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What is Meth and a Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine, or meth for short, is a stimulant medication that affects the central nervous system (CNS) when abused, the drug produces a rush and feelings of energy and pleasure creating a meth addiction.
A key main ingredient in meth production is the over-the-counter drug pseudoephedrine.
The ease at which the drug can be made is the main reason why it is one of the most popular illegal substances in the nation.
Addiction to meth can have many adverse effects. Individuals struggling with meth addiction might feel hopeless and think that recovery is unachievable.
The good thing is that help is available, and long-term recovery is possible.
At resurgence behavioral health we offer a comprehensive evidence-based treatment program for meth addiction.
This means that our treatment methods are proven to work when helping individuals overcome drug addiction.
Meth Addiction Statistics
Meth is a highly addictive drug that can have sever negative effects on an individual.
In 2017 according to the NSDUH 1.6 million individuals in the USA reported that they were active users of methamphetamine. Meth addiction affects people from all walks of life and socio-economic classes.
On average people take meth for the first time in their early 20’s Meth is one of the most popular substances that cause visits to the ER.
Cases of death due to overdose of methamphetamine increased by 7.5 times from 2007 to 2017 15% of all deaths due to overdoses were due to meth abuse.
How Is Meth Abused
Meth can be abused in many ways. In general, the way in which an individual administers the drug to themselves can determine the intensity of their high, the physical dangers and the risks of overdose from abusing the drug.
Below are the ways in which meth can be abused:
Smoking or injecting meth tends to have a more intense effect when compared to swallowing or snorting the drug. Smoking and injecting the drug delivers the meth to the brain immediately.
This produces a rapid and more intense high.
Meth Addiction How Does it Start
People often abuse meth for its euphoric properties. The drug produces an intense high that lasts just a few minutes.
It increases levels of a chemical called dopamine in the brain, causing individuals to feel an enhanced sense of well-being. In most cases people abuse meth for the high it produces when taken.
Meth produces a euphoric feeling that will last for a short time, in general just a few minutes. In many cases individuals abuse the drug because they simply like the feeling, however in most cases there is an underlying root cause to why someone is abusing meth.
These root causes may be a mental health disorder including but not limited to trauma, PTSD, depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Because the individual is struggling with these unaddressed issues, they often self-medicate to ease their struggle.
Meth abuse becomes meth addiction, when an individual’s life begins to be adversely affected by their habit. Addiction can also be defined as having a physical or mental dependence on the drug.
This means that the user suffers from withdrawal symptoms whenever they attempt to become sober or abstain from meth use.
Signs & Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction has many signs, symptoms and side effects. Each individual is unique and therefore it is important to note that meth abuse will manifest itself differently from person to person.
In general, the signs and symptoms of meth addiction include:
- Bad breath
- Dilated pupils
- Irregular breathing patterns
- Loss of interest or pleasure
- Low appetite
- Low or no motivation
- Memory problems
- Premature aging of the skin
- Rotting teeth
- Sudden weight loss
- Suicidal thoughts
- Trouble sleeping
There may be additional signs and symptoms.
The Dangers of a Meth Addiction
As meth abuse progresses into prolonged / heavy meth addiction the body’s dopamine receptors are drastically reduced. Long-term continuous and heavy use of meth sometimes causes the brain to lose the ability to sense dopamine even if they return to a normal level.
This creates the inability for the individual to feel normal levels of pleasure. Which in turn can lead to depression and other mental health issues.
Immediate Side Effects of Meth Addiction
The short-term / immediate effects of meth can last between 8 hours to a day. Individuals suffering from meth addiction may suffer from insomnia where they stay awake for several days.
During periods of continuous or binge use individuals may experience the following short-term symptoms of meth use:
- Increased heart rate
- Chest pain
- Suppressed appetite
- Flushed or itchy skin
- Muscle twitching
- Raised body temperature
The most severe and perhaps immediate danger of meth abuse is an overdose. Individuals who overdose on meth can suffer from heat stroke, heart attack, and seizures if they take too much of the substance at once.
In many cases, if the individual is not treated immediately, they can sustain irreparable organ failure / damage and even death.
Long-Term Health Effects of Meth
When meth is used for a prolonged period of time the brain becomes dependent on the drug and its effects. Because the brain becomes reliant on the drug to function properly, an individual will suffer from withdrawals if they try to stop using the drug abruptly. This dependence is perhaps the most dangerous long-term effect of meth abuse. Below we will outline the other ong-term effects of meth abuse. They are broken out into two categories 1) long term mental effects of meth abuse and 2) long term physical effects of meth abuse
The possible physical effects of meth use include:
- Respiratory issues
- Heart disease
- Liver failure
- Blackened, rotting teeth
- Kidney failure
- Premature aging
- Birth defects
- Reproductive issues
- Skin infection
- High blood pressure
- Sudden cardiac death
The long-term psychological effects of meth use include:
- Impaired cognition
- Memory loss
- Anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
There may be additional long term effects.
Meth Addiction Treatment
When addiction is left unaddressed the damage created by the drug can be irreparable. Spotting meth addiction early will drastically increase the chances of achieving long term sobriety and abstinence from the drug.
If you or your loved on is struggling with meth addiction it is always suggested that you seek professional treatment programs such as a detox or a rehab. This is because these facilities are designed specifically to help individuals struggling with meth abuse overcome their addiction.
They address the mental and physical elements of the addiction simultaneously. They will also address any co-occurring disorders that may be present. In many cases individuals who successfully graduate from an addiction treatment program will engage in aftercare activities.
These activities come in the form of 12-step programs, Alumni programs, group meetings, and continued therapy.
If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, contact us today to get immediate help.
We are available 24/7 nights weekends and holidays.
Our addiction specialists will walk you through the process of getting int a methamphetamine treatment program.
Call now and start your recovery from meth addiction.