Meth Addiction Signs, Side Effects and Treatment

Methamphetamine or meth is a commonly abused drug in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 1.6 million American adults report using meth within the past year. More than half of all meth users have a dependence on the drug and need meth addiction treatment.

Because of its stimulant effects, relatively easy availability, and affordability, meth is popular with young people. College students and young professionals use it to improve performance in school or work. Some people start using meth out of curiosity or under peer pressure and find they have become habitual users. Less commonly, people abuse meth to suppress appetite and lose weight. Whatever the reason for using meth, meth addiction treatment can help reduce the harms associated with the drug.

In this post, we talk about some of the modalities used during meth addiction treatment. We hope that becoming educated about the drug and learning about its harmful effects will encourage you or a loved one to seek timely and effective treatment for meth addiction.

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What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, called meth or crystal meth for short, is a powerful stimulant drug. Chemically, it resembles a medication called amphetamine which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and a sleep condition known as narcolepsy. Methamphetamine is highly addictive and has powerful effects on the human brain. Without treatment, meth addiction can lead to several short- and long-term health effects, both psychological and physical. Seeking treatment at a
meth addiction treatment center Washington can reduce and reverse many of the negative consequences of meth use.

Why and How do People Use Meth?

Meth comes in the form of a white, odorless powder that dissolves easily in water and alcohol. It is also sold as shiny bluish-white rocks that resemble glass crystals, hence the names crystal meth, blue, and ice. Meth is a stimulant, meaning it produces a sense of euphoria and well-being. It causes the user to become more active and talkative. It also suppresses appetite. After using meth, a person’s heart rate becomes rapid and/or irregular, their breathing becomes faster, their blood pressure rises, and their body temperature increases. These are the most common effects that meth users report to staff at a meth addiction treatment center Washington.

People who enter treatment report using the drug in one of several ways, including smoking, snorting, swallowing, and injecting it. Smoking and injecting meth are particularly dangerous because this allows the drug to rapidly enter the bloodstream and make its way to the brain. On the other hand, addicts who come to treatment  say that swallowing or snorting meth doesn’t produce a rush that’s nearly as intense.

Many meth users practice a binge and crash pattern of use. This is because the effects of the drug appear and fade quickly. Some users take meth as a “run,” meaning they binge on the drug, giving up sleep and food for several days. This type of drug abuse can be very dangerous and must be treated at a meth addiction treatment center Washington as soon as possible.

What is Meth Addiction?

As noted, meth is a stimulant drug. It exerts its powerful effects by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a natural chemical that is involved in motivation, reward, movement, and pleasure. Due to the high levels of dopamine after using meth, the reward centers in the brain are activated. This prompts the user to repeat drug use to experience the same rush. Over time, the person develops a physical and psychological dependence on meth. By the time a person seeks help at a meth addiction treatment center Washington, they are typically unable to quit using the drug on their own and need professional help.

Long-Term Effects and Risk of Meth

Prolonged use of meth, a potent central nervous system stimulant, can result in dependence and addiction, leading to physical and psychological issues in an individual. Methamphetamine addiction is known to cause damage (sometimes only partially reversible) to the brain, which manifests as mental health disorders and other problems. The effects of meth include:

  • Cardiovascular problems like heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and palpitations
  • Poor coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Damage to brain cells
  • Impaired verbal learning
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Psychosis manifesting as paranoia and hallucinations
  • Dental issues like gum disease and tooth decay, resulting in meth mouth
  • Mood swings
  • Behavioral health issues like demonstrating violent behavior
  • Memory loss
  • Skin sores and damaged blood vessels
  • Insomnia

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Not everyone will show signs of methamphetamine use disorder in the same way. The quantity of the substance consumed and the duration of use can determine what symptoms an individual will show. The types of symptoms that are associated with meth substance abuse include:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Sporadic and sudden episodes of hyperactivity
  • Periodic but long periods of extreme lethargy
  • Behavior that causes chaos
  • Being dishonest and lying
  • Stealing and/or engaging in other criminal behaviors
  • Withdrawing oneself from friends and family
  • Chronic absenteeism from work or school
  • Bouts of sudden, unprovoked aggression
  • Rapid speech or non-stop talking

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased body temperature or excessive sweating
  • Facial tics
  • Muscle spasms and twitching
  • Bad body odor
  • Noticeable changes in physical appearance, such as decaying teeth, acne, and skin sores
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • A spike in blood pressure and/or heart rate

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty learning
  • Mental confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Impaired sense of judgment and reasoning
  • Paranoia

Psychosocial symptoms:

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  • Extreme mood swings
  • Chronic anxiety and/or depression
  • Psychosis
  • Manic episodes
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Excessive agitation
  • Extreme irritability

Meth Treatment Process

Meth addiction treatment is necessary because quitting meth is very difficult without professional help. However, many people with meth addiction are hesitant to seek treatment because they are unsure of what the recovery process will involve. Various methods are used as part of a substance abuse treatment program to help addicts get sober and stay sober. In the following paragraphs, we describe the key stages of meth recovery.

1. Staging an intervention for meth abuse

When a person is abusing meth, they are often in denial and may be resistant to seeking meth addiction treatment. For this reason, it may be necessary for family members to stage an intervention. However, doing this without professional help can be difficult, even dangerous. Meth users can become agitated, hostile, or violent when confronted about going to meth addiction treatment. Well-meaning friends and family members may, therefore, be ill-equipped to convince a meth addict to seek meth addiction treatment.

A professional consultation at a leading drug rehab center in Washington, such as Discover Recovery, can help start the conversation about getting meth addiction treatment. Experienced clinicians and therapists can demonstrate to meth users how their drug use is affecting them and their families and motivate them to start meth addiction treatment. The goal of any intervention is to get a person from a state of denial or resistance to a state of mind where they are motivated to quit meth.

2. Medical detox for meth abuse

The first step in meth addiction treatment is usually a medically supervised detoxification program. Detox is the process of safely removing meth from the addict’s body. It should always be administered in a supervised setting with medical monitoring. Not only is medical detox safer, but it is also more successful in the long-term. Doctors and nurses are available to keep an eye on the patient’s vital signs and treat any symptoms that arise. Medical detox for meth also ensures that withdrawal symptoms are treated appropriately, making the meth addiction treatment smoother for the recovering addict.

3. Treatment options for meth addiction

Once the medical detoxification process for meth abuse is completed, your doctor and nurses at the meth addiction treatment center will assess your condition and prescribe the right line of treatment. This treatment will include a variety of options, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), contingency management, the matrix model, workshops with support groups, inpatient care, and outpatient support.

What are the Meth Withdrawal Symptoms?

The withdrawal symptoms associated with meth substance use disorder can be extremely intense. It is advised that those undergoing withdrawal involve healthcare professionals at a reputed meth addiction treatment center so they are under the care and supervision of trained staff. Some of the commonly experienced withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Lack of sleep
  • Extreme cravings, which can persist up to 10 weeks
  • When the cravings for meth start to decrease, the recovering individual can seek out treatment programming.

Why Seek Treatment at a Meth Addiction Treatment Center Washington?

Meth abuse not only has serious consequences on a person’s mental and physical health, but wreaks havoc in every area of life, including relationships, work, and finances. Many meth users find themselves in trouble with the law or severe debt. Some of the most common health problems noted in people who come to a meth addiction treatment center Washington include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mood disturbances
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Increased blood pressure and/or irregular heartbeat

In addition to these physical symptoms, meth addicts often experience a range of psychological symptoms, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions

The clinical team at a meth addiction treatment center Washington often notes that the drug has unpredictable and potentially lethal effects. Without treatment at a meth addiction treatment center Washington, the symptoms of meth abuse get worse over time and it becomes more difficult to treat the addiction. For this reason, it’s important to go to a meth addiction treatment center Washington without delay.

Holistic Treatment for Meth Addiction

Discover Recovery is a leading meth addiction treatment center Washington located in Long Beach. We have helped many men and women overcome meth addiction and reclaim their lives. Our philosophy towards addiction treatment is to take a holistic approach and provide continuity of care.

At our meth addiction treatment center Washington, we are with you right from the time you start medical detox to the time you graduate from residential drug rehab and begin your sober life. But that’s not all, we run an aftercare program that is designed to provide recovered addicts the support they need to stay clean by providing access to community resources and support groups.

Our holistic and comprehensive approach at Discover Recovery meth addiction treatment center Washington means we don’t just treat your addiction. We understand that the focus must be on you as a whole for the addiction treatment to be successful. That’s why at Discovery Recovery meth addiction treatment center Washington we address the social, psychological, and spiritual factors that can lead to addiction. Our goal is to empower you to take an active role in your recovery by teaching you the skills you need to stay sober in the long-term. Every program at our meth addiction treatment center Washington is customized to your unique needs to support you in the recovery process.

The idea of seeking care at a meth addiction treatment center Washington can be overwhelming. The fear of withdrawal symptoms, the social stigma associated with meth use, and hesitation about opening up emotionally prevent many meth addicts from going to a meth addiction treatment center Washington. However, most of these fears are unfounded. The compassionate staff at Discover Recovery meth addiction treatment center Washington will not judge you or question your choices. We will simply make you feel supported and safe and guide you towards getting your life back.

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