Suffering from addiction is a lonely, scary place. Many times, methamphetamine use starts as fun with a friend or at a party. Unfortunately, the fun usually leads to a road of loneliness and despair. Meth is extremely addictive. It starts taking over a life almost instantly. When meth takes over, it begins to destroy every aspect of a person’s life, just a little at a time. Before one knows it, his or her current life is only a memory. However, if you or a loved one are experiencing an addiction to meth, you should know that you are not alone. Call us at 405-583-4390. Let our experts assist you in starting your new life today.
Part of the downward spiral of meth is the loss of control. No longer does the individual suffering from meth addiction know anything but the pipe or needle in front of them. Life becomes the chase for more money and more methamphetamine. Read about the signs that show the meth addiction has gone too far, and the cycle of self-destruction has begun. If you need help with a methamphetamine addiction, call us today. Let us help you stop the habit and help you get to a sober and happier life.
Getting Methamphetamines Into Your System
Meth is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal meth is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamines. Crystal meth is also a prescription drug that can treat Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a type of sleep disorder. However, misusing other prescription medications, like amphetamines, can also occur. Many choose meth instead because of the ease of obtaining it and because the cost is cheaper.
Also, there are several different ways of taking meth. For instance, this can include:
- Swallowing a pill
- Injecting the powder – Dissolving the drug in water or alcohol
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Community Epidemiology Work Group, smoking is the most popular way of taking meth. Some meth ingredients are being smoked alone without having to change its form or add any other substances. Generally, this is specifically for crystal meth. Another name for crystal meth is ice.
What Makes Methamphetamines so Addicting?
Meth increases dopamine, which is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. Dopamine affects body movement, motivation, and the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Therefore, because meth quickly releases this “reward” sensation, it makes the user want to recreate it repeatedly. Because this “high” from meth starts and fades quickly many times, people take repeated doses in a “binge and crash” pattern. Chasing this high every few hours allows people to misuse meth, while also giving up food and sleep.
Unfortunately, the effect of the meth on the reward center of the brain becomes less and less. The person misusing meth must take more and more to recreate the high. The person suffering from Methamphetamine Use Disorder (MUD) may be feeling pleasure. However, while it has devastating effects on the user, it can cause so many more issues. For example, it is threatening whole communities, increasing crime waves, rising unemployment rates, and increasing child neglect and abuse.
Today, the most common drug addicts are misusing is meth. What is most difficult when dealing with meth is there are no current medications available. Reversing an overdose or assistance through detox becomes more dangerous. The more the person with MUD increases the amount of meth taken, the more danger they put upon themselves. In the United States, overdose deaths by meth increased by more than 7.5 times from 2007 to 2017. Almost 15 percent of all overdose deaths were by meth. Although meth is not the largest cause of overdose deaths today, it is the steadiest cause yearly. It is important to remember that you are not alone if you or a loved one is going through this difficult time. We have a team of professionals standing by, waiting to take your call. Call us today to help you curb these addictions.
How Does Meth Find its Way Into the United States?
The increase of safeguards in the United States has caused most large labs to be shut down. They are shutting down because many of the methamphetamine chemicals are put under strict distribution policies. These policies are forcing drug dealers to look to outside resources to fill the demand for meth.
Therefore, most meth found in the United States is made by transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) in Mexico. The meth is pure, potent, and comes at a low price. Smuggling into the United States in a powder or liquid form to local conversion labs is common for getting it across the border. These labs then transform the powder or liquid into crystal meth. The transformation happens in tiny spaces with minimal equipment, so, unfortunately, it can be tough to find and stop.
Risks Associated with Methamphetamines
Everyone likes to feel good. Enjoying the beginning effects of meth is quite understandable. However, with the good comes a lot of bad. For example, people injecting meth are at an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases are transmitted through contact with blood or other bodily fluids. These can be left behind on drug equipment. Meth use can also alter judgment and decision-making. They are leading to risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex, which also increases infection risk.
Meth can also worsen the progression of HIV and AIDS. HIV causes more injury to nerve cells and more cognitive problems in people who use methamphetamine than those who do not. For example, mental issues that can occur are troubles with:
Also, continued meth use causes changes in coordination and learning speech patterns. In studies of people who used meth over long periods, severe changes also affected areas of the brain involved with emotion and memory. The connection between emotion and memory may explain the mental issues seen in those who use meth. With extended recovery, the natural dopamine can be restored. The restoration allows the natural “feel good” sensations to happen again.
Even with short-term use, meth users can experience immediate effects. For instance, these effects include:
- Increased attention
- Decrease in appetite
- Increased activity
- Feeling more awake
- Decreased appetite
- An intense feeling of happiness
- Fast breathing
- Rapid heartbeat
- High body temperature
Furthermore, some other possibilities might be increased blood pressure and seizures, caused by an overdose, leading to death. Dopamine is directly related to motivation and motor function within your body. This high release of dopamine produced by meth gives such an increased pleasure response and contributes to the central nervous system’s harmful effects.
Long-term meth use has many negative consequences. Making it so many suffering from MUD loose control in areas of their lives. These consequences include:
- Extreme weight loss
- Severe dental problems (“meth mouth”)
- Intense itching
- leading to skin sores from scratching
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Violent behavior
- Unreasonable distrust of others
- Sensations and images that seem real though they are not
Although some of these brain changes may reverse after being off the drug for a year or more, other changes may not recover even after a long period. A recent study even suggests that people who once used meth have an increased risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Just How Many People Get Addicted to Methamphetamines?
According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.6 million people reported using meth in the past year. Also, 774,000 people said they used it in the past month. The average age of new meth users in 2016 was 23.3 years old.
An estimated 964,000 people aged 12 or older suffered from MUD in 2017-that is, they reported suffering from a lot of problems. For example, health problems, disability, and failure to meet responsibilities at work, school, or home due to their drug use are some of the common issues experienced. This number is significantly higher than the 684,000 people who reported having MUD in 2016.
If someone you care about, or even yourself, is suffering from addiction, do not hesitate. Call us today to get professional help. We are here for you and ready to help you start on your new path to sobriety.
What Treatment Options are Available to Me
While research is underway, there are currently no government-approved medications to treat MUD. The good news is that methamphetamine abuse can be prevented. Likewise, addiction to the drug can be treated with behavioral therapies. The most effective treatments for meth addiction so far are behavioral therapies. For example, some therapies you may happen across are:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Having patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations likely to trigger drug use.
- Motivational incentives: Using vouchers or small cash rewards encouraging patients to remain drug-free
- Contingency management interventions
Research continues developing medicines and other new treatments for meth use, including vaccines and noninvasive stimulation of the brain using magnetic fields.
The Matrix Model-a 16-week behavioral treatment approach combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities. Evidence shows that this is the most effective, evidence-based treatment for MUD yet.
If you want to learn more about other possible treatment options available to you, then call us today. Our experts are standing by, ready to educate you and help put you on a better path.
There is Still Hope – Call Us Today!
There is hope for those who are addicted and can’t stop using meth. As knowledge is gathered about meth and its effects on individuals, more treatment options become available for people who find they cannot stop smoking meth.
Also, the challenges in the medical field of obtaining excellent health care without stigma are small. As medical professionals learn more, are taught about the harmful effects of judging those suffering from MUD, have more options for help, and see the person as an individual, the support available continues to improve.
People recovering from MUD have ready access to effective treatments that address the mass amount of medical and personal problems. Support is critical to treatment being effective. Individuals suffering from meth use disorder need everyone possible to be a part of that support system. Friends, family, and medical professionals are all excellent support system options.
For more information on methamphetamine addiction for yourself or a loved one, please contact us. We are awaiting your call, and are happy to help you with any issues you may be facing. We offer a no-judgment policy. So, do not hesitate to call. Start on your new life today!