Methamphetamine (meth)– also known as speed, chalk, ice, crystal or glass—is a central nervous system stimulant that quickly leads to meth addiction. It is a white, colorless, bitter-tasting powder.
Most types of meth, including crystal meth, are produced in foreign or domestic laboratories or in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers lab workers, neighbors and the surrounding environment. Making illegal meth is extremely hazardous and often fatal to its manufacturers.
Methamphetamine abuse: methamphetamine’s effects and the path to meth addiction.
The meth high: Methamphetamine can be administered orally or by snorting, injecting or smoking. When meth enters the user’s brain, it stimulates the brain’s reward pathway to release the dopamine. This produces a high characterized by increased alertness, concentration, self-esteem, libido, energy and euphoria. Meth highs last for several hours.
After initial feelings of euphoria fade, meth users feel fatigued and depressed and can sleep for extended periods of time. Because the pleasurable effects of methamphetamine wear off quickly, meth users tend to abuse the drug in a “binge and crash” cycle, meaning they take more meth before the first dose is out of the system. In some cases, abusers go on a “run,” abusing for days on end without eating or sleeping.
Side-effects of meth: In the short-term, methamphetamine users experience a variety of side effects, including:
- irregular or rapid heartbeat
- increased body temperature and blood pressure
- delusions of grandeur
- repetitive and obsessive behavior (such as hand-washing or cleaning)
Long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse are quite serious. They include:
- mood disturbances
- violent or bizarre behavior
- anxiety and confusion
- difficulty sleeping
- severe dental problems (meth mouth).
- heart disease
- irreversible damage to nerve receptors in the brain
- increased risk of HIV/AIDS
Meth addiction: Methamphetamine’s influence on the brain’s reward pathway makes it a highly addictive drug. Because meth depletes dopamine output over time, users develop dependence, or the need to take higher and higher doses of methamphetamine to achieve the initial high. Meth addicts will experience withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing or curtailing use. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- increased appetite
- hypersomnia (excessive sleeping)
- lucid dreams
- drug cravings
- suicidal thoughts
Those who abuse methamphetamine by smoking are at higher risk for developing meth addiction, because smoking is the method of abuse that delivers the drug to the brain the fastest.
Availability of meth.
Due to its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is available only through a prescription that cannot be refilled. But although methamphetamine can be prescribed by a doctor, its medical uses are limited. Not to mention, prescribed doses of meth are much smaller than those taken by the average abuser.
Treating meth addiction.
With the right treatment program, recovery from meth addiction is possible. Currently, the most effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction involves comprehensive cognitive-behavioral intervention coupled with medically-monitored detox.
Recovering from methamphetamine abuse and addiction.
to methamphetamine and crystal meth can be debilitating, dangerous and, for
some, life threatening. Fortunately, effective treatment is available.
most addictions, the first step in treating methamphetamine addiction is
assessing the needs of the individual. For treatment to be most
successful, it must address the needs of the whole person, not just issues
associated with physical addiction. Various factors such as the individual’s
social, psychological, physical and demographic characteristics should be
taken into account when designing a holistic treatment program.
from methamphetamine is a vital (but not sufficient) element of treatment programs, but it's not easy for patients. Coping with
meth withdrawal symptoms can be quite difficult without help. While symptom intensity depends on the duration and severity of one's addiction,
many addicts experience anxiety, trouble sleeping, extreme agitation and
intense cravings for meth during withdrawal. Because of this, medical observation and
supervision during detox are recommended.
addict is stabilized and physically drug-free, treatment should commence. The
most effective treatments for meth addiction involve comprehensive behavioral therapy
such as individual counseling; cognitive-behavioral therapy to identify and
alter destructive patterns; and psychotherapy. Family therapy may also be
initiated to break the cycle of addiction at home and identify and patterns of
dysfunction within the family system.
may also seek out a support group, such as a Twelve-Step group, for emotional support, a sense of camaraderie and an optimistic perspective. For addicts who have felt isolated and disheartened, a support group can provide much-needed hope.
once treatment has been completed, a continuing care plan should be
established in order to prevent relapse and encourage long-term abstinence.
This could include drug testing, contingency management interventions (which
provide incentives for good behavior) and post-treatment monitoring.
The importance of professional,
is possible to recover from a crystal meth addiction without professional help,
those who seek it help often have higher rates of success in overcoming addiction
and sustaining recovery.
the most critical benefits of professional meth addiction treatment is program duration. Because
methamphetamines can stay in the system for six months after just one use,
addicts often require lengthy treatment programs and continuing care plans in
order to prevent relapse. In order to recover fully, it’s essential that addicts
follow a sufficiently lengthy treatment plan as well as all clinical
recommendations. Those who have attempted rehab before could benefit from longer treatment programs.
outpatient treatment programs can be successful, inpatient treatment is
recommended for the severely addicted. Residential treatment programs
provide the addict with a therapeutic environment in which they can recover
without the influences and pressures of the environment in which they battled addiction.
your loved ones don’t have to battle methamphetamine addiction alone. Caron’s
rehab programs are carefully designed to help each individual heal, thrive and live drug free.