Methamphetamine Symptoms and Signs of Addiction
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Introduction to Meth
Methamphetamine (meth) is a potent, extremely addictive drug that will cause devastating effects on your personal life and health, even if you only try the drug once. According to Methamphetamine Drug Facts: “Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.”
Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Because of this chemical makeup, the high with meth begins and ends very quickly.
This is part of why users so commonly binge the drug and forgo sleeping and eating for days or weeks when using. It is also what makes it so dangerous.
Meth is Dangerous
Those who struggle with meth abuse and addiction can be referred to as many things in western society, including meth-head, tweaker, and various other nicknames associated with the use of methamphetamines. Meth is a dangerous, synthetic, stimulant drug that “meth-heads” often take along with other substances.
When using meth, you may experience feelings such as heightened euphoria, alertness, and increased energy. However, using meth also changes how your brain works. It speeds up your body’s systems to dangerous levels, including increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and respiratory rate.
As with any illegal drug, even taking meth once constitutes abuse. And just as easy it is to get addicted to meth, is just how hard it is to recover from the addiction. It can be tough to break a meth addiction or to stop meth abuse. Methamphetamine increases the amount of a natural chemical that your brain releases, known as dopamine.
Dopamine is involved in both the motivation and reinforcement of “rewarding” behaviors. In turn, since meth rapidly releases these high dopamine levels, it strongly reinforces your drug-taking habit. This is why when you use meth; you will immediately want to continue using it despite the consequences.
Meth Abuse and Overdose
Meth abuse is also often linked to overdose and, subsequently, death. According to a research report in 2017, about 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths were from methamphetamine use, and 50 percent of those deaths also involved an opioid. That’s why it is vital to note it is common for street methamphetamine to contain cheap, dangerous synthetic opioids without your knowledge.
Effects and Signs of Meth Use
Chronic meth use leads to many damaging, long-term health effects, even if you stop using meth. Even if you are only taking small amounts of methamphetamine, it can result in many of the same health issues as other stimulant use, such as cocaine or amphetamine abuse. This is why it’s important to recognize the symptoms of meth use.
Short-Term Effects and Signs of Meth Use
The “exciting” short-term effects draw many users back to meth, even after the first use. However, there are also many near-immediate negative consequences and symptoms of meth use that you should keep in mind. These range from physical to mental side effects.
If you are using meth, some of the short-term effects you should be aware of include, but are not limited to:
- Increased wakefulness and physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Faster breathing
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature
As mentioned, the long-term effects and symptoms of meth use can be very dangerous. For instance, if you inject methamphetamine, your risk of contracting infectious diseases — such as HIV and hepatitis — increases greatly. Because these diseases are transmitted through bodily fluids and blood, the sharing of drug equipment puts you at risk.
Also, “A biological reason for higher HIV risk with crystal meth use” by the San Francisco AIDS Foundation (SFAF), shows that HIV causes more injury to nerve cells and more cognitive problems in people who use methamphetamine than it does in people who have HIV and are not drug users.
Methamphetamine use can also permanently alter your judgment and sound decision-making. This can subsequently lead to more health issues.
Long-term methamphetamine use has many other negative consequences, including:
- Extreme weight loss
- Changes in your brain structure and function
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Violent behavior
- Severe dental problems
- Intense itching
- Skin sores
- Reduced coordination
- Impaired verbal learning
- Emotional issues
Although some of these brain changes may reverse after being off the drug for a year or longer, unfortunately, you may not recover from other effects even after a long period of time.
Meth and Mental Illness
Methamphetamine is linked to a number of mental illnesses and impairments. This includes not only the exacerbation of existing issues but also the onset of new problems to your mental state. Both while taking it and while withdrawing from the drug, you may experience a host of mental issues, including, but not only limited to:
- Severe depression
Because of the link between methamphetamine use and mental illness, we consider therapy an essential factor in recovery. If you show symptoms of meth use, it is time to seek out the right treatment program for you. While treating your methamphetamine abuse and addiction, we will address and treat your mental illness simultaneously to give you the best chance at long-term recovery.
Treatment for Methamphetamine Overdose
We take treating your issue with methamphetamine abuse or addiction very seriously. First, however, we highly suggest you understand the risk of overdose from meth. Because of its powerful and addictive qualities, many meth users, or “meth-heads,” accidentally overdose.
If you overdose from methamphetamine, it could lead to a stroke, a heart attack, or organ problems. When overdosing, first responders and emergency room doctors will be the first to treat you. They will do so by restoring blood flow to the affected part of your brain, restoring blood flow to your heart, and, lastly, treating organ issues.
Many suffering from a meth addiction often come to Resurgence Behavioral Health because they suffered from an overdose. Our team is well-equipped to deal with an overdose’s aftermath and will work on developing a long-term recovery plan.
Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction
Whether you have overdosed or are simply ready to seek help for your methamphetamine addiction, we are here to help at Resurgence Behavioral Health. Effective treatment can help those struggling with symptoms of meth use.
Since there are currently no government-approved medications for methamphetamine addiction, we will tackle your addiction together with a personalized compilation of behavioral therapies. As with most every drug addiction that we tackle, we will begin by working with you through the withdrawal period.
We then discuss both inpatient and outpatient options and go over your specific treatment regimen.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Methamphetamine Addiction
Our team at Resurgence Behavioral Health has a strong background in treating drug addictions, specifically methamphetamine addiction. Our dedicated staff has found that Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy typically helps those recovering from meth abuse recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations that trigger their drug use.
You can and will recover from methamphetamine addiction because we give you access to effective and personalized treatments that will address any medical and personal problems resulting from your meth use.
Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment at Resurgence
At Resurgence Behavioral Health in Orange County, CA, we are here to help and support you through finding your truest self while leaving your most destructive self behind. We understand what it takes to get you through your methamphetamine withdrawal and the emotional and psychological support you’ll need from us to become your best self.
And we are ready to help. Please feel free to contact us today with any questions or concerns if you or a loved one are experiencing meth use symptoms.