When people use methamphetamine, it produces a rush of dopamine – a chemical that is responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure, and reward. As a result, meth makes people feel euphoric and energized for hours on end. However, this is exactly what makes meth so addictive. In fact, some people fall into meth addiction after as little as one use. Oftentimes, when people use the drug, they will continue to use it repeatedly to stay high for several days at a time.
Repeated use of meth, also known as crystal meth, ice, or crystal, leads to the development of a tolerance where an individual must take higher doses in order to achieve the same effects. Consequently, people use more and more meth as time progresses and they become physically and mentally addicted to the drug. The addictive properties of the drug combined with the low cost are what is responsible for widespread meth addiction nationwide.
As soon as the high begins to wear off, meth users experience a “crash.” This crash is characterized by unpleasant withdrawal symptoms like depression, irritability, fatigue, and anxiety. Since many people will continue using meth to avoid feeling these withdrawal symptoms, the best way to sober up is with the help of a professional drug detox and rehabilitation center near you.
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Abuse
Crystal meth can be smoked, injected, or snorted to produce a rush of euphoria and long-lasting energy. People who take meth will experience an increase in blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, and energy. Although the initial rush that comes from using meth only lasts about half an hour, the entire high can last for up to 24 hours depending on how much a person used and how they consumed it. People who are under the influence of meth might exhibit the following:
- Lack of appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Dry mouth
- Dilated pupils
- Irregular heartbeat
When used in the long-term, these symptoms evolve into devastating side effects including:
- Meth mouth – teeth begin to decay and break down due to the chemicals in meth
- Weight loss/malnutrition – with a lack of appetite, extreme weight loss is common among people suffering from meth addiction
- Skin sores – agitation and paranoia can lead to skin picking which creates open sores, abscesses, and other infections
- Blood-borne pathogen diseases – sharing needles can lead to a higher risk of contracting HIV or hepatitis
- Damage to sinus cavities – snorting meth can damage the nasal passages leading to breathing problems and chronic nosebleeds
- Other adverse health effects – these include seizures, stroke, heart attack, mental illness, and overdose
The longer a person uses methamphetamine, the more likely they are to struggle with the adverse side effects of the drug. As a result, it’s crucial to know how to recognize both meth abuse and meth addiction so that you know when it’s time to seek help for yourself or a loved one.
Understanding Meth Addiction
Repeated meth abuse usually turns into an addiction. This is because repeated use leads to tolerance, and increased used leads to physical dependence. Once the body is physically addicted to a drug as powerful as meth, it is almost impossible to stop without professional help. Meth addiction manifests in both the mind and the body, so in addition to the earlier listed signs and symptoms of meth abuse, signs of meth addiction include:
- Using meth even if it is causing a physical, mental, or social problem in one’s life
- Spending all of one’s money, resources, and time getting and consuming meth
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug
- Needing to take increasing quantities of meth to produce the desired effects
- Lying to friends and family about drug use
- Experiencing problems at work, school, or home due to drug use
- Neglecting prior responsibilities
- Isolating from friends, family, and activities one once enjoyed
- Feeling intense drug cravings
- Lying, cheating, or stealing in order to maintain one’s habit
In the long term, people who are addicted to crystal meth might struggle with paranoia, delusions, memory loss, psychosis, depression, and other mental health conditions. This makes overcoming addiction much more challenging. Unfortunately, being able to recognize the signs and symptoms of meth addiction is only the beginning. The real work begins upon seeking help from a drug rehab near you.
Meth Detox and Treatment Programs
Detox is usually the first step of meth rehab. Although methamphetamine detox is typically not life-threatening, most people prefer going to an inpatient detox program so they have access to 24/7 support. However, meth detox can be accomplished on an outpatient basis. During detox, staff will monitor the patient’s vital signs and symptoms to help support them during withdrawal. Some over the counter and prescription medications may be used to induce sleep, calm agitated patients, and minimize serious withdrawal symptoms.
Once patients are deemed medically stable and have finished detox, the next step is usually inpatient or outpatient rehab. The level of treatment required depends on the patient’s specific needs, but both types of treatments use the same therapies to support patients. Using behavioral therapies, group and individual counseling, and facilitating community support, patients learn how to deal with their triggers and cope in substance-free ways. In addition, therapy helps address underlying conditions or unresolved traumas that may have caused the addiction to develop in the first place. As you can see, intensive therapy is an integral part of meth addiction treatment.
Being a chronic and progressive illness, meth treatment usually consists of a continuum of care. After treatment, patients are encouraged to participate in aftercare programs, such as recovery support groups, 12-step programs, alumni groups, and/or sober living hopes to help maintain their sobriety.
The most important thing to remember when finding the right meth treatment program is that every program is unique. Similarly, every person is different and has unique needs. As a result, before choosing a rehab center, be sure to speak with a trusted addiction professional about your options to figure out which type of treatment is right for you.
Get Help for Meth Addiction Today
Meth is an extremely addictive and harmful drug. If you or a loved one is caught in the midst of meth addiction, it may seem as though you will never be able to recover. However, with the help of a highly-individualized addiction treatment program, recovery is possible. To learn more about your meth rehab options and to get connected with the most trusted addiction specialists in the nation, give us a call today.
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