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Meth Addiction

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Meth Addiction

meth-addictionDangers and Treatment Options for Meth Addiction

A study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2012, shows that there were roughly 1.2 million people who had used meth within that year. This concerning trend of meth abuse has led to many cases of addiction, creating a higher demand for treatment programs. Meth addiction can quickly deteriorate a person’s life due to the negative impacts it can have on their physical and mental well-being.

 What is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It is an illegal drug that is commonly smoked, injected or snorted and has a high risk for addiction. It is known most popularly by the names, chalk, ice, and crystal. Due to the delivery methods, its’ effects are instantaneous but also short lived. This often results in a binge cycle, where repeated doses are taken over a short period of time.

It has a similar chemical composition to amphetamine and it takes the form of a white crystal powder that is odorless and bitter-tasting. It is a Schedule II drug, which means it has a medical purpose, but also has a high potential for abuse.

How does Meth Affect the Brain?

When methamphetamine enters the brain, it causes increased activity in the neurotransmitters responsible for dopamine, a chemical that controls pleasure and reward systems. This results in a distinct feeling of euphoria or a “rush,” but only lasts a few minutes. The “crash” happens after the flood of dopamine has exited the brain.

Dependency can occur after repeated use, causing irrational and compulsive drug seeking behavior. The dopamine levels in an addict’s brain are strained and eventually only become active during a drug binge.

 Signs of Meth Addiction

There are many signs that can indicate whether or not a loved one is abusing or addicted to meth. Some of the signs may become noticeable upon immediate use, while others may appear as the addiction progresses.

 The following are signs of a meth addiction:

  •          For those who inject meth: needle marks will be present on the neck, feet, hands, legs or arms
  •          Anger, hostility and irritability
  •          Persistent paranoia
  •          Hallucinations
  •          Frequent lung and sinus infections
  •          Phases of euphoria followed by depression and fatigue

 Stages of Abuse

There are understood to be three categories of meth abuse, depending on the amount and frequency of its use. When used in low doses or on rare occasions, the drug may be snorted or swallowed in order to curb one’s appetite or to gain motivation to complete a task. A binge user will often smoke or inject the drug for a more intense rush, resulting in a higher risk for addiction. The ultimate form of abuse is seen in those who use the drug persistently and put forth all their time and energy towards acquiring more meth.  As dependency develops, a tolerance builds; increasing the amount of the drug needed to achieve the same results.

 Withdrawal Symptoms of Methamphetamine Addiction

 When planning to treat an addiction, it is important for the individual suffering to seek assistance from a rehab program. This will ensure that they are receiving the proper help for recovery, as well as the necessary tools for avoiding relapse and other medical complications. Withdrawal symptoms often include hypertension, heart palpitations, seizures, risk of coma and death, vomiting, fever, chills and an intense cravings. Therefore, a professional detox program is required to help mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal.  

Treatment Options for Meth Dependency and Abuse

 When a person decides to seeks meth rehab, they can expect to enter into a behavioral therapy program that assists them in making the appropriate changes in order to avoid meth abuse. Individual counseling, group therapy, the 12-step program and motivational incentives, can be employed to treat a person suffering from addiction. 

After the initial treatment, patients are given tools and techniques to deal with future situations that might cause them to relapse. Addiction is often a life-long condition that needs to be addressed over a long period of time.

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