Methamphetamine or “Meth” is now a widely used drug in America. This powerful stimulant was a black market cottage industry for years due to the availability of the ingredients used to create it. Meth labs sprung up across the nation to supply the drug, and the highly volatile nature of these chemicals have caused as much danger in its production as it has through overdose. Since its arrival on the drug scene the FDA and DEA have cracked down on the supply side through restrictions aimed at limiting the purchase of those ingredients and materials. Unfortunately, like the proverbial barn door being shut after the cows got out, Methamphetamine is now proliferated across the country.
Meth is a white powder that looks similar to the type of sugar glitter placed on cookies. It is snorted, smoked, mixed with alcohol and ingested, and even injected for the quickest delivery. Methamphetamines generally have no medical use except in rare cases of ADHD, but usually more mild stimulants are used to combat that.
Much like cocaine and other stimulants, methamphetamines produce euphoria in the brain by stimulating the production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. The high from methamphetamines can last up to 12 hours, as well as, increasing energy and lowering appetite. In fact, it is these latter reasons why drug rehabs see many female patients who are meth users. Some people actually begin use of the drug for the sole purpose of rapid weight loss and then find themselves with a physical or mental dependency on the drug that makes it extremely difficult to quit use. Ironically, what was intended for some to be a drug to assist with their ability to achieve the body they desire ends up with the user looking worse than before doing the drug. The drug itself causes feelings of mass irritation and “itchiness”, leading addicts to literally scratch and scar their skin to reduce the sensation.
Methamphetamine produces many rehab challenges for doctors because it has several side effects that create hurdles to therapy. One major problem with this stimulant is that it actually changes how the brain works over time, and reduces the brain’s motor functions and learning abilities. Deficits of cognitive reasoning and even emotional exercise occur with use.
Therefore, a patient who abuses this drug must not only detoxify from the drug entirely before cognitive therapy has a sustainable effect, but must also have time for the brain to heal itself.
Our approach to methamphetamine treatment is detoxification and heavy therapeutics, coupled with peer support, recreational activities, and holistic measures. Because of the drugs effects on the brain, we highly recommend inpatient programs where the addict can be monitored for their own safety. By the time most patients check in there is an increased chance of irrational even suicidal behavior. If you have a loved one who is addicted to this powerful substance call us today so that we can discuss with you in more detail treatment options.