Meth Addiction Treatment
Methamphetamine is a white or yellowish powdered substance that can come in rock-like pieces. Also known by street names such as crystal, ice, crank, chalk, crypto, fire and glass, methamphetamine can be swallowed, injected, snorted or smoked.
When an individual smokes or injects methamphetamine, they experience a brief but intense and extremely enjoyable rush. The high is usually followed by a period of agitation and aggression.
Consequences of Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine is a drug that truly tears apart the body and mind, producing the following effects:
- Decreased appetite
- Anxiety or nervousness
- Memory and learning problems
- Heart attack
- Dental damage (known as “meth mouth,” when teeth become discolored and begin to disintegrate)
- Repetitive behavior
- Delusions of bugs crawling under the skin
- Psychosis, stroke or death (in cases of chronic use or use in high doses)
Methamphetamine is highly addictive, triggering the release of the feel-good chemical dopamine in the brain. Users have a reputation for skipping food and sleep for days on end, binging on meth until they run out or can no longer function (“tweaking”), and then crashing hard. In some cases, meth addicts display violent or criminal behavior and are more likely to engage in risky sexual activity.
Over time, the excess dopamine in the brain results in an inability to feel pleasure without using methamphetamine. While some areas of the brain are able to heal over a period of years, others appear to be irreversibly damaged.
Treating Methamphetamine Addiction
Some addiction experts believe methamphetamine is among the most difficult addictions to break. When an addict stops using meth, they typically experience severe withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, fatigue and drug cravings. In order to get through this difficult withdrawal period, overcome drug cravings and rebuild needed life skills, addicts often require detox and professional methamphetamine addiction treatment.
During a stay in outpatient or residential meth rehab, addicts learn strategies to minimize the likelihood of relapse and tools to stay clean and sober. Individual, group and family therapy help addicts sort through the underlying causes of their methamphetamine addiction and find the drive to create a better life for themselves and their loved ones.