Meth, also known as ice, cloud, crystal, and glass is a powerful psycho-stimulant, which is illegally produced in clandestine labs throughout the United States, but mainly in Mexico. Meth comes in a powder or a crystal form (crystal meth). Crystal meth is considered to be a purer form of meth, and looks like small shards of glass. A legal version of this powerful stimulant, methamphetamine, is available by prescription under the brand name of Desoxyn, and is a Schedule II controlled substance, which means
- There is a medical justification for treatment using methamphetamine
- Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse which may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence
Methamphetamine is prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), narcolepsy, and obesity. In low doses, methamphetamine can be effective in treatment of the aforementioned conditions as it increases alertness and activity levels.
However, meth and crystal meth, can include such effects as:
- Extreme euphoria
- Heightened libido
Meth Abuse and Addiction
Meth works by producing extremely high levels of dopamine in the brain, which has two effects:
- The reward center is overly-stimulated, which is followed by a severe rebound low.
- The brain’s natural dopamine production is stifled, leaving the only source of dopamine and euphoria from the meth itself.
When an individual uses meth, he or she feels an instant rush of euphoria that can last up to 16 hours. In this time, an addict may experience a variety of effects, but some of the most notable effects of meth abuse are the physical decay of the body of an addict. Additionally, meth abuse severely damages the body’s organs and can have devastating effects on the functions of the body. Some of these effects are:
- Scars and open wounds from picking at skin. This is a result of common delusions that there are bugs (crank bugs) crawling under the skin’s surface while under the influence of meth.
- Collapsed cheek bones as a result of the severe damage meth use does to the mouth, gums, and teeth
- Drastically increased body temperature
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to heart attack and stroke
- Slowing of the healing process of wounds, which can lead to infection
- Involuntary muscle contractions
- Severe weight loss
- Deterioration of muscle tissue
- Loss of bone density
- Meth mouth is very common among addicts and is the literal decay of gum lines and teeth in the mouth as a result of repeated methamphetamine abuse.
Meth can be used by addicts in one of three ways, and no one method of administration is any less addictive than another.
- Crushing and snoring the drug
- Smoking meth through a glass pipe
- Intravenous injection
When meth addicts inject the drug, there is always a heightened risk when using dirty or shared needles, which increases the likelihood of the spread of infectious diseases like Hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
Along with the various effects of meth on an addict, the damage prolonged use does to the brain is severe, and can be irreversible. Some examples of the damage meth abuse does to the brain are as follows:
- Cognitive impairment
- Delusions and hallucinations
- Judgment and impulse control are severely damaged, leading to extremely erratic and unfathomable behavior
- Tendency toward aggression resulting from the combination of stifled emotional regulation and impulse control, and paranoia
- Short and long-term memory loss
- Obsessive behavior can occur since meth blocks the brain’s ability to control impulse. Therefore, addicts can spend hours obsessing over one thing, and lack the impulse control to stop.
Despite the many negative consequences of meth abuse, addicts experience a long and intense high, and when they come down (or crash), the psychological rebound symptoms are often severe enough to prompt a frantic effort to get more of the drug as quickly as possible. Many of those who have tried meth thought they would be able to do it once, and walk away, but soon found that they were addicted. Once meth addiction sets in, the bizarre behaviors displayed by addicts can be scary and dangerous. Additionally, the lengths to which meth addicts will go to get more of it can be degrading and extremely risky, including prostitution, theft, and forgery.
Meth Withdrawal and Detox
Meth produces an extremely euphoric high, and while under the influence of this drug, addicts may experience any of a number of effects ranging from aggression to obsessing over delusions of bugs under the surface of their skin. While a meth high may not seem to be a pleasant experience, the crash after the drug has worn off can be devastating for an addict. The main cause for this is the fact that meth so severely disturbs the natural process of producing dopamine in the brain, and without meth, there is little to no ability for the brain to provide a user with any feelings of happiness or even wellness.
After the effects of meth have begun to wear off, an addict will experience severe psychological symptoms that often result in unmanageable conditions that make a supervised detox the safest option. Some of these symptoms can include:
- Intense cravings
- Severe depression
- Agitation or aggression
- Violent outbursts
- Suicidal ideations
This period of a meth crash usually takes place within the first 24 hours after the last use, and is followed by the actual detox, in which the meth works its way out of the body. During this phase, an addict is physically and mentally exhausted, and generally does not put up much of a fight at all. The one main symptom of meth detox is excessive sleep, which is coupled with an increased appetite when he or she is awake.
The reason it is so important to seek a supervised detox for meth is because of the crash, when addicts are frantic to get more meth, and their cravings mixed with their anxiety, depression, and agitation can create a dangerous environment for the addict and everyone around him or her. Often, this period results in the addict returning to his or her meth use once again when detox is attempted in an unsupervised environment.
Meth Addiction Treatment
Meth does the most severe damage to the brain of an addict when it is used for prolonged periods of time, and some of the damage done cannot be reversed in some cases. Once a meth addict has completed a detoxification, he or she has a difficult journey ahead in trying to overcome addiction and stay sober. Because meth produces such severe changes in the brain, it can take a year or longer for a meth addict for cognitive processes such as impulse control and attention focus to improve. A process like impulse control is imperative in maintaining sobriety, and this is something that should be strongly considered when looking into treatment for meth addiction. Although it may take some time, recovery from meth addiction is possible. However, the key is to find the right form and length of addiction treatment that will be the most effective.
Drug addiction treatment can come in varying lengths of time, usually on a 30-day cycle, and ranging from 30 days to 120 days or longer. It is important to consider all of the factors relating to an individual’s meth addiction, and weigh the options carefully.
If you, or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to meth or methamphetamine, please call us now at to speak with a trained counselor about the concerns relating to the addiction and the addicted individual. We will work with you to find the most effective addiction treatment that will give yourself, or your addicted loved one the best chance for sustained sobriety and recovery from addiction. Meth addiction is among the most dangerous and devastating of all addictions, and when an addict is ready to get help, there is no time to lose in searching aimlessly for a treatment program that may not be the best choice. Please don’t wait for this deadly condition to claim another life. Call us now; we can help you find the way to sobriety and life-long recovery from meth addiction.