Methamphetamine Abuse & the Risk of Meth Addiction

You may have seen the gruesome before-and-after pictures of the effects of meth addiction. It comes on fast and is one of the most dangerous addictions you can face. If you’re struggling with meth addiction, you are not alone. Help is available at meth rehab centers throughout the country. Call 866-323-5612 for more information about meth addiction treatment options and the free guidance of an experienced counselor.

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that produces an intense high marked by a short period of increased energy and alertness. Also known as meth, speed, ice, crank and glass, methamphetamine is a white, odorless powder that can be injected, snorted, smoked, or swallowed. After a few hours, meth abusers typically “crash” and experience agitation and even violent or aggressive behavior .

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Facts About Meth Abuse

People who abuse meth typically binge on the drug in order to maintain the high. Users develop a tolerance for methamphetamine within minutes, causing them to take higher doses of the drug in a short period of time to maintain the pleasurable effects .

Meth abuse typically starts in late adolescence. According to some government surveys, the average person seeking treatment for meth addiction is in their early 30s.

The Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

As a powerful stimulant, methamphetamine, even in small doses, can increase wakefulness and physical activity and decrease appetite. A brief, intense sensation, or rush, is reported by those who smoke or inject methamphetamine. Oral ingestion or snorting produces a long-lasting high instead of a rush, which reportedly can continue for as long as half a day. Both the rush and the high are believed to result from the release of very high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine intoareas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure.

Meth acts on the dopamine system in the brain, where feelings of pleasure are regulated. Even one large dose of m ethamphetamine can damage nerve cells in the brain, indicating that meth abuse has toxic effects on the human body.

The effects of meth abuse can include:

  • E levated body temperature
  • Convulsions
  • Violent behavior
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Meth addiction
  • Paranoia, which can result in suicidal and homicidal thoughts
  • Hallucinations
  • Decreased sexual functioning
  • Mood disturbances
  • Stroke
  • Delusions (particularly the feeling that insects are crawling on the skin)

Methamphetamine abuse can lead to the following medical problems:

  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Irreversible damage to blood vessels in the brain (potentially causing stroke)
  • Hyperthermia
  • Acute lead poisoning (a result of the manufacturing process)

Those who abuse meth by injecting the drug are also at greater risk for HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases. Sharing needles and other drug paraphernalia is extremely dangerous, but is common when high on meth. Other evidence shows that impaired judgment may lead to risky sexual behaviors.

Meth abuse during pregnancy carries even greater risks, putting the unborn child at risk for premature delivery, birth defects, congenital deformities and extreme irritability.

While a meth high lasts only a few hours, the negative effects of meth can last for months or years after quitting meth. Over time, people who abuse meth may lose their ability to hold a job and maintain relationships because they are consumed by their need for more meth.

Meth Rehab & Other Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth addiction can develop after just one use, or after chronic meth abuse. The best treatment for meth addiction is therapy (particularly cognitive-behavioral therapy). The goals of meth rehab programs are:

  • To identify problematic thought and behavior patterns
  • To develop healthier coping skills
  • To develop a sober support system
  • To create a relapse prevention plan
  • To introduce individuals to a 12-Step pprogram

If you are addicted to meth, you may not recognize the person you’ve become. We know that your thoughts and behaviors are a product of meth addiction, and we can help you become the person you were meant to be. Call 866-323-5612 to quit meth today and rediscover the joy of a clean and sober life.