About Methamphetamine Addiction
Methamphetamine is a powerful, addictive, and harmful stimulant. It is typically found as a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. This powder can be smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected.
In addition to the desired euphoric effects, methamphetamine addiction can result in a number of unpleasant effects, including insomnia, irritability, and hyperactivity.
Common Signs of Methamphetamine Addiction
- Increased attention
- Decreased fatigue
- Decreased appetite
- Increased respiration
- Rapid and irregular heartbeat
In addition, methamphetamine use can cause serious physical damage to the body. Dental problems, open sores, extreme weight loss, and increased blood pressure are all very common to meth abusers.
Withdrawals from methamphetamine may include:
- Drug Cravings
- Sleep disturbances
- Shaking and tremors
- Fever, chills, and excessive sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Heart palpitations
- Respiratory failure
How Does Methamphetamine Affect the Brain?
Like all addictive substances, methamphetamine affects the part of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward. Methamphetamine increases the amount of neurotransmitter dopamine, overloading the brain with reward. As a result, the brain experiences a “rush,” which can initially feel very pleasant.
Unfortunately, this dopamine overload often leads to chemical addiction. Addiction has two components: tolerance and dependence.
Tolerance occurs as more and more of the drug is needed to achieve the same effect. Dependence causes unpleasant withdrawal effects when the user tries to quit or cut back.
Because addiction hijacks the reward/pleasure center of the brain, as it progresses, users become less and less interested in activities they used to enjoy. In contrast, they tend to increase focus on obtaining and using meth.
Treatment For Methamphetamine Addiction
Detoxification from methamphetamine is often usually the first step toward recovery. Anti-anxiety medications can be used to help ease many of unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal. In addition, around-the-clock care ensures patient safety, as methamphetamine withdrawal can be life-threatening. Without supervision during detox, relapse is very common.
After detox, patients are referred to an intensive outpatient or inpatient residential treatment program, where patients participate in individual therapy and counseling, group therapy, as well as holistic treatment therapies. Comprehensive assessments and program customization ensure that the unique needs of each client are met.