What is Meth Addiction?
Meth addiction is a powerful addiction. Everything that has value in the addict’s life: their health, relationships, and self-value take a backseat. The will to live healthy lives fades as the only need they have is using. Meth addiction, like most addictions, can take over someone’s life.
The need and obsession of using plague addicts and the addiction control them. Methamphetamine is highly addictive, and the majority of users become addicted to it after the first time they try it. Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant.
Common Terms For Meth
Methamphetamine is one of the least expensive drugs to manufacture, making it very accessible to every type of person regardless of their financial state. Common terms for Methamphetamine include:
- Crystal meth
- Redneck cocaine
Meth can be ingested by smoking, snorting, injecting, or swallowing. Each of these methods ultimately leads to the same high, which can last anywhere from six to twelve hours.
Meth Side Effects
Studies show that methamphetamine releases approximately twelve times the dopamine that food, sex, or other pleasurable activities release. The high from this drug lasts quite a long time when compared with the same amount of cocaine lasting only twenty minutes. Methamphetamine side effects include:
- Increased sense of energy
- Overly talkative
- A false sense of confidence
- An increased sex drive
Frequent users of methamphetamine must continue to increase their dosage of this drug to experience the high they felt when they initially began using it. As the user’s tolerance builds, the user can become obsessed with trying to reach the same level of intoxication from the drug, “chasing the dragon” is a common term for this often unachievable goal.
Many meth addicts find themselves making risky and dangerous decisions to feed their escalating addiction. Despite moral beliefs, many Meth addicts find themselves doing things they would not normally do when sober. The intense high of meth has an equally intense low that follows.
Symptoms of Meth Abuse
The effects of methamphetamine are much more than psychological. Arizona State University has compiled some of the symptoms of abusing meth:
- Loss of weight (it affects the brain hunger mechanism)
- Lack of sleep (constant urge shortens the desire to sleep)
- Not drinking enough water
- High body temperature
- Skin rash (caused by injecting meth into the skin rather than veins)
- Osteoporosis (teeth and bones break easily)
- Decreased sexual desires
Since meth changes brain tissue, this change manifests itself in multiple behavior changes too. Patients experience severe paranoia (accompanied by social isolation), dementia, and threatening behavior marked by severe mood swings.
Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of Meth withdrawal include:
- Amphetamine psychosis, mental confusion, psychotic reactions, panic attacks
- Depression, restlessness, and irritability
- Increased appetite
- Disruptive sleep patterns, either insomnia or 48 to 72-hour periods of deep sleep
Severe depression can also be confused and often misdiagnosed, which remains one of the most common crystal meth withdrawal complications. Meth addiction withdrawals induce severe suicidal thoughts and behavior. This goes for prescription amphetamine withdrawals as well.
Warning Signs of Meth Addiction
There are many warning signs that one may be addicted to methamphetamine. Meth addiction has very visible physical signs and symptoms due to the level of toxins in Meth. One major clue is the physical appearance of a person using methamphetamine, which can start breaking down the body within weeks of heavy use.
Changes in skin and hair appearance: A meth addict has the uncontrollable need to pick at their skin. This may look similar to an extreme case of acne, often leaving them with open sores on their face. Methamphetamine addicts often complain about having crawling skin, a disorder known as formication. Hair loss or breakage frequently occurs as well.
Meth Mouth: Tooth loss or tooth decay, as a result of the lack of nutrients in an addict’s body as well as the dangerous chemicals they ingest.
Methamphetamine users tend to become extremely paranoid, often feeling as though they are being followed or chased. The chemicals in methamphetamine impair a person’s judgment; they are generally not concerned with the long-term consequences of their behavior.
Unprotected sex and shared needles are common practices in methamphetamine addicts, increasing their chances of transmitting and receiving sexually transmitted diseases such as Hepatitis C or HIV. Along with other injection drug abuse, the probability of contracting Hepatitis C is relatively high. It can also be contracted when sharing a glass Meth pipe.
The Meth pipe can get hot, and a user’s lip can melt and stick to the pipe, causing the skin to tear. The risk of transmitting through a shared straw when snorting meth is also a possibility. When a straw is in a bloody nasal canal, the virus can be transmitted. Hepatitis C and HIV contraction in Meth users is relatively high through unprotected sex because of the increased sex drive that Meth addicts have when using.
Meth Addiction Treatment
Meth addiction is one of the hardest drug dependencies to treat because of methamphetamine withdrawals and the emotional dependency tied to drug addiction. Recovery from Meth addiction is possible. Success to long-term sobriety can be found with the help and care of professional treatment centers. Through the experienced staff of meth addiction treatment centers building life skills and coping techniques can guide a meth addict towards building a new life.
Fortunately, many meth treatment centers exist that have been trained to treat this specific addiction. Many who suffer from addiction also find they may be dealing with other emotional disorders as well. Dual Diagnosis treatment centers are becoming more popular across the nation. Drug addiction treatment centers are a growing resource making recovery a realistic possibility to end the suffering.