What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is an incredibly powerful stimulant drug that impacts the nervous systems of its users. First produced in the early 20th century, methamphetamine was originally an ingredient used in bronchial inhalers and decongestants. Today, methamphetamine is a Schedule II stimulant drug that can be taken legally with a nonrefillable prescription. It has proven effective in relieving certain symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as for weight loss treatments. The dosages prescribed to treat these issues, however, is far lower than the amount typically misused recreationally.

Methamphetamine comes in the form of an odorless, bitter-tasting, white crystalline powder that can be dissolved in liquids such as water or alcohol. This drug goes by many different names including ice, meth, chalk, and crystal.

Compared to amphetamine drugs, methamphetamine has a much greater impact on the body as larger amounts of the drug are able to reach the brain.

Further, this drug more strongly impacts the central nervous system, making addictions more common.

Methamphetamine Use in the United States

A widespread survey conducted in the United States in 2012 found that a staggering 1.2 million individuals, who represents roughly .4 percent of the U.S. population, reported using methamphetamine in the past year. Additionally, 440,000 individuals had used methamphetamine in the past month.

Methamphetamine is a drug often experimented with by adolescents and teenage users. In fact, the same survey found that roughly 1% of 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students had consumed methamphetamine in the past year.

Overall, there appears to be a downward trend in use of methamphetamine across the country. Despite this, much work still needs to be done to prevent new users and to assist populations and individuals devastated by this dangerous drug.

What Makes Methamphetamine so Addictive?

Methamphetamine can be consumed in a variety of ways, including through injection, snorting, or by oral ingestion. When a user consumes a large amount of this drug, they will experience a euphoric high during which feelings of intense joy and pleasure are brought on. This pleasure is a result of an increase in dopamine into parts of the brain that control this feeling. This signature high of methamphetamine is then followed by a strong crash. Because the pleasurable feelings of methamphetamine disappear relatively quickly, users will attempt to preserve their high through continued binging on the drug.

The duration of the high felt with methamphetamine can be adjusted by changing the consumption method. While injecting this drug results in a short-lived high, snorting or orally consuming methamphetamine can produce a high that lasts for half a day.

Users of this drug become addicted because it can alter mood in a desirable way. Only a small dosage of methamphetamine can increase wakefulness, decrease appetite, and intensify physical activity. Some may become addicted to drugs as a way to lose weight, or as a method for increasing their ability to perform daily activities.

Risk Factors for Addiction

Research has found that certain risk factors are present for the possible development of an addiction to methamphetamine. These risk factors include genetics, as well as a range of environmental and physical factors.

Genetics: Those in the medical field have concluded that addiction can be heritable. Those with a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, who has battled a substance abuse addiction appear to have a greater risk of developing an addiction themselves.

Environmental: Studies have found that individuals who were raised in or lived in chaotic environments in which substance abuse, neglect, crime, and violence were present, have an increased risk for developing a meth addiction.

Physical: Using meth for long periods of time can eventually diminish mental functioning, leaving users unable to make positive decisions and resist impulses. This in turn makes them incapable of abstaining from continued use of methamphetamine. When an individual has reached this state of altered brain chemistry caused by meth, they are at risk for developing a serious addiction.

Additional common risk factors for developing a methamphetamine addiction can also include the presence of pre-existing mental health issues, having easy access to meth, as well as peer pressure among friends to use.

Effects of Methamphetamines on the Body

Because meth is such a strong stimulant drug, even small doses will have mind-altering effects. Some of the immediate and short-term effects of methamphetamine on the body can include increased respiration, hyperthermia, decreased appetite, increased attention, euphoria and rush, as well as decreased fatigue. Some of the more dangerous short-term effects of this drug impact the heart, such as irregular heart rate and heartbeat, as well as an increase in blood pressure.

Long-term and chronic use of methamphetamine will lead to a wide variety of very harmful side effects, some of which can cause irreparable damage to the mind and body. Those suffering from a dependency or addiction to meth might experience anxiety, insomnia, violent behavior, hallucinations, paranoia, convulsions, confusion, cardiovascular problems, and even homicidal and suicidal thoughts. Another common side effect of chronic meth use are delusions, particularly the delusion that insects are crawling on the skin. This causes many users to scratch at their skin, leaving unsightly sores and wounds.

Additionally, it has been found that some users who have abused meth for long periods of time will have a difficult time experiencing any pleasure outside of what is produced by the drug. This can severely diminish quality of life and cause depression, making time spent with friends and family less desirable to the user.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Addiction

As an individual falls deeper and deeper into their methamphetamine addiction, they will likely start to display a variety of signs and symptoms indicating their use. The range of behavioral, physical, psychosocial, and cognitive exhibited by each individual user will vary in presentation and severity. Some of the most common behavior signs of meth addiction include rapid speech, erratic behavior, and unwarranted aggression. Further, those suffering from a meth addiction will often start to skip school or miss work, as their focus turns towards getting high. This will lead to poor performance reviews and grades, sometimes ending in the loss of a job or expulsion. Those battling an addiction to methamphetamine might also become secretive and isolated, attempting to hide the extent of their use from friends and family.

Cognitive symptoms of meth addiction might include memory loss, loss of reasoning and judgment, as well as difficulties with learning. The psychosocial signs of meth addiction typically include depression, psychosis, manic episodes, extreme mood swings, anxiety, and agitation. Finally, the physical symptoms displayed by someone addicted to meth will often include facial tics, muscle spasms, changes in appetite, weight loss, sweating, twitching, poor hygiene, and hypersomnia.

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs and symptoms of meth addiction, it is important that a quality meth addiction treatment program is sought out immediately.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment

In order to treat a methamphetamine addiction, addicted individuals will have to enroll in an intensive meth addiction treatment program. The most effective methamphetamine treatment options include a variety of behavioral therapies, such as contingency-management interventions and cognitive-behavioral therapy. These forms of methamphetamine addiction treatment are holistic and comprehensive, encompassing family education, individual counseling, behavioral therapy, group therapy, and more. Contingency-management interventions involve the use of tangible rewards and incentives for abstaining from meth use, such as memberships to gyms or gift cards to local restaurants.

The ultimate goal of behavior-oriented meth addiction treatment is to help addicted individuals better recognize situations that will lead them to use this drug. They can then avoid environments in which use is likely to occur.

Further, an important component of behavioral therapies used in the methamphetamine treatment process is to equip recovery patients with the tools to resist use months and years after they’ve left treatment. Effective meth treatment will involve long-term planning, helping patients develop healthy ways to combat life’s stressors.

Methamphetamine treatment will also usually involve some form of group therapy as well. It is invaluable, for example, for individuals seeking Adderall addiction treatment, to discuss their experiences with others who have had similar life experiences during their fight against addiction. In this group setting, recovery patients report a sense of camaraderie and support, helping them stay motivated to work towards their goal of a healthy and drug-free lifestyle.

Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment at Bluff

Meth addiction treatment at Bluff is unlike any other treatment option available today. At our facility, we’ve gathered the most highly qualified and certified addiction experts, committed to providing recovery patients with the highest quality care and attention. We understand that methamphetamine addiction treatment is difficult, and have designed a center in which you’ll feel safe, supported, and comfortable. Holistic therapies at our rehab center include nature trails, equine therapy, meditation, and yoga, ensuring your stay at our facility is peaceful and rejuvenating.

At Bluff, we understand that proper amphetamine addiction treatment involves the creation of individualized plans to address the unique needs of each recovery patient. We conduct an extensive evaluation of every person who enrolls in our meth addiction treatment programs, taking into account their personal history of addiction, family history, and current health status. Further, we will give you the opportunity to tell us what you’re looking for in a methamphetamine treatment program, ensuring you’re completely satisfied.

Methamphetamine is a drug that can destroy lives. Your life doesn’t have to be one of them. Contact the addiction specialists at Bluff today to conduct your free evaluation, during which we’ll discuss the meth addiction treatment options available to you. Because we strive to provide top rated addiction treatment to all, our initial consultation will also include a discussion of your health coverage and payment options. Our phone lines are open 24/7, so give us a call and begin your journey towards health and recovery in a center that is compassionate, understanding, and knowledgeable of your needs.

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