Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Meth causes increased activity and a pleasurable sense of euphoria. However, because amphetamines can treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and narcolepsy, some people mistake it for a depressant.
Stimulants speed up the body’s system by producing a long-lasting high of dopamine into the areas of the brain that regulate feelings of pleasure. Users report feelings of pleasure, confidence, and a sudden energy boost. Meth also produces some stimulating psychological effects such as self-confidence and feelings of empowerment.
What is Meth?
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, glass, or ice, is a highly addictive, illicit stimulant substance that produces long-lasting euphoria. The highly addictive stimulant works on the central nervous system and looks like gleaming “rocks” or glass fragments of various sizes.
It is created in underground labs in the United States and overseas, with components sourced from over-the-counter (OTC) medications mixed with dangerous chemicals.
What Is Crystal Methamphetamine?
The term crystal methamphetamine is the same as “crystal meth.” It is a type of methamphetamine that looks like glass or rocks. It is frequently produced in home labs using a variety of over-the-counter substances.
People can smoke, swallow, snort, or inject crystal meth into their bloodstream. The effects that consumers experience when taking crystal meth compared to meth are incredibly similar. Most users experience a short-lived, intense high.
What Are the Early Signs of Meth Use to Know?
Meth increases the amount of naturally-available dopamine in the brain. The drug’s ability to produce an intense dopamine surge reinforces the drug-taking behavior, making the user want to relive the experience.
It has comparable effects to cocaine in that it boosts dopamine production in the brain. It is highly addictive, and long-term usage can result in linguistic and motor function impairment.
Meth has a profound impact on consumers’ bodies and minds, and these warning signals and symptoms manifest in several ways, including:
- Appetite decreases
- Physical activity boost
- Heartbeats that are fast or irregular
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing
- Excessive weight loss
- Scratching irritated skin leads to the occurrence of sores
- Dental decay or loss (sometimes known as “meth mouth”) is a condition in which teeth deteriorate or fall off
Dangers of Meth Addiction
People who use meth have an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis B and C. These diseases can be prevalent among users who inject meth. Here are some long-term risks associated with meth use:
- Strokes, heart attacks, and death caused by high blood pressure
- Irreversible damage to the brain and heart
- Damage to the kidneys, liver, and lungs
- You can have hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, mood swings, or violent conduct
- It can lead to confusion, insomnia, and anxiety
- Osteoporosis (early stages)
- Itching that causes skin blisters
In addition, continued meth use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system associated with impaired verbal learning and poor coordination. Some studies show long-term meth users experience emotional and cognitive problems.
Ways to Treat Meth Addiction
Although some of the brain changes caused by meth may reverse after quitting the drug, it may take over a year to recover – if ever. People who abuse meth are more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease and struggle with cognitive impairment.
Meth overuse and usage builds tolerance, leading to physical dependence and excruciating withdrawal symptoms when you decide to stop its use. Medical detox is usually the initial step in recovering from methamphetamine addiction. Here, patients receive withdrawal care and medications to ease the symptoms before moving to a more comprehensive treatment plan.
Because of the drug’s addictive nature and an individual’s underlying psychological causes for substance misuse, meth treatment is challenging. The most efficient and best way to treat meth addiction is almost always to recover in an organized treatment program. A counselor may advise you on outpatient treatment (recuperating from your home) or an inpatient program (recovering from a medical facility), given the meth abuse or addiction severity.
In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational incentives have proven effective at treating addiction. If you or someone you love is dealing with meth addiction, speak with your primary health care provider for assistance. Addiction treatment can help people recover from meth abuse and help users find long-lasting sobriety in recovery.