Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” is a potent and highly addictive stimulant drug that is today’s world’s most famous drug taken up by every age and imposes dreadful addiction as a result.
This illegal drug causes react unconsciously with the brain and imparts changes in its normal performance, similar to those of cocaine and other amphetamines. Meth is closely related chemically to amphetamine but is more powerful.
So far, Meth addiction and abuse is grown as one of the world’s largest drug problems.
But the symptoms linked to it, if trapped, can make it easier to help addicts even before their complete inclination towards it.
Hence, to help you do anti-meth planning, because someone you know is struggling to break free from this addiction, read on to find out what you need to know-from signs and symptoms to treatment options.
1. What is Meth and how does it Affect the Body
Meth is a potent and highly addictive stimulant drug. This illegal drug causes changes in the brain similar to those of cocaine and other amphetamines. Meth is closely related chemically to amphetamine but is more powerful.
The most common form of meth today is a colorless, odorless substance that can be taken orally, snorted, or injected directly into the bloodstream via an IV needle. It’s made by combining over-the-counter cold medicines with substances such as battery acid and drain cleaner (which contains lye).
The product can also be cooked up using ingredients found around the house like ammonia, Drano, or laundry detergent. Unlike crack cocaine, which must be smoked, meth can easily be ingested.
2. The Dangers of Meth Addiction and Abuse
Methamphetamine addiction can be a debilitating condition that has very serious consequences. The effects of meth on the brain and body are destructive. Once you start using, it’s incredibly hard to stop. Even if you manage to quit, your teeth may fall out, you’ll experience extreme weight loss leading to malnourishment, and your skin experience unexpected complications.
It’s dangerous as it can be made in a home laboratory and it is usually sold as a white and odorless powder, although it can also be cooked up and smoked as a brownish rock crystal.
The long-term dangers of meth addiction include serious health problems, such as brain damage, mental disorders, high blood pressure that leads to strokes or heart failure. Further, weight loss, malnutrition, tooth decay/loss, skin sores/infections (due to scratching), blurred vision due to excessive sweating, and neglecting personal hygiene routines are also outcomes of meth abuse.
3. How to Recognize a Meth Addiction or Overdose
The signs and symptoms of a meth addiction vary. The addiction can cause changes in mood-from feeling happy, energetic, and confident to being irritable, anxious, and even paranoid.
Other signs that may indicate a meth addiction or overdose include:
- Difficulty concentrating/thinking clearly
- Sleeping too much or not at all
- Dilated pupils
- Constant itching and scratching to the point of skin lesions/infections
- Weight loss or weight gain unrelated to dieting changes
Apart from the above signs, you can also notice severe tooth decay, typically called “meth mouth” (which may lead to teeth falling out).
4. Treatment Options for those Struggling with a Methamphetamine Addiction
There are many treatment options for those struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, depending on the severity and type of addiction.
The most common treatment is a detox program, which can last from a few days to several weeks. It’s important to note that detox alone is not enough and, by itself, will only help manage the symptoms, not eliminate them.
Methamphetamine use disorder treatments typically combine medications and behavioral therapy. Medications that may be prescribed include antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or benzodiazepines. Behavioral therapy can involve cognitive interventions or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
5. Methamphetamine Withdrawal Symptoms
The most common early withdrawal symptoms include headaches, insomnia, loss of appetite, and depression. These symptoms can last for a couple of days to a few weeks. Other withdrawal symptoms include increased agitation and anxiety, increased sweating, difficulty concentrating, and impaired memory function.
6. Signs that Someone you know might be Using Methamphetamines
Signs that someone you know might be using methamphetamines include:
- Pattern of becoming more secretive, refusing to answer questions
- Sudden weight loss or gain
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Increased agitation and anxiety
- Loss of appetite and depression
- Sudden changes in mood and personality
7. What to do if Someone you know is Struggling with a Methamphetamine Addiction
If someone you know is struggling with a meth addiction, there are certain things that you can do:
- Be supportive without enabling their behavior; it’s important not to enable their addiction which will only worsen.
- If they’re willing, encourage them to get professional treatment
- Encourage them to seek sober friends or family members that they can rely on when in need
- Offer to be available when they need help.
- Continued assistance with maintaining healthy habits, as if their addiction results from an eating disorder, help them maintain healthy eating habits.
Meth, like cocaine or any other drug, affects the central nervous system (CNS), which consists of the brain and spinal cord.
All addictive substances can be characterized in one way by how they affect neurotransmitters in the brain. Because there are chemical messengers that transmit signals between nerve cells in the brain and hence develop the conscious performance of a person.
But unfortunately, Meth’s seductive characteristics are making record by trapping a number of people by compelling them to be addicted to this drug.
However, having complete knowledge regarding symptoms and in-depth conceptualization of an addicted person’s behavior can help you make an effective anti-meth plan for execution.