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Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth or crystal meth, is a highly addictive drug in the stimulant family. Chemically similar to amphetamine, it is in the form of a white, odorless powder that increases the levels of dopamine in the brain to enhance the experience of pleasure.
Repeatedly using this drug can quickly lead to a serious meth addiction. Meth addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease marked by the inability to stop using, even though you may want to, and even though the drug is causing serious problems in your life.
Meth addiction causes structural changes in the brain, and it often results in serious physical and mental health problems as well. Getting professional help for a meth addiction is essential for increasing the chances of successful recovery.
Nearly 11 million Americans have tried meth at least once, compared to the 34 million who have tried cocaine or the 100 million who have used marijuana. The good news is that the use of this highly addictive stimulant is far less prevalent than that of many other drugs, but its effects are often more serious.
Overdose is a serious concern due to the fact that, unlike other types of drugs, there are no immediate signs that the user has taken a lethal dose. Typically, a meth overdose causes death suddenly and unexpectedly, usually due to a rapid onset of physical symptoms that lead to stroke or a heart attack. Combining this drug with alcohol is particularly dangerous.
Taking this drug increases wakefulness and physical activity and decreases appetite. While on it, users experience increased respiration and heart rate and an increase in body temperature and blood pressure.
Long-term use can cause serious health problems, including serious dental problems, known as “meth mouth,” skin sores, HIV infection from sharing needles or engaging in risky sexual behaviors, and extreme weight loss.
Chronic abusers often develop serious mental health problems like anxiety and confusion, violent behavior, mood disturbances, and insomnia. Psychotic episodes are also common among those who are addicted to this drug. Long-term users may find it difficult to feel any pleasure when not using the drug, which compounds the problems of addiction and makes recovering addicts highly likely to relapse.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of meth use include:
• Depression, anxiety, and mood swings.
• Using the drug despite negative consequences related to legal issues, physical and mental health problems, financial problems, and declining familial relationships.
• Increased libido and engagement in risky sexual activity.
• Neglecting responsibilities at home, work, or school.
• Borrowing or stealing money.
• Decreased appetite and extreme weight loss.
• Irregular heartbeat.
• Dilated pupils.
• Restlessness, irritability, agitation, and aggression.
• Hallucinations and delusions.
Meth addiction and abuse should be treated through a comprehensive drug rehab program, ideally at a residential center, although outpatient treatment can be successful for those who have a strong support system and who are deeply and personally committed to beating the addiction.
The most effective treatments for meth addiction include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which promotes self-awareness and replacing self-destructive thoughts and behaviors with those that are healthy and productive. Contingency management interventions are also successful and provide tangible rewards for continuing treatment and maintaining abstinence.
At Drug Treatment Centers Pensacola, we provide patients with the quality care and treatment needed to treat and manage their dependence issues. Give us a call today at (850) 332-0874 to find out more about how we can help you get the care you deserve.
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