What is Methamphetamine?

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Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is an addictive and potent central nervous system stimulant. It is similar chemically to various other amphetamines. Amphetamines such as Dexedrine and Adderall are used often to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Meth is highly addictive though, thus people that use it often need to attend meth rehab.

Some people use meth to help them manage obesity or short-term weight loss. Commonly, meth is utilized in forms such as crystal meth illicitly. 

Originally, methamphetamine was incorporated in society in the early 20th century to help people with their trouble breathing and nasal congestion. During the passage 1970 of the Controlled Substances Act, methamphetamine, as well as many other stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamine, became Schedule II drugs. That means that there was a high potential for abuse for these drugs that could lead to severe psychological dependence. 

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 2 million Americans utilized methamphetamine in the past year that were 12 years or older. Therefore, meth is the second most commonly used illicit stimulant. 

Why is Meth so Addictive?

Meth is so addictive because, like many other amphetamines, it results in the following:

  • Induced feelings of a sense of well-being and pleasure
  • Enhanced talkativeness and sociability 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Increased activity 

There is a major difference between amphetamines and methamphetamine. However, there are greater amounts of the drug that can pass into the brain when compared alongside a similar dose of amphetamine, therefore, making methamphetamines more potent. 

When meth is injected or smoked, the effects of it are felt extremely quicker. When this occurs, an intense, immediate, and short-lived rush transpires. Oral ingestion and snorting of meth produce euphoric effects within a couple of minutes but it isn’t considered an intense rush. 

The effects of methamphetamine use are extremely pleasurable at first. In fact, the effects of meth use last longer than cocaine effects. 

Individuals who engage in methamphetamine use attempt to maintain their high by taking more of the drug, which sometimes means foregoing sleep, food, and various other responsibilities as they binge on the drug for several days. 

When a person takes meth, there is also an increase in dopamine levels. Dopamine is a brain chemical that plays a vital role in the reinforcement of rewards and motivation. There is a widespread belief that dopamine can regulate pleasure. Researchers have shown, if nothing else, that dopamine does regulate motivation though, therefore causing individuals to preserve to maintain something positive or negative. 

What are the Short and Long-Term Effects of Using Meth?

There are many short and long-term effects of using methamphetamine that transpires after a given period. When an individual uses methamphetamine, it can result in dependence on the drug and addiction. As those two entities occur, they can end up being harmful to your mind and body over time. 

Dependence and addiction to substances can create changes in a person’s brain that can endure long periods of time. The effects are sometimes partially reversible. The chronic effects of meth use at east are:

Long-Term Effects of Meth 

  • Lung issues such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and a cough in individuals who smoke meth 
  • Increased risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis in those who inject meth, “track marks”
  • Nose bleeds, perforated septum in individuals who snort meth, nasal irritation 
  • Cardiovascular issues such as irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, and palpations
  • Major dental issues such as tooth decay, loss of teeth, and gum disease
  • Parkinson’s disease and increased risk of stroke
  • Malnutrition and excessive weight loss
  • Aggressive or violent behavior 
  • Damage to the cells of the brain 
  • Sores on the skin
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Seizures 
  • Anxiety 

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction?

There are various signs, symptoms, and side effects of meth addiction. It’s crucial to note that only a physician can diagnose a substance use disorder (SUD). To be diagnosed with a  meth stimulant use disorder, an individual would have to display within 1 year at least 2 of the following symptoms:

Symptoms of Meth Addiction 

  • An inability to stop using meth, even after methamphetamine has caused or even worsened mental, interpersonal, or physical issues
  • Developing a tolerance to meth effects, where you need to use more of the drug to feel the same effects
  • Experiencing trouble trying to complete what needs to be done at school, work, or home because of meth 
  • Having the desire to cut back or stop engaging in meth use but not being able to 
  • Spending a lot of time getting or using meth or crashing after a binge
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms once you stop using the drug
  • Using methamphetamine in dangerous situations, such as driving 
  • Cutting back or quitting on hobbies as a result of meth use
  • Taking or using more meth than what was planned
  • Experiencing strong meth cravings

Signs of Meth Addiction 

The following are signs of meth addiction to be made aware of if you are worried that you or someone you know might have a meth addiction

  • Burns on lips and fingers from smoking, track marks from injecting, and nose bleeds from snorting
  • Isolating oneself from family and friends, or spending time with new friends
  • Major behavior changes that occur quickly
  • Moving and talking more than usual 
  • Scratching at skin causing sores
  • Sleep and eating habit changes
  • Aggressive or chaotic behavior 
  • Significant weight loss
  • Fast, rambling speech 
  • Excessive energy 
  • Dilated pupils
  • Mood swings 

Psychosis and Anhedonia

Chronic use and high doses of methamphetamine are associated with two long-term health concerns: anhedonia and psychosis. Anhedonia is a diminished pleasure or interest in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities. 

There is a theory suggesting that changes occurring in the reward and pleasure centers of the brain happen as a result of meth. In turn, meth can play a role in protracted anhedonia in former individuals who engaged in meth. 

Methamphetamine also can result in drug-induced psychosis and psychotic symptoms. Drug-induced psychosis studies suggest that individuals who intravenously use or have a family history of psychosis are at an increased risk. Although psychiatric symptoms generally resolve themselves within a week of abstinence, there are some individuals whose symptoms last longer. It is possible that symptoms can reoccur during times of stress. 

Psychosis Signs 

  • Hallucinations (hearing, seeing, or feeling things that aren’t truly there, such as being completely convinced that bugs are crawling underneath your skin)
  • Delusions (receiving messages through the television and radio and being convinced that they are real)
  • Repetitive motor activity 
  • Paranoia 

Meth Addiction Treatment 

Have you found yourself asking yourself the question, “How to quit meth?” Or “How to help a meth addict?” There are several forms of effective treatment at a meth rehab center. 

It’s pivotal to note that the most ideal meth rehab treatment depends solely on the individual. The majority of individuals who are addicted to methamphetamine will experience withdrawal. 

In fact, detox is the first step that will occur at meth rehab to reach meth addiction recovery. 

Stimulant withdrawal is generally less dangerous physically than withdrawal processes of other substances such as opioids, sedatives, and alcohol. However, methamphetamine withdrawal can produce seizures in some individuals. 

The other potential dangers of methamphetamine withdrawal include the risk of overdose upon relapse and suicidal ideation. It typically takes about a week for methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms to disappear, but the general timeline for each withdrawal symptom might vary. 

Detox at a meth rehab center should be followed by other forms of treatment that address the cognitive and behavioral issues associated with recovering from meth addiction. 

Treatment for recovering from meth addiction at a meth rehab center can take place in a variety of different settings. Residential treatment or inpatient rehab occurs when an individual resides at the facility around the clock while receiving support and counseling. However, outpatient treatment allows the patient to reside at home while attending pre-scheduled rehab appointments with varying levels of intensity, depending on the person’s progress and needs to meth recovery. 

Therapy for Meth Addiction 

If you have asked yourself, “How to quit meth?” Or “How to help a meth addict?” The question lies in behavioral therapy. 

It’s essential to note that meth addiction recovery is completely possible. Some of the behavioral therapy techniques that are used commonly in meth rehab are the following:

Contingency Management Interventions and Motivational Incentives

This form of behavioral therapy can answer the following questions, “How to quit meth?” And “How to help a meth addict?” These behavioral therapies are when tangible rewards reinforce positive behaviors such as not using and attending treatment sessions. 

The beauty of these helpful behavioral therapies lies in helping people recover from meth addiction and achieve meth recovery. Meth addiction recovery is extremely attainable. As the individual stays sober, the rewards have the potential to increase in value. 

The Matrix Model

This form of therapy incorporates the following all geared towards meth addiction recovery. 

  • Positive reinforcement of desirable behaviors such as attending treatment and avoiding substance use
  • Encouragement to participate in 12-Step meetings
  • Family therapy and education 
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Drug testing

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

If you are currently asking yourself, “How to quit meth?” And “How to help a meth addict?”Meth rehab has the power to prevent relapse by increasing awareness of the following:

  • Changing harmful behaviors
  • Developing coping skills
  • Overall meth recovery
  • High-risk situations 
  • Managing cravings

Recovery Awaits at Harmony Ridge

There are various signs and symptoms of if you or a loved one needs to attend meth rehab. Meth recovery is completely possible. By immersing yourself in meth rehab, you have the possibility of feeling like a brand new person. We are here to help you recover from meth addiction once and for all. 

References:

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/meth-treatment

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130110094415.htm