Last Updated July 20, 2020

Few drugs come close to the level of public health concern that methamphetamine has reached. Meth addiction is an increasingly serious problem that has seen a consistent rise in recent years. The stimulant effects of the drug are both immediate and fleeting, and this typically leads to binge use which can result in dependency and addiction. 

Addiction is far from the only danger of meth use. The potential for overdose or poisoning exist every time the drug is taken, and individuals trying to cease use can face serious symptoms of withdrawal. If you or a loved one are facing meth addiction, it’s important to get on a treatment plan focused on recovery and safe cessation of use. 

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that comes in a variety of forms. Many people purchase the drug as a pill or powder, but crystal meth can be found in rock form as well. There are some legitimate medical uses for the substance – such as treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity – but its more common use is substance abuse

Meth can also be taken in a variety of ways. Snorting, injecting, smoking and ingestion via pill form are common in meth addiction. The effects of the drug come on quickly, but due to their quick cessation, many people end up spending additional money or even stealing to secure more of the substance.

If you’re using meth or crystal meth, you may have developed dependency or addiction. If you’re unsure if you or a family member have a problem, contact us at Transformations Treatment Center today. We can help assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan if necessary. This will help you gain a healthier life free of drug abuse

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Continued use of meth over an extended period of time – or using the drug in very high doses – can cause extreme changes in both your brain and behavioral patterns. It does this by releasing large levels of dopamine into your body. This chemical is typically connected to motivation, reward and processes that make your body feel good.

When the body is flooded with dopamine, these feelings are experienced at a high level. This creates the urge to repeatedly take the drug. Once your brain gets used to the substance stimulating dopamine release, you’ll experience meth addiction via an inability of your body to produce the chemical on its own. 

There are various signs that could point towards a dangerous dependency on methamphetamine:

  • Using meth in dangerous situations (e.g. overdosing, driving while high). 
  • Interpersonal and social issues related to use. 
  • Academic, career or personal responsibilities are neglected. 
  • Frequent cravings for the drug. 
  • Cessation of enjoyed activities to focus on meth use. 
  • Extended periods of time are devoted to using meth. 
  • Psychological or physical problems developing (e.g. damaged teeth). 
  • Previous attempts to stop using the drug have failed. 
  • Development of high tolerance (i.e. needing more for same effect). 
  • Withdrawal symptoms are experienced when not using the drug. 
  • Increasing amounts or longer periods of time spent on meth.

These issues make it obvious how detrimental meth addiction can be, but when deciding to quit the drug, the body has adapted to releasing its own dopamine again. During this process, you can face serious withdrawal symptoms. These often prove to be at least as dangerous as abuse of the drug itself. 

During meth withdrawal and detox, you could face symptoms such as anxiety, severe cravings, depression and even psychosis. This makes it pertinent for many individuals to undergo this process in a medical setting. Choosing to end meth abuse is a courageous decision, but it’s important that you consider your own safety first. 

Signs of Meth Use

Individuals with a meth addiction are often ashamed to admit their problem, so if a loved one is abusing the drug, it may be difficult to get an honest and straight answer from them. The symptoms of addiction can help you identify when someone has a problem, but several of these issues can be explained away. 

There are many signs of meth abuse, though, that cannot be hidden. The following are a few immediate side effects you may notice when someone is on methamphetamine: 

  • Aggressive behavior. 
  • Anxiety. 
  • Lack of appetite. 
  • Chest pains. 
  • Increased heart rate. 
  • Muscle spasms and twitches. 
  • Paranoia. 
  • Itchy and flushed skin. 
  • Hallucinations. 
  • Increased body temperature.

Some of these signs of meth addiction and use are dangerous, so it’s often in a family member’s best interest to not have a serious discussion when the individual is on the drug. After long-term abuse, you may also begin to notice signs like rotting teeth, malnutrition, depression, memory loss, impaired cognition and psychosis.

If you believe a friend or family member is suffering from meth addiction, it’s important that you not face the problem on your own. At Transformations Treatment Center, we can help you formulate a plan to discuss the issues with your loved one and help them get on the path to recovery. Visit our Family Member Support Guide for more help. 

Meth Addiction Statistics 

Drug abuse is a growing problem in America, but increases in meth use have been particularly distressing. Entire communities are being destroyed due to the increased availability of the drug at cheaper prices. These issues aren’t just coming from current users – the real problem is the growing number of people abusing the drug every year. 

Recent research showed nearly 1 million people suffer from meth addiction in any given year. People experiencing significant impairment from the drug increased from 684,000 to 964,000 in just one year. Abuse by adolescents has decreased over time, but the average number of Americans on the drug is still rising. 

Between 2011 and 2017, meth-related deaths in America quadrupled. Treatment center admissions increased by 17 percent during this time, and between 2008 and 2015, hospitalizations linked to the drug jumped 245 percent. In the West and Midwest, nearly three-quarters of law enforcement agencies list the substance as their largest drug threat. 

While more people die from opioid addiction than meth abuse, fatality rates involving the latter have been increasing. Health experts believe this may be related to meth users getting older. Healthy adults who abuse the drug are less likely to have fatal side effects, but as users age, the chance of heart attack and brain hemorrhage increases. 

The problem of meth addiction becomes extremely apparent when looking at individual hospital statistics. Of the 7,000 people admitted yearly to San Francisco General Hospital for psychiatric emergencies, for instance, nearly half were just high on meth. These substance abuse statistics show that it’s not an easy problem to overcome, so contact us at Transformations Treatment Center for help.

Treatment of Meth Addiction

Going through a professional treatment program provides levels of support you can’t get on your own. This can increase the chances of permanent cessation and help you build a productive life that is no longer dictated by substance abuse disorder. In many situations, the most effective treatment for meth addiction will include detoxification and a rehab program.

When you first begin the detox process, a professional treatment program will ensure you have assistance ridding your body of the drug and overcoming the symptoms of acute withdrawal. With the help of health professionals, you’ll be able to more safely and comfortably go through this process than if you attempted to stop on your own. 

While detox is an essential aspect of meth addiction recovery, it’s important that you do not stop there. The process will help you stop using the drug, but individuals who don’t seek further treatment typically relapse. Since there are no medication treatment options – contrary to the case with opioid addiction – relapses are common

By going through a professional treatment program, you’ll be able to explore your addiction and come up with new and improved ways of living. Learning skills for moving forward and dealing with long-term withdrawal symptoms – known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) – can give you a fighting chance for permanently beating substance abuse. 

Meth Abuse Recovery

There are many treatment options available related to meth addiction recovery. The best chance you have of overcoming this substance abuse disorder is finding a recovery plan that works for you. After detox, rehab treatment tailored to your specific needs can greatly increase your chance of success. 

Not every recovery plan will work for everyone, and the best option can depend on a variety of factors (e.g. family support, social networks, etc). There are still various options that could be part of your individualized recovery plan: 

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. 
  • Support group work. 
  • Outpatient support. 
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP). 
  • Experiential activities and therapy. 

These are just a few of the resources available to those overcoming meth addiction. Upon completion of your rehab program, you’ll use the skills you’ve learned to continue on your path to recovery even in the face of life stressors and triggering events. This makes an aftercare program an extremely powerful tool in fully overcoming substance abuse. 

Transformations Treatment Center understands how important aftercare can be. That’s why the program will stay in touch with you. It’s important to have a trusted source for guidance when facing temptation and difficulties, and that’s why it’s an essential part of our treatment and recovery process. 

Don’t Let Meth Rule Your Life

Methamphetamines are one of the most commonly abused drugs, and this is no doubt related to their potency and fast-acting effects. Unfortunately, the side effects are life-altering and can cause serious physical and psychological damage. Overcoming dependency is a difficult task, but meth addiction does not have to control your life. 

The addiction professionals at Transformations Treatment Center can help you build a plan to get on the path to recovery. There are various options available depending on your specific situation, so contact us today to discuss different treatment plans. One call could get your life back on track. 

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