The Methamphetamine Menace
Why is Meth Such a Menace?
Methamphetamine, or meth for short, is one of the world’s most dangerous addictive substances.
But why does it have such a catastrophic impact on your health and well-being? And if you are addicted, can you possibly recover from the drug’s effects?
Methamphetamine is a powerful addictive type of stimulant.
Some people receive methamphetamine legally from their doctors.
However, most people in the U.S. use illegal versions of the drug. It comes in various forms, such as powder, crystals, and pills.
Slang terms for illegal methamphetamine include speed, ice, glass, and crystal.
Meth Damages Your Mind
Meth damages your mind and body in different ways.
Clear dangers for meth users include addiction, overdose, and lasting changes in your normal brain function.
Still, when given the right meth addiction treatment, you can put an end to your substance use.
This is true even if you feel you have no real chance of overcoming your addiction.
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How Many People in the U.S. Use Meth?
What does the scope of methamphetamine use look like in America? The most recent figures show that almost two million people take the drug at least once a year.
Most of these people are adults in their mid-20s or older. However, there are still many users of the drug who are between 18 and 25.
How Many People Are Addicted?
If you are addicted to meth, you have a condition called stimulant use disorder. Your doctor may also refer to this illness as methamphetamine use disorder.
It is important to be aware that drug addiction is not the only possible issue. You can get diagnosed with serious abuse symptoms, even if you are not addicted.
Why is Meth Addictive?
Methamphetamine abuse causes serious harm to your mind and body.
One of the biggest risks is addiction. As with most other addictive substances, problems start when the drug alters your normal brain chemistry.
The key change happens in a brain area called the pleasure center. Pleasurable feelings are generated by a chemical called dopamine. When a lot of dopamine is produced, you feel a lot of pleasure.
Addictive substances are dangerous because they increase your dopamine levels. This extreme increase creates a powerful form of pleasure called euphoria.
Many people who feel the euphoric effects of drugs or alcohol get locked into a repeating cycle of substance use.
This pattern of use basically overloads the brain, and eventually, it can trigger long-term effects and changes.
Two of these changes are psychological and physical dependence. Anyone affected by both psychological and physical dependence is considered addicted to the substance.
Methamphetamine is so addictive for a couple of reasons. First, it causes your brain to produce more dopamine than other stimulants, such as cocaine.
Second, the drug is also short-acting. To feel its effects for long periods of time, you must use it again and again.
However, you are basically speeding up the onset of addiction if you continue to abuse meth and increase its use.
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Other Problems Caused by Meth
Unfortunately, addiction is far from the only concern if you use methamphetamine.
Other common mental effects for long-term users include:
- Mood swings
- High levels of anxiety
- An inability to think clearly
- Aggressive and violent urges
You may also develop a full-blown case of psychosis. This is a serious mental condition that can include:
- Bouts of paranoia
- Delusional thinking
Even when you stop using the drug, your psychosis can linger.
Some people continue to feel its effects for anywhere from months to years.
Even if you think you have recovered, high-stress situations can trigger a reappearance of your psychosis symptoms.
These risks include such things as:
- Potentially fatal symptoms of high blood pressure
- Damage to your lung, liver, or kidney function
- Meth mouth, tooth loss, and other damaging dental issues
- Lifelong damage to your heart and brain functionality
If you take too much methamphetamine, you can overdose.
This happens when the drug begins to shut down key organs or change how they work. Potential effects of a meth overdose include heart attacks and strokes.
It is possible to die from these conditions unless you get medical treatment, such as residential rehab, as soon as possible. Methamphetamine users account for more than one out of every 10 fatal overdoses in the U.S.
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Meth Use and Mental Illness
In addition to the mental effects of meth itself, users of this substance must also worry about the risk of a diagnosable mental illness.
This is true for all individuals struggling with substance abuse.
Evidence shows a 50% overlap between drug or alcohol problems and mental illness. This does not mean your drug use will directly cause such an illness.
However, it does mean that your overall level of exposure goes up. What kinds of problems can you develop? Some common problems that may develop include:
- Schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses
- Several kinds of anxiety disorders
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
Addiction and mental health experts have names for the mixed effects of mental illness and substance use problems. One standard term is dual diagnosis.
You may also hear this condition referred to as a co-occurring disorder.
Getting Treatment for Your Problems
All of this information may make you feel scared and discouraged.
It is true that some of the effects of long-term methamphetamine addiction may last a lifetime. Despite this fact, you can still successfully fight addiction.
Recovery from methamphetamine addiction relies on both detox and active drug treatment. Detox gives you the time and medical care needed to stop using the drug and complete withdrawal.
The medical care you receive is designed to support your system while this process takes place. Common types of support in a professional setting include:
- Keeping track of your vital signs
- Making sure you stay properly hydrated
- Providing you with healthy food
- Giving you vitamins and minerals to supplement your diet
Active treatment in meth rehab is therapy-based, not medication-based.
Effective therapy will support every aspect of your recovery.
If you are unsure about being in treatment, it will help you overcome your doubts.
During treatment, it will help you avoid relapse and follow your program toward recovery and long-term sobriety.
The right therapy will help you face your addiction, examine behaviors that make you more likely to use meth, and develop habits that make you resistant to future drug use.
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Seek Help for Meth Problems Today
Serious methamphetamine problems are a cause for alarm.
Not only is the drug well-known for triggering addiction, but it can also damage your physical and mental health in long-lasting or even permanent ways.
If you are struggling with meth use, one thing is clear: You need help as soon as possible.
If you have suffered severe harm from using the drug, modern treatment will help you break free of its grip.
Depending on your situation, that might not sound very realistic. However, the evidence is undeniable. Effective treatment helps you return to a meth-free lifestyle.
For immediate assistance with methamphetamine addiction, contact Emerald Isle Health and Recovery. We help people struggling with this condition get started on their recovery journeys each and every day.
You may have challenging times ahead, but our expertise provides hope in even the most serious circumstances.
Call today to receive the help you need to overcome your addiction.
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