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What is Methamphetamine?

methamphetamine addiction treatment

Methamphetamine, or “Crystal meth”, is a drug that takes effect on the central nervous system to act as a powerful stimulant. Classified as a schedule II substance, there are some differences in black market appearance. When someone claims to “cook meth”, it may not be as pure as dextromethamphetamine and the levomethamphetamine that is very occasionally used for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and obesity by prescription. Other ingredients could be thrown in as well, and they can be quite toxic.

Recreationally, it is used to make one alert, elevate their mood, and even as an aphrodisiac. Many who want to stay up all night for the club scene or people attempting to work two jobs fall prey to this drug, which is absolutely addictive. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse , around 440,000 people reported using it every month. The Midwest and Western regions of the United States reported the most abuse, and many have lost loved ones completely to lives of crime and chronic instability.

Side effects of methamphetamine use

One of the reasons that people need to seek treatment for methamphetamine is that the side effects of usage are considered very drastic. Meth that is in a mother’s blood stream can pass into a developing fetus, and also is able to be secreted in her breast milk. If you run into someone very high on meth, it can sometimes be pretty easy to detect; the levels of hyperactivity and delusion after prolonged use can give them away. Here are some other side effects of meth use:

• Loss of teeth, especially for intravenous users
• Low appetite
• Very high heartbeat
• High fatigue after usage
• Intensified self confidence
• Psychosis and belief people are after you
• Sudden suicide attempts
• Mood swings
• Desire for candy and sweet beverages

Methamphetamine Withdrawal

When a user quits using meth suddenly, the main effect they will notice is a very strong inability to experience pleasure. Doses of this drug come on as such a rush and last longer than substances like cocaine, and the user may be used to being up all night with no effort. In the beginning, tasks like cleaning, chatting with friends, or doing term papers seem to be much easier, but if you take away this rush, life seems very mundane, as if the sunshine is not really reaching you.

Even when meth users start to see massive problems in their life that stem for use such as divorce and eviction, they may continue to use because of these powerful withdrawal symptoms. One reason that many finally need rehab for methamphetamine is how this drug really takes it’s toll on you. Drinking alcohol does too, but the tendency for meth to mentally ruin a solid individual is very powerful. Here are some other withdrawal symptoms users may experience:

1. Major sleep interruptions
2. Tremors and shaking of the hands
3. Seizures
4. Death
5. Failure of respiratory system
6. Heavy sweating and fever
7. Hypertension
8. Cravings to acquire more meth

Methods of treatment for meth users

One of the most important things to realize about treatment for meth users is that there are not drugs that really help in the detox process, as there are with heroin. A detox from meth can take much longer than alcohol, because of the way the brain and nervous system reacts to being hyper-stimulated for so long. NBC has a very well written piece here about what it can take for meth rehabilitation .

The process of getting hooked and how your brain reacts to the drug are all portrayed quite well in it, and how meth affects the dopamine transporters in the brain. Users of the drug usually have around a 24 percent decrease in the number of these transporters. When the meth epidemic really tore apart communities in the Midwest, many began to think that it was untreatable, because of how psychotic these users would appear when finally arrested or seeking rehab.

A model that has proven successful

It is shown here how the “Matrix Model” is one of the ones that has become the most successful, and it is the main model for a network of successful clinics in California. A minimum of 3 group therapy sessions a week are integrated in this approach, where risky activities and ways in which they could relapse are discussed. It has been shown to be very effective to train the addict to manage cravings, and identify other mental triggers.

The results are not as always successful as those who are alcoholics, but still more successful than those using heroin. Some antidepressant drugs such as Zolaft have been shown to be helpful during early recovery, since that lack of over stimulation makes the user feel very dormant after chronic meth binging. A dangerous drug that ravages the family and pocketbooks of many who abuse it, methamphetamine addiction is serious, and a situation many would love to crawl out of and find hope.