Use of methamphetamine, widely known as meth, has sharply increased since the 1990s. Meth addiction causes severe effects on the body and brain. Meth causes a large surge in dopamine, which produces a euphoric high. Changes in dopamine and other neurotransmitters change various parts of the brain, creating addiction.
It is important that meth addiction treatment take place in a drug rehab prepared to handle the potential physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with meth cessation. Detox and stabilization help regulate brain chemistry, while other parts of meth rehab help clients address underlying issues related to methamphetamine addiction and any co-occurring disorders.
What is Meth?
Meth is a very addictive stimulant drug with chemical properties similar to amphetamine. Meth is a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that can be smoked, snorted, taken orally or dissolved in liquid (water or alcohol) and injected. Small meth batches are made in illegal laboratories with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter substances like pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient found in cold medicines. Bigger labs in Mexico manufacture large amounts of the drug.
The smoked form of meth came into wide use starting in the 1980s and is most often referred to as crystal meth. Crystal meth is bluish-white or clear and resembles glass fragments. The high purity crystals are smoked in a glass pipe like crack cocaine. The smoke is odorless, leaves a residue that can be re-smoked and produces effects that may last for 8-12 hours.
Why is Meth so Addictive?
Meth changes a person’s mood in various ways depending how it is taken. Users initially report feeling confident and powerful, with limitless energy, increased productivity, enhanced sexual performance and decreased appetite. Those who smoke or inject meth describe a short-lived, intense sensation or rush. Binging on meth is one way users can sustain the high, however this is followed by a coming down and crash. These are the ups and downs of meth addiction.
Once a tolerance develops through increased use, meth addicts need growing amounts to obtain the same high. It is the serious physical changes in the brain that cause meth addiction and make quitting so difficult.
Dangers of Meth Addiction
Even in small doses, methamphetamine can intensify wakefulness and physical activity and decrease appetite. High doses can raise body temperature to unsafe and often lethal levels and cause seizures. Long-term meth abuse is associated with cravings, dangerous behavior, brain dysfunction, and loss of self-control. Chronic meth users can experience any of the following side effects or symptoms:
Behavioral Side Effects of Meth Addiction
Physical Side Effects
Florida Meth Addiction Treatment
Depressive symptoms occur regularly in methamphetamine users who have recently stopped drug usage, so proper medical oversight is required to help manage these symptoms. If a person binged for days or weeks, severe withdrawal symptoms can last up to 10 days. Due to meth-induced neurotoxicity in the brain, some symptoms such as psychosis can last for months or years after meth use has stopped. It is critical to get the individual into Florida Meth addiction treatment, so they can be safely detoxified and participate in other treatment modalities such as: