An addiction to methamphetamines and other stimulants is a serious problem, one that is best treated by professionals in a residential treatment setting. Signs of meth use and addiction can include severe spikes in body temperature that could lead to death, violent mood swings, depression, insomnia, and paranoia, to name just a few. Some of the common street names for meth include: crystal, glass, ice, crank, and redneck cocaine.
Meth, much like crack cocaine, provides an immediate “rush” characterized by increased heart rate, spike in blood pressure, and a surge of pleasurable neurotransmitters. This can last for up to 30 minutes. Following the immediate rush, meth users experience a stable high lasting up to 12 hours. During that time the effects include: Hyperactivity, elation, alertness, loss of appetite, empathy, and talkativeness.
Understanding meth addiction and how it affects the mind is an important part of recovery. Being aware of what it’s doing to you provides a sense of control. When meth is inhaled or injected it releases an avalanche of dopamine to the brains rewards center, giving off feelings of euphoria, confidence and energy. In fact, meth releases three times more dopamine than cocaine, which is why it is so much more debilitating. As you do more, the substance rewires your brain, teaching it that pleasure is only received through using methamphetamines. Due to the immense feelings of euphoria, people tend to binge on meth, often staying high for days at a time, afraid to come back down.
With prolonged use your body builds up a tolerance for the substance, requiring increasingly larger doses to achieve the high. It eventually destroys dopamine receptors in the brain, leaving meth as the only way to feel pleasure. Developing a dependence on meth, just to feel balanced, often leads to overdosing, and sometimes death.
It’s a pretty tough addiction to hide, as the signs of meth use are usually very evident. The behavior of a meth addicts is often the biggest red flag. Users become consumed, prioritizing getting high over daily activities and responsibilities. Polarizing mood swings damage interpersonal relationships, work ethic and appearances begin to suffer, leading to unemployment and financial hardship. The false sense of confidence derived from meth leads to risk-taking behavior like stealing, lying or driving while high. This creates legal troubles, which most meth addicts cannot afford, ultimately sinking deeper and deeper into addiction.
Other common physical and behavioral symptoms of methamphetamine abuse include:
1) Weight loss due to loss of appetite
2) Elevated body temperature
3) Skin abscesses
5) Insomnia due to overstimulation
6) Osteoporosis (teeth chip and fall out)
8) Violent mood swings
11) Decreased sex drive
Just as powerful as the immediate high, are the long-term damages caused by prolonged meth use. Anhedonia is the inability to derive pleasure from regular activities and experiences that were once normal. Social interaction, hobbies, work, and sex can all feel insignificant. This is caused by damaged dopamine receptors in the brain. Anhedonia leaves people feeling lonely, isolated, depressed and incapable of enjoying life.
Other long term effects include:
Cognitive damage (impaired memory, judgement and motor coordination)
Psychosis (paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations such as a bugs crawling all over skin)
Damage to physical appearance (tooth decay, meth mouth, dry skin, lesions on skin, and sunken cheeks)
Co-occurring illness (lowered immune system leads to sickness, liver damage, heart disease, and strokes)
If you detox from meth after extended abuse, you’re going to have to battle withdrawal symptoms such as dry mouth, jitters, lethargy, cravings, hopelessness, and psychosis. It starts after the first 24 hours of sobriety, peaks around 7-10 days, and can last up to 20 days. Detoxing is the first step to meth addiction recovery and it can be very uncomfortable, causing many people to revert back to using. That’s why it’s important to detox at a meth treatment center under the supervision and care of a medical professionals and counsellors.
If you find yourself addicted to methamphetamine, the first step of your meth addiction treatment program will be an evaluation by a physician as well as a clinical team, including a primary therapist and a psychiatrist, all of whom will collaborate on an individualized meth treatment program, developed specifically for you. You will be surrounded by our experienced and compassionate staff who are here to help you through this long-term recovery and detox journey in a safe and welcoming environment
Haven House is a methamphetamine treatment center located in Los Angeles. Contact our center today!