1% of eighth, tenth, and twelfth graders have tried meth
Compared to cocaine, meth releases three times as much dopamine, making it highly addictive
The feelings of confidence, alertness, and euphoria it induces have a powerful, all-consuming effect on the brain’s reward system.
This dopamine rush is also far higher than what the brain naturally produces, meaning it’s highly likely to cause binging and abuse, with cravings overshadowing a person’s life.
Beating a meth addiction is complex because the brain’s reward system completely takes over and impairs the user’s normal decision-making.
But you don’t have to go through this alone.
At Inspire Malibu, our dedicated team offers a highly effective meth addiction treatment program. In the past few years, we have seen a significant increase in the number of meth users at our treatment facility, and many of them are co-dependent on meth and opioids or heroin.
We utilize the most effective treatment plans to break the physical and psychological dependency on meth so our clients can return to a sober life, free from the need to keep using.
What Is Meth?
Meth is the shortened, slang name for methamphetamine produced both illegally and legally.
Legally, methamphetamine is used under the brand name Desoxyn or Methedrine and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for patients who are obese or prescribed for others with severe attention deficit disorder that hasn’t been found success using traditional medications or treatments.
Illegally, meth is taken orally, injected, or can be snorted.
What Does Meth Look Like?
In its illegal form, meth tends to be an odorless white powder. It is also available as crystal meth, a smokeable version that is highly potent and made up of tiny crystals that have a bluish-white appearance.
Meth carries various street names, including redneck cocaine, crank, crystal, ice, and glass.
The Effects of Meth Abuse
Meth abuse occurs when someone illegally uses the drug. When injected or smoked, it produces a “rush” caused by the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that provides the user with a sense of satisfaction or achievement.
One of the reasons why meth users often experience talkativeness, hyperactivity, elation, loss of appetite, alertness, and empathy.
The initial rush may last 30 minutes, but the sense of a “high” can continue for four to 12 hours. Injecting the drug causes a more significant high, but one that wears off much quicker.
The intense effects of the high, combined with affordable prices on the street, often lead people to start binging on meth.
Many will take the drug continually over the course of several days, so they are constantly high. But as the user’s tolerance increases, they physically require more of the drug to achieve the same effect, and higher doses are needed to get high, known as “chasing the dragon.”
Unfortunately, over time, the brain’s dopamine receptors are destroyed through meth use, which means the user cannot experience any pleasure other than through meth use. They can not be happy or lead a normal life with the drug.
When this occurs, Meth becomes the user’s primary focus.
Family, friends, and work take a back seat as the natural impulse to enjoy and succeed in these areas are dominated by meth use.
If caught early enough, rehabilitation and treatment can offer reform, but permanent cognitive impairment may occur if meth use continues unchecked.
What Are the Signs of Meth Use?
While meth has many psychological effects, there are also several physical ones.
Cardiovascular problems, including irregular heartbeat, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, and irreversible damage to blood vessels
Heightened body temperature
Skin abscesses (when meth is injected through the skin rather than into a vein)
Sleep deprivation (being constantly stimulated makes a user feel as though they don’t need as much sleep)
Osteoporosis (bones and teeth become brittle and more likely to break)
Weight loss (the hunger centers in the brain are also shut down)
Formication, or a feeling that bugs or other insects are crawling on or under the skin
Psychologically, meth severely impacts the brain’s chemistry, causing a number of changes in behavior. When dependence continues to addiction, it causes structural and functional changes in the brain.
Often, users will experience severe paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and mood swings that cause aggressive behavior.
Because meth is a powerful stimulant, many users often engage in impulsive or risky behavior.
Meth Addiction Treatment
As the first step to treating an addiction to meth, a comprehensive course of detoxification will be required. This involves removing the toxic effects of meth from the user’s body to return to a healthy state.
A medical detox program is the safest way to do this, with 24-hour support and close monitoring of the patient until the withdrawal symptoms start to subside.
The symptoms experienced during meth withdrawal will vary from person to person, but common ones include:
Loss of motivation
Red, itchy eyes
These symptoms tend to peak after 7 to 10 days, but the long-lasting effects can be felt for up to a month.
However, after this time, most users will begin to feel better, although they may still experience periods of depression alongside cravings.
After Meth Detox – Recovery Treatment Begins
Following detox, patients will continue their recovery in an addiction treatment rehab center. Successful treatment will include a combination of individual and group therapies with the goal of finding the underlying causes of use.
At Inspire Malibu, we offer a complete and comprehensive detox and treatment program for users with a meth addiction and a combination of meth and other substances, such as heroin and opioids.
Not all treatment centers provide detox AND treatment, but our program is unique in that it offers both within the same program, supervised by board-certified addiction specialists.
Some of the therapies we use in our meth addiction treatment facility include:
Motivational Enhancement Therapy to help users see the difference between life using meth and being sober and how the choices they make impact the outcome of their life and relationships with family, friends, and work