Methamphetamine Addiction

Meth is a very potent stimulant that can wreak havoc on the central nervous system. It’s an odorless, bitter crystalline powder that has longer lasting effects than other stimulant drugs. A lot of people describe the high from meth as being very intense and overwhelming for this reason. This is what makes it so powerfully additive. Meth is actually known as one of the most addictive and popular hard drugs on the streets today. Due to the fact that it’s one of the cheapest stimulants, and a lot cheaper than cocaine, people are resorting to it as a cheaper alternative. Unfortunately it’s also one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. The “meth scene” isn’t your ordinary drug scene, but instead it’s on the same level as heroin addicts where these meth addicts are so hooked by the drug that they will do anything to get their hands on more. It’s often a very degraded environment and a lot of times these meth addicts are also cooking meth in order to sell it and support their drug habit. It’s not usually a drug that’s only used recreationally, because a majority of people who use it go down the road of addiction. This puts their kids at risk, nothing to say of themselves. Cooking meth is really a high risk situation because the ingredients used to make meth are explosive and the activity of making meth can easily backfire because of this.

The Signs of Meth Addiction: What To Look Out For

There are several things to look out for when trying to figure out if someone you know has an addiction to meth. The symptoms of using this drug include:

  • Increased activity
  • Increased wakefulness
  • Very talkative
  • Euphoria
  • Sweating
  • Irregular or rapid heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia
  • Decreased fatigue/hyperactive
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Mood disturbances
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss

Some warning signs of using meth can make an addiction or abuse of it seem pretty obvious. One sign to look out for is skin picking. People who are addicted to meth are known for picking at their skin which leaves marks and open sores. Another sign is skin crawling. Meth addicts often get the sensation that they have crawling skin. Tooth decay is one warning sign that can be flagrant. Meth addicts often have a pretty messed up set of teeth, as using can give you tooth loss and tooth decay. This is known as “meth mouth”. Hair loss is another flagrant sign. Since meth addicts don’t get enough nutrients and they’re constantly ingesting chemicals from the drug they will get hair breakage. Over all, a meth addict is usually in poor physical condition which isn’t hard to miss.

There are also some street names to look out for. The various street names for meth are speed, chalk, ice, crystal, glass and tina. If someone you’re suspicious of is using these names there’s a good chance that they’re referring to meth.

Keep in mind that when someone is abusing meth “recreationally” then they have a high chance of becoming addicted to it. Abusing meth can easily escalate into addiction.

Meth Addiction And The Brain

Meth takes its toll on the brain, there’s no doubt about that. Part of the reason why the high is so intense is that there’s a high influx of these chemicals which enter into the brain at the time it’s ingested. This renders the user to feel very euphoric and energetic, much like cocaine but on an even higher level. They will feel confident and an improvement in mood. If taking too much, they can become overly confident and act like they’re on somewhat of a power trip which could lead to becoming aggressive.

What meth does is releases a lot of dopamine in order to create its effects. Dopamine is responsible for one’s motivation, motor function, mood, etc. The function of dopamine is necessary for a lot of general activity to keep you balanced. So when using meth, this takes its toll on the brain and therefore the whole system. It is estimated that the amount of dopamine using meth releases is about twelve times more than food or sex releases, which is a high amount. Supposedly the nerve terminals in the brain get harmed by this as well.

How And Why Does Someone Fall Into A Meth Addiction

There are a myriad of claimed reasons on why somebody would decide to start using meth. However one reason which stands out is using meth to lose weight fast. The drug is often utilized as an easy way to lose weight, though this is a very unhealthy alternative to diet and/or exercise. It is used because meth is known to suppress appetite. Using meth as a crutch for weight loss generally and all too often backfires, and the person ends up in a meth addiction they weren’t expecting. This will usually lead them to losing too much weight, not to say anything of destroying the other aspects of their appearance. Meth users are hands down the grittiest drug users in terms of appearance. So as far as losing weight is concerned, using meth is paying a high price to lose weight taking into consideration the long list of ways it will not only ruin someone’s appearance but also ruin someone’s health.

A lot of times these teenage girls or girls in their early twenties resorting to meth to lose weight are actually dealing with body image issues. They’re trying to handle their issues with something entirely unrelated, something that will in fact end up destroying their appearance anyway. People that tend to do this or are thinking about doing this should find other ways they can become in control of their weight instead of taking the short cut of illicit stimulants to suppress their appetite.

Recovering From A Meth Addiction

Recovering from an addiction to meth can be hard. Getting and staying sober after going through a roller coaster like an addiction to this drug can be a very tough thing and is often described as such. A lot of times determination and a good support group will get someone through to the end though.

Before withdrawal symptoms come, there’s the “comedown”. This is the time period when the high wears off and the person is crashing from the drug. During this time the user usually expects what they’re going to experience because they’ve probably experienced it before using again in the past. The symptoms during the comedown are excessive sleeping and lethargy, heightened anxiety and profound depression.

Meth withdrawal is a vital but intense part of the process of getting clean. Symptoms that usually occur when someone is withdrawing from meth are confusion, insomnia, paranoia and weird sensations on the skin. These symptoms might cause a lot of discomfort but detoxification is crucial to overcoming the struggle of addiction.

There are many rehabs which can see a meth addict through to sustained sobriety. Plenty of people have become sober after being addicted to meth. If you or someone you know is hooked on meth then there are many places to find help in the form of therapy, counseling or various rehab centers.

By Robert O. Newman II, ICDAC, ICPS, CIP