Understanding Methamphetamine Abuse

Meth (methamphetamine) is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant. Meth addiction is a type of substance use disorder that can trigger severe and long-term problems, both physical and psychological. Abusing any form of methamphetamine is dangerous and potentially life-threatening. 

Methamphetamine addiction can develop over time. Common symptoms of meth addiction and drug abuse include changes in behavior and physical changes. Treatment options are available to help people with meth addiction. If you or your loved one need addiction treatment assistance today, contact Renaissance Recovery.

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What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine was developed in the early twentieth century and is derived from amphetamine. Methamphetamine is much more potent than amphetamine. The stimulant that acts on the CNS (central nervous system), triggering effects that include: 

  • Euphoria
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased energy levels
  • Talkativeness 

Methamphetamine typically comes in the form of a white crystalline powder. The powder is dissolvable in water or alcohol. 

Meth is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the DEA (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration). Like all substances under this schedule, meth has some medical utility and a high potential for abuse and addiction. 

Methamphetamine may be prescribed for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and narcolepsy. Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health of 2021 indicate that in the past year, over 2.5 million individuals aged 12 or above in the US had utilized methamphetamine. Research indicates that becoming dependent on methamphetamine can occur more quickly than developing an addiction to other common drugs.

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Is Meth Addictive?

A recently published survey by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health has revealed that more than 2.5 million individuals 12 years and older in the USA have admitted to using methamphetamine in the last 12 months. Shockingly, out of those individuals, 1.6 million have been diagnosed with a meth addiction during the same period. These statistics highlight the highly addictive nature of this drug. 

Methamphetamine is a substance that triggers the over-release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasurable feelings. When ingested, it floods the brain with intense euphoria and energy, boosting self-confidence and sociability. However, this initial rush can lead to a vicious cycle of addiction, as users seek to recreate the experience.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse can have major impacts on brain function. Prolonged use of the drug leads to an increase of dopamine in the brain. This can result in significant changes to the areas of the brain responsible for emotion and memory, leading to emotional and cognitive difficulties, as well as stimulant use disorder or meth addiction. 

The effects of long-term methamphetamine abuse may persist even after stopping the use of the substance, with some changes being irreversible. This makes it all the more crucial to seek professional help as early as possible in the addiction recovery process. Remember, there is always hope for recovery, no matter how severe the addiction may seem. 

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Crystal Meth

Methamphetamine (meth) and crystal methamphetamine (crystal meth) are two different forms of the same drug, methamphetamine. Methamphetamine is a powerful central nervous system stimulant that can be prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy. That said, it is more commonly known for its illicit use as a recreational drug. 

Crystal meth is a form of methamphetamine that is produced in illegal laboratories. Crystal is typically more potent than the powdered form of the drug. It appears as a crystalline powder or in small clear or bluish-white glass-like rocks.

Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected, or taken orally. The effects of crystal meth can be more intense and longer-lasting than regular meth. Meth abuse can cause serious health problems, including addiction, psychosis, and cardiovascular damage. 

Both methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine are highly addictive and can provoke serious physical and mental health issues. It is imperative to seek professional help if you or a loved one is struggling with methamphetamines or crystal meth addiction to either of these substances. 

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Fight Back Against Meth Addiciton

Get evidence-based treatment to overcome methamphetamine addiction at Renaissance Recovery. Call our team now to learn more about the process.

How Addictive is Meth?

When you ingest methamphetamine, you experience a temporary surge of pleasure and euphoria. The sensation produced by meth is more intense than cocaine. This intensity creates strong cravings to use meth again and again. Unfortunately, giving in to this pattern of abuse can quickly result in the development of tolerance, physical dependence, and ultimately addiction. 

Studies have shown that addiction to methamphetamine can develop more rapidly than addiction to many other commonly abused substances. This is largely due to the drug’s ability to rapidly alter the brain’s reward center and produce strong cravings, even after just a few uses. It is also important to note that other factors like family history, mental health, past trauma, and more can all contribute to the development of a methamphetamine addiction.

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man moving while under the influence

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Meth addiction, also known as stimulant use disorder, is a serious mental health condition that can have a devastating impact on a person’s life. DSM-5-TR, which is the fifth revised edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association, outlines common meth addiction symptoms as follows: 

  1. Using meth in potentially hazardous situations.
  2. Neglecting personal or professional commitments due to meth use.
  3. Experiencing problems in personal relationships because of meth use.
  4. Reducing the time spent on activities that were once enjoyable due to meth use.
  5. Requiring more meth to achieve the same effects.
  6. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using meth.
  7. Exceeding the intended duration or quantity of meth use.
  8. Unsuccessfully attempting to quit or control meth use.
  9. Devoting significant amounts of time to meth use and recovery.
  10. Continuing to use despite developing physical or psychological issues.
  11. Encountering intense cravings for meth.

Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, meth addiction can be diagnosed as mild (2-3 symptoms), moderate (4-5 symptoms), or severe (6 or more symptoms). 

If you are struggling with addiction to methamphetamine and are noticing these signs of meth use, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible. With the right support and treatment, recovery is possible, and a fulfilling life in sobriety can be achieved.

Physical Side Effects of Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that can have severe physical side effects Some of the physical signs of meth use may include: 

  • Dental problems: Methamphetamine use can cause dry mouth, teeth grinding, and poor oral hygiene, which can lead to dental decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. This condition is often called meth mouth.
  • Skin problems: Meth abuse can cause skin problems, such as acne, sores, and skin infections, due to the drug’s effect of constricting blood vessels and decreasing blood flow to the skin.
  • Weight loss: Abusing methamphetamine can suppress appetite and cause rapid weight loss, which can lead to malnutrition, weakness, and other health problems.
  • Cardiovascular complications: Methamphetamine can cause a rapid and irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and damage to blood vessels, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems.
  • Respiratory problems: Meth can trigger respiratory problems, such as shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain. This can lead to lung damage and other health problems.
  • Liver and kidney damage: Methamphetamine use can cause liver and kidney damage, which can lead to chronic kidney disease, liver failure, and other health problems.
  • Neurological problems: Methamphetamine use can cause neurological problems, such as seizures, tremors, and movement disorders, which can lead to permanent brain damage and other health problems.
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an image of an emergency department representing the dangers of meth addiction

Dangers of Meth Addiction

Meth addiction can be extremely dangerous and can have serious physical, mental, and social consequences. Some of the main long-term effects and dangers of meth addiction include: 

  • Addiction: Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug, and repeated use can cause dependence, both physical and psychological. If you become addicted to meth, it can be challenging to stop using the drug without professional help.
  • Overdose: Methamphetamine overdose can cause a wide range of symptoms, including rapid heart rate, seizures, high blood pressure, and hyperthermia (elevated body temperature), which can lead to coma or death.
  • Mental health problems: Methamphetamine use can cause or exacerbate mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, paranoia, and psychosis, which can lead to severe emotional distress and impaired functioning.
  • Cardiovascular problems: Methamphetamine use can cause cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and damage to blood vessels, which can lead to serious, life-threatening medical emergencies.
  • Infectious diseases: Methamphetamine use can increase the risk of infectious diseases, such as HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne diseases, due to the use of shared needles or unsafe sexual practices.
  • Social and legal problems: Methamphetamine use can lead to social and legal problems, such as financial difficulties, loss of employment, criminal behavior, and incarceration.
  • Impaired judgment: Methamphetamine use can impair judgment and decision-making, leading to risky behaviors, accidents, and other dangerous situations.

It is vital to seek professional help if you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction. Shortcut the process by reaching out to Renaissance Recovery Center in Southern California.

Get Help for Methamphetamine Addiction

If you have developed an addiction to methamphetamine or crystal meth, connect with intensive outpatient treatment at Renaissance Recovery in Southern California. Choose the structure and support you need from one of these treatment programs: 

All treatment programs at our luxury beachside meth rehab center combine evidence-based and holistic therapies, such as: 

  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Group therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Adventure therapy
  • Aftercare 

Call 866.330.9449 for immediate assistance when you are ready to move beyond meth addiction and substance abuse at our Orange County treatment center.

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