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Meth

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance. Understand the risks of meth addiction and find treatment options.

What are Methamphetamines?

Methamphetamine was developed early in the 20th century based on amphetamine, its parent drug. Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that can be easily dissolved into a drink from its original off-white powder form. Methamphetamine targets the central nervous system (CNS) affecting several areas of the brain and is classified as a Schedule II stimulant which means it is legal with a non-refillable prescription. Abuse of methamphetamines can lead to meth addiction.

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Meth Addiction Statistics

Based on the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health roughly 0.6% or 1.6 million people have used methamphetamine within the year (1). Roughly half of those from the 1.6 million had used the substance in the last month. From 2016 to 2017 there was an estimated 40% increase in people age 12 and older who had a methamphetamine use disorder. Meth addiction is spread across the US; however, due to the increased availability of methamphetamine in the western and midwestern regions of the US, the majority of law enforcement agencies from those regions have described methamphetamine and meth addiction as one of their greatest worries.

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More meth addiction facts

  • Nationwide, overdose deaths from the category of drugs that includes methamphetamine increased by 7.5 times between 2007 to 2017 (2).
  • According to the CDC in 2019, methamphetamine overdose deaths contributed to more than 16,500 deaths, more than the previous year (4).
  • In 2016, the average age of someone using methamphetamine was 23.3 years.
  • 61% of meth addicts will relapse within the first year of completing substance abuse treatment. (3)
  • Crystal meth (also known as ice) is a stronger, more potent form of methamphetamine that comes in the form of a crystal rock-like shape and use can lead to crystal meth addiction and overdose.

Signs of Meth Use

The signs of meth addiction can be both physical and physiological. Meth addiction symptoms and signs can include:

  • Rotting teeth (otherwise known as meth mouth)
  • Paranoia and irritability
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Constant scratching leading to body sores
  • Outbursts or mood swings
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Frequently twitching
  • Reduced appetite

After experiencing crystal meth addiction for a prolonged period it can grow increasingly difficult to maintain the same high. As a result, a user can experience “tweaking” a type of meth addict behavior resulting in anxiety and insomnia that can last up to 15 days once the user is unable to reach the previous high.

Aside from the physical and physiological signs, meth paraphernalia can indicate someone is using meth. Meth can be ingested in multiple ways but each way needs equipment to do so. Meth paraphernalia can include glass pipes, needles, rolled-up dollar bills, cut straws, little baggies, and or tourniquets.

If you are experiencing or noticing any of these signs and want to find help please contact us today over the phone or through our website to learn more about what we can do for you.

Common Drug Combinations

In some cases combining drugs such as stimulants and opioids together (commonly referred to as ‘speedball’) may result in amplifying the effects of each drug while reducing the negative effects of the drug. This is often very appealing for the user; however, it comes with a higher negative health risk.

It is common for those with meth addiction to combine heroin (an opioid) and meth (a stimulant). Heroin and meth combined result in an intense euphoria rush, increased respiratory rate, increased heart rate, and relaxation and release of inhibitions. It also can result in a rapidly changing heart rate and respiration rate which can cause arrhythmias, heart failure, or stroke (5). The combination of meth and heroin is especially dangerous as users often take higher doses of heroin to maintain the dual high since heroin has a shorter life than meth. The increased amount of heroin in the body often takes the body by shock leading to a heroin overdose.

Short-Term Effects of Meth Use

The short-term effects of meth can result in damaged blood vessels to the brain and sinus damage depending on the injection method. Other types of physical short-term effects from meth addiction include (6):

  • Unhealthy loss of weight
  • Increased blood pressure
  • A rapid heart rate
  • Disturbed sleep patterns
  • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Convulsions, seizures, and death from high doses
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Nausea

Meth addicts may also experience psychological short-term effects including:

  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability
  • Violent behavior

If you or someone you know is experiencing several of these effects and want to make a change but need help please contact us through our website or give us a call now.

Long-Term Health Risks

The long-term health risks of meth addiction range from brain damage and depression to deadly health conditions from heart attacks to strokes. Meth addicts also run the risk of causing severe destruction of tissues in their nose if sniffed, major lung damage if inhaled, and infectious diseases if injected. In the long-term, the physical health risks also include (6):

  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, and epilepsy
  • Acute vision loss
  • Memory loss
  • Body sores from scratching

In the long-term, the physiological health risks of meth addiction include:

  • Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Intense paranoia
  • Psychotic behavior
  • Aggression
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations

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Treatment and Resources for Meth Use

Behavioral therapies including both cognitive-behavioral and contingency management have proven to be effective meth addiction treatments. A common framework that includes behavioral therapies is called the Matrix Model. The Matrix Model is used to help stimulate abusers such as addicts looking for meth addiction help and recovery. The Matrix Model combines cognitive-behavioral therapy, family education, self-help participation, 12-step programs, social support groups, and many other best practices to create a comprehensive meth addiction recovery program.

There are currently some medications available to help aid in the meth addiction and recovery process but as of now they are only a secondary treatment used to support other types of treatments. One current meth addiction treatment medication is called naltrexone and bupropion. Naltrexone is injected for an extended-release while bupropion is taken as a daily pill (7).

If you are looking for meth addiction treatment centers we are here to help. At Arista Recover we offer treatment and resources to help you overcome your meth addiction. Contact us now through our website or via phone to learn more about how we can help you.

Commonly Asked Questions

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