A Complete Guide to Meth Abuse and Addiction - Addiction Answers

In 2015, almost 6000 people died in the U.S from drug use, the primary culprit of which was meth. Stack that up with the reports from U.S Customs of how much meth they’ve confiscated, and it’s not hard to see that the U.S is in the midst of a serious crystal meth problem.

To combat meth abuse however, we need to get educated on what meth is and what it can do. And if you’re wondering where you can go for that information, look no further. We’re here to give you the complete guide to crystal meth and meth addiction!

Now let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it.

What is Crystal Meth?

Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant drug that is pale-white or blue with crystal-like features (hence the “crystal” part of crystal meth). Some of the drug’s “aliases” include speed, glass, crank, and chalk. Since many key ingredients of past mixes of meth got banned in the U.S, most meth nowadays comes smuggled from other countries.

People take the drug either through injection, smoking it, snorting it, or consuming it.

The primary reason people take crystal meth is that the drug is synthesized to release dopamine and serotonin straight into the brain, which creates a massive “high” of pleasure and excitement. It’s a similar idea to how your brain reacts when you feel like you accomplished something big, but amplified many times over.

Because the effect is so intense, however, the crash back down is also amplified. The depressive symptoms will cause a person to go back to meth to get the same high to stave off the depression. However, due to the chemical nature of the drug, a user builds tolerance towards it and must take more and more as time goes on to get the same high as before.

The Side Effects and Symptoms of Meth Abuse

In addition to the depression we mentioned earlier, another side effect of meth appears as irritability. A meth user will often lash out with little provocation, even if they have no history of having a short temper. Meth users often suffer from insomnia and a loss of appetite, as well as heightened blood pressure.

As for other behaviors you could observe, someone who uses meth will often sweat heavily and have increased energy, some times to such a degree that they will experience tremors. A person on meth will often have pale, unhealthy skin and poor hygiene.

They could also have scabs and sores on the skin. These come from frequent hallucinations meth users will experience where bugs are crawling all over their skin, causing them to scratch a lot to get the bugs “off”.

The Side Effects and Symptoms of Meth Abuse Part 2

The telltale sign comes with the mouth, however. Heavy use of meth will cause the user’s teeth to become worn down and will deteriorate completely if use is not stopped. This is because meth dries out people’s mouths, which gives harmful bacteria free rein to grow unfettered (since the enzymes in your salvia that kill them disappear) and eat away at the enamel protecting your teeth.

The longer a person uses meth, the more severe the effects become. Meth wreaks havoc on your internal organs, eating away at your kidney, liver, lungs, and brain. A person’s mental state will also deteriorate, as they become more violent towards both others and themselves and may experience hallucinations (like the bug one from earlier).

The shakes from earlier also come back harsher than before, resulting in involuntary movements and shaking comparable to that of Parkinson’s disease. Finally, meth can cause a person to experience severe strokes (where the blood supply to the brain gets interrupted) or even die.

The Additional Dangers

Of course, meth poses far more dangers to a person than its chemical effects alone. For example, if a user takes meth with a needle, they put themselves at risk for contracting HIV/AIDS or multiple types of hepatitis through shared needle use.

Meth is sometimes taken in conjunction with other drugs like heroin to create a “better” high, which then stacks on the risk of the second drug. Finally, meth is illegal in the U.S, and possession of the drug will land you in jail for a minimum of 5 years (with a max of 40).

How to Treat Meth Addiction

So if you suspect a loved one is suffering from meth addiction or you are seeking personal help, what options do you have?

For starters, if you sense the addiction is in an early stage, you can try staging an intervention for that person to try and convince them to seek further help. If you do, make sure you reassure the afflicted person that they are not alone and you are here for them. Trying to shame a person out of addiction often forces a person deeper into said addiction.

It’s also important to note that the chance an intervention works will likely decrease the longer someone has used meth. At that point, you should consider getting your loved one (or yourself if you are the patient in question) to a detox and treatment center.

When looking at treatment centers, you should pick the one that will serve your needs best. For example, people with severe addictions will need an inpatient facility (where the patient stays in a facility surrounded by doctors) as opposed to an outpatient facility (where you go in every so often for appointments). It’s also advised you tour a detox facility before you choose it to make sure it’s a good fit for you.

It’s Going to Be OK

Now that you have this complete guide to meth abuse and addiction, you’re prepared to tackle the dangers of crystal meth head-on and identify if someone you care about is on the wrong path. If you think you or a loved one requires immediate treatment, give us a call and let us know how we can help.

So until next time, take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s going to be okay. You’ll find a way out of this.

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