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ABOUT US is a not-for-profit resource for the community, connecting people to addiction treatment and education resources. You can find information on addiction and treatment as well as detailed information on treatment centers nationwide. Our main goal is to provide a comprehensive resource for individuals who are seeking treatment regardless of their situation.

Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is one of the most addictive of all intoxicating substances. It can lead to the development of a wide variety of health related problems, including depression and anxiety - most of which will turn out to be unmanageable over the long term. For this reason, you should seek addiction treatment services as soon as you realize that you have become addicted to this substance. Read on to find out more:

About Meth

Meth, or methamphetamine, is one of the most addictive of all stimulant substances. On the street, it is sold under various names - including but not limited to crystal, ice, and chalk. It also appears in the form of a white and crystalline powder with a bitter taste. The drug is additionally soluble in water and odorless.

Created from amphetamine, meth first came into the market in the 1900s. Back then, it was primarily used in a wide variety of products designed to alleviate breathing problems. These included bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Today, the drug is sometimes prescribed for the treatment of narcolepsy - a sleep disorder - and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Even so, some people abuse the drug because of the stimulant and euphoric properties that it comes with. This is because the drug is like cocaine in the sense that it can enhance talkativeness, activity, and energy.

The DEA - the Drug Enforcement Administration - has classified methamphetamine as a schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act passed by the federal government. This means that it comes with a high risk of substance abuse as well as some known medical uses.

Abusing the drug can produce an intense high that will come on and fade relatively quickly. When you come down from this substance, you could suffer a wide variety of physical and emotional symptoms, including insomnia and depression. It is for this reason that you could following your meth use with a binge pattern of abuse over several days at any given time.

Other Names for Meth

On the street, people refer to meth using a wide variety of names to avoid detection by law enforcement officials and other authorities. These street names include but are not always limited to:

  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Crystal
  • Ice
  • Speed

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Meth is one of the most potent of all substances of abuse, even if you take it in small quantities. If you continue abusing it, you will experience effects that are similar to what you would feel if you abused other stimulants like speed and cocaine. Over time, it could lead to the development of substance use disorder that may be accompanied by the following signs and symptoms of meth abuse and addiction:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Chronic illnesses linked to substance abuse
  • Confusion
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Developing new friendships with others who use drugs
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Dulled or blunted emotions
  • Euphoria
  • Feeling confident
  • Feeling empowered
  • Feeling exhilarated
  • Fidgeting
  • Financial issues
  • Hallucinations
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased body temperature (or hyperthermia)
  • Increased breathing
  • Increased physical activity
  • Increased sexual arousal
  • Increased sociability
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Job loss
  • Lack of apparent social awareness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of inhibitions
  • Legal problems
  • Paranoia
  • Poor grades at school
  • Poor hygiene habits
  • Poor work performance
  • Racing heartbeats
  • Red eyes
  • Relationship problems
  • Secrecy
  • Sleeping too much
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Talkativeness
  • Wakefulness
  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss

Short and Long-Term Effects of Meth Abuse

The effects of meth arise from its action on the feel good chemicals of the brain, such as serotonin and dopamine. Continued abuse of this drug could lead to a wide variety of both pleasurable and adverse effects, including but not limited to:

  • Aggressive behavior
  • Alzheimer's symptoms as a result of brain damage
  • Anger
  • Anorexia
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Damaged brain nerve terminals
  • Decreased appetite
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth
  • Edginess
  • Elevated body temperature (or overheating)
  • Euphoria
  • Excitement
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache
  • Heart problems
  • Heightened sense of happiness and well-being
  • High blood pressure
  • Homicidal thoughts
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Increased alertness
  • Increased physical activity
  • Increased risk of contracting communicable diseases like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Irritation
  • Kidney damage
  • Liver damage
  • Lung disease
  • Memory loss
  • Meth mouth, with severe dental problems
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Paranoia
  • Parkinson's like symptoms
  • Poor emotional regulation
  • Poor learning abilities
  • Psychosis
  • Rapid breathing rate
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Seizures
  • Sensation of insects that are crawling on the skin
  • Significant weight loss
  • Skin sores due to continued scratching
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Sweating
  • Tolerance
  • Tremors
  • Twitching
  • Uncontrollable jaw clenching
  • Unpredictable behavior
  • Urges to engage in repetitive and meaningless tasks
  • Violence
  • Vomiting

Meth Overdose

One of the significant risks that you stand to suffer when you continue abusing meth is that you could experience a drug overdose. In some situations, this condition could turn out to be fatal. It is often characterized by the following symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Chest pain
  • Convulsions
  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • Death
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Heart attack
  • High body temperature
  • Irregular breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Kidney failure
  • Seizure
  • Stroke

If you suspect that you may be suffering a meth overdose, or someone else is displaying any of the above signs, you could call 911 immediately. This is because it is only possible to survive after receiving emergency medical assistance.

You should also ensure that the meth user does not end up harming themselves or other people around them. In case they are warm, for instance, you could cool them using a cold piece of cloth.

After the emergency medical assistance team has arrived and transported them to the hospital, they will be treated for the symptoms of the meth. For instance, their breathing could be supported while they receive intravenous liquids.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Continued meth abuse could also cause you to develop tolerance. This effectively means that you are going to have to take the drug in higher than regular doses or more frequently than you used to before you can experience the pleasurable effects that you are looking for.

If you have developed tolerance and you suddenly stop taking the drug or significantly reduce your dose of it, there is a high risk that you could suffer any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for the drug
  • Decreased sexual pleasure
  • Depressed mood
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Itchy eyes
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Red eyes

Research studies have also reported that meth withdrawal often comes through in a predictable patterns. This means that the withdrawal symptoms will first appear anywhere between 1 and 24 hours after your last dose of the drug. They will also peak anywhere between 7 and 10 days of continued abstinence before disappearing 14 to 20 days after your last dose of meth.

The Best Options for Meth Addiction Treatment

If you leave your meth abuse and addiction untreated, you may end up suffering some permanent social, psychological, physical, and behavioral consequences. For this reason, it is recommended that you go for treatment as soon as you realize that you have been abusing too much of this drug.

Through rehab services, you should be able to overcome your growing substance use disorder and turn your life around. Most drug rehabs will provide you with a medically managed detox process to help you deal with your withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. This is the first step to overcoming your physical dependence on the drug.

After that, they will offer a wide variety of therapies designed to manage the behavioral, psychological, and emotional dependence you have developed to the drug. Examples of these therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and many others.

At the moment, no medications have received FDA - Food and Drug Administration - approval for use in the treatment of meth addiction. However, research studies have been conducted to investigate the usefulness of various drugs for this purpose.

Even after being through a treatment program, you may find that you need other maintenance services to ensure that you maintain your sobriety in the long term. This means that you may benefit from such aftercare resources as sober and transitional living homes and continued therapy and counseling.

In the long term, it is only possible to overcome your meth abuse and addiction by going through a professionally managed drug rehab program. It is recommended that you do so on an inpatient basis before making the transition - if you wish - to an outpatient meth addiction treatment program.


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