increased risk of contracting Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and HIV
- Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s like symptoms due to brain damage
- Significant weight loss
- Damaged nerve terminals in the brain
- Liver and kidney damage
- Sensation of insects crawling on skin
- Lung disease
- Heart problems
- Skin sores caused by scratching
Loved Ones Abusing Meth
If someone you love is abusing meth, and cannot or will not stop on their own, it may be time to seek professional help. If they are in denial about their harmful behavior, you may want to set up an intervention with an addiction specialist and gather their close friends and family members. This person may also be aware they are addicted but are unable to stop despite trying to ween back their dosage. In this case, it would be helpful for you to support them in their recovery, by finding them a nearby Meth Addiction Treatment center with medical professionals who can assist in their detox, treatment, and recovery.
Causes from Overdose Using Meth
Using meth and becoming addicted is that high doses can lead to overdose.
Symptoms of overdose include:
- Dangerously high body temperature
- Heart attack
Meth Addiction Treatment
Various forms of effective treatment are available to those with an addiction to meth, and the best meth treatment options depend on each individual. The majority of people who are addicted to meth will go through withdrawal, and detox from meth is the first step prior to treatment. Stimulant withdrawal is typically less physically dangerous than withdrawal from some other substances, such as alcohol, opioids, and sedatives. However, methamphetamine withdrawal can produce seizures in some people. Other potential dangers include suicidal ideation and the risk of overdose upon relapse.
It generally takes about a week for these symptoms to go away, but the timeline for each person’s withdrawal symptoms may vary. Detox should be followed by other forms of treatment that address the behavioral and cognitive issues associated with addiction. Inpatient rehab or residential treatment occurs when you stay at a facility around the clock while receiving counseling and support. However, outpatient treatment allows you to live at home and attend pre-scheduled appointments with varying levels of intensity, depending on your needs and progress in treatment.
Variety of Treatment
Meth Addiction Treatment begins with medical detox. Once that is complete, there are a variety of treatments that can help with recovery, including:
- Behavioral therapy – changing behaviors that would once trigger the use of drugs into behaviors that are now productive and do not include drug abuse.
- Family education – teaching others in the family about meth addiction and how they can help their loved one by not facilitating the addiction but to support their recovery.
- Individual counseling – providing a safe place for the addict to get help for their addiction without having to worry about the thoughts of others. Individual counseling also allows for a place to talk about potential causes of the addiction such as past or present physical abuse or trauma.
- In addition. 12-step therapy – crystal Meth groups are available in communities to provide social support for recovering addicts.
- Last. Contingency management interventions – These programs offer incentives to the patient when he or she goes a set amount of time without using meth by providing coupons or vouchers to assist them in finding something that they like as a reward. The coupon may be for a free meal, a special gift or something else of value.
Types of Therapy for a Meth Addiction
Behavioral therapy is effective in treating meth addiction. Some behavioral therapy techniques that are commonly used in treatment may include:
- First. Cognitive-behavioral therapy – a treatment to prevent relapse by increasing awareness of high-risk situations, developing coping skills, changing harmful behaviors, and managing cravings.
- Second. Contingency management interventions – it is a motivational incentives which tangible rewards reinforce positive behaviors such as attending treatment sessions and not using. As you stay sober, the rewards may increase in value.
- Last. The Matrix Model – which incorporates behavioral therapy, individual therapy, family therapy and education, encouragement to participate in 12-step meetings, drug testing, and positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors such as avoiding substance use and attending treatment.
Methods of Use
Methamphetamine users have several means of taking the drug to achieve a high. They may take the drug in pill form, smoke it, inject it, or snort it. Smoking or injecting meth produces an instant high that lasts between 8 and 12 hours, which leads many people to take repeat doses to remain high. When taken orally, the drug’s effects can last anywhere from 6–12 hours, but they are not as intense.
At We Level Up Treatment Center, we provide world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. We all work as an integrated team providing Meth Addiction treatment for successful recovery. Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.
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