Methamphetamine is commonly known as meth or crystal meth. It is classified as a stimulant or upper.
What it does is, it greatly increase energy, concentration and alertness. In large or high doses, it can enhance self-esteem, induce euphoria, or it can even amplify libido. Methamphetamine is considered highly addictive because it triggers the release of chemicals in the brain, activating that “feel good” sensation and prompting the individual to use again and again. In theory, some could think that methamphetamine could be used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and obesity.
How is it Made?
In addition to the abuse issues that accompany methamphetamine, the manufacture of it is simple enough and the components accessible enough for almost anyone to make. Basically, the mixture is red phosphorous, ephedrine and iodine. Once liquefied to a jelly consistency, the concoction is activated with hydrochloric acid, and then dried. The end result is crystal methamphetamine.
Most of the methamphetamine abused in this country comes from foreign or domestic superlabs, although it can also be made in small, illegal “meth labs” often found in homes, hotel rooms and basements. Because it is made with common commercial products it can be easily produced for a relatively small investment and therefore readily available making it increasingly popular. In fact methamphetamine addiction has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. The RAND Corporation’s Drug Policy Research Center in Santa Monica, California, used federal surveys to determine that about 1% of the US population over 12 years of age uses methamphetamine in any given year. In 2005, there were 900 deaths in the US with meth being the cause of death . As many as 400,000 people in the US are thought to be methamphetamine addicts.
The Effects of Meth
The effects of meth vary only slightly from one individual to another. Most instantly notice an enhanced ability to focus, an acute mental awareness and a lack of defined need of rest and a definite decrease in appetite. Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant so, it directly affects the neurochemical mechanisms responsible for regulating the heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure, appetite, attention, mood and emotional responses associated with alertness or alarming conditions. Not only are the acute effects escalated heart rate and blood pressure, extensive use causes constriction of the arterial walls, and increased blood sugars in the body. Methamphetamine is an extremely strong drug also proven to produce significant drops in levels of dopamine and serotonin; the ‘feel good’ chemical in the brain.
Long-term effects of methamphetamine
Linked to long-term use of methamphetamine are cases of depression and suicide as well as serious heart disease. Because methamphetamine is labeled neurotoxic, it is often associated with an increased risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Long-term use can greatly affect thinking, the ability to reason and to focus one’s attention. At least 20% of the people addicted to methamphetamine develop a psychosis resembling schizophrenia.
Some of the long-term effects of methamphetamine use are:
- dry mouth
- weight loss
- the feeling of bugs crawling on your skin called formication
- extreme dental problems
- skin acne or sores
How it is used
There are various ways to administer methamphetamine. The various routes of administration of this drug can affect the psychological addiction to the drug. The method used to dispense the drug greatly affect the time it takes to reach the brain and is also crucial to the long-term effects of the drug.
The first of these methods of administration approached is injection. Injection, or commonly known as banging, slamming, mainlining or shooting up is a popular method which can induce greater risks than the other methods of using. Basically, it is the method by which the individual will mix it with water and inject it directly into the bloodstream using a hypodermic needle. This method is vastly popular because the effect on the mind and body are immediate. The risks involved, however, include pulmonary embolism, possible blockage of an artery and skin rashes at the sight of injection. Additionally, the use of shared needles may result in blood born diseases, such as HIV or Hepatitis.
The act of smoking methamphetamine is vaporizing, but not burning it, to inhale the fumes. Most commonly it is smoked in a glass pipe or a light bulb. Some will smoke it on aluminum foil with a flame beneath it, commonly known as “chasing the white dragon”. The long-term effects of smoking methamphetamine are far less risky than injection however, it is possible to develop lung disease as a result of extensive or excessive use.
Yet another method of administration commonly used is snorting the drug, where one will crush the drug into a very fine powder and then inhale quickly, through a straw or rolled up dollar bill or a piece of paper, creating a tube like structure. “Snorthing” the methamphetamine will allow the drug to absorb into the soft tissue of the nasal cavity and eventually drain into the sinuses. This method of dispensing the drug is most popular among adolescents but, is still commonly practiced among all users.
This is only a brief synopsis of the making, effects and various methods of administration of methamphetamine. There is a vast amount of information yet uncovered in this brief article. There are the legal ramifications, distribution and sale of, history and synthesis of methamphetamine which cover an enormous amount of information. Additionally, more and more statistics and data are uncovered every day.
The Cycle of Addiction
The cycle of addiction starts with an individual who has a problem and is not able to handle or confront it. The person solves the problem by turning to drugs that appear to be an immediate solution because they temporarily made them feel better. The next time this person has another problem their brain remembers that drugs helped the last time so they use them again as a solution. Soon they’re using drugs to get rid of every unwanted feeling they encounter and it is just a matter of time before they become fully addicted and lose their ability to control their drug use. Now, the person is physiologically addicted to the substance. Their body is so used to having the drug that it needs it every day in order to function. A person at this point will do anything to get the drug including begging, borrowing and stealing in order to avoid the physical and mental horrors of withdrawal. Continued abuse leads to physical and mental deterioration of the person causing them to use even more. At this point addiction can either lead to death, prison, or the person seeking help.
What Treatment Should Do
When a person does want to get help it is crucial that they choose the proper treatment facility for them. In order to properly treat meth addiction you must handle not only the psychological aspects of the addiction but also the physical. Since drugs are a poison your body has to work extra hard in order to metabolize them which burns up enormous vitamin and mineral reserves. Also, meth and other drugs end up being stored as metabolites in the body’s fat cells.
Whenever a person body metabolizes anything a small amount of whatever drug is stored there is released into the blood stream and then travels up to the brain causing a biophysical craving for that drug. These residues can be stored in the body for up to five years. An effective treatment program should be able to effectively rid the body of these residues.
After the physical aspect of meth addition is handled it is vital that the mental aspects be handled. The addict must learn the life skills needed to be able handle and confront life and its problems without turning to drugs. An effective program should also address good morals and ethics, something addicts tend to leave behind while using. A good program should also bring their responsibility level back up so they can once again become productive members of society.
How to Get Help
Narconon Arrowhead is a very successful, inpatient drug rehab center that treats people from all around the world. Narconon does not believe that once an addict, always an addict, but that recovery is possible. Narconon uses a dry heat sauna to completely rid the body of toxic residues that have been stored in the body over the period of time they used. After this, there are many Life Skills courses that help the former user to confront and deal with past and present issues that have led them to use or maybe even led to the continued use. Narconon has an over 70% success rate of those graduating the program remaining drug-free on a two year follow up. This program helps thousands each year and can help you or a family member suffering from any drug or alcohol addiction.
The following is a testimonial from a former methamphetamine addict who completed the Narconon program:
“I arrived here at Narconon Arrowhead on October 29, 2010, almost a year ago after a 12 year addiction to meth. I came here straight from jail, I actually sat in jail for almost six months not knowing if I was going to have to go back to prison for a second time.
“During the 12 years I was addicted to meth, I gave up so much time with my family. I gave up my freedom, getting an education, and those who know me would probably tell you I gave up my sanity, because I was completely insane. I did so many horrible, horrible things. Nobody even wanted to be around me, they couldn’t stand me, and who could blame them, I couldn’t even stand myself. But thanks to Narconon Arrowhead I have been able to confront those situations and put them behind me. I had so many wins and gains from this program it is unreal.
“I now have a relationship with my family, all of my legal is pretty much taken care of, I have a wonderful job with awesome people, but most of all I have myself back. I am once again the same caring, big hearted person I used to be. I now have goals that I want to achieve and things to look forward to in life and it feels great! I am happier than I have ever been in my entire life.”
Brandy C.-Narconon Graduate
Meth abuse is very serious and should not be taken lightly. This drug has destroyed so many lives and broken many families. This drug takes a person and forms them into a person they never wanted to be and when they look into the mirror they are disgusted by what they see. The Narconon program can change this. If you have a friend or family member that is suffering from a meth addiction, call today at 800-468-6933.
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