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At Southwest Florida Women’s Rehab, we understand how hard it can be to break an addiction to methamphetamine, and we want to help! Please take a moment to look over this article, and contact us for more information about our program.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive and illegal psychostimulant drug that is similar to amphetamine. It increases the levels of naturally occurring dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Street names for this drug include chalk, crank, ice, crystal, meth, and speed.
Discovered in the late 19th century, amphetamine was first used as a nasal decongestant and a respiratory stimulator. During World War 2, methamphetamine — similar in structure to amphetamine — was used to keep military personnel alert and to improve endurance and mood.
In time, it became clear that methamphetamine was dangerously addictive. In the 1970s, the drug was added to the Schedule II list of controlled substances. Methamphetamine is illegal except when it is prescribed by a physician for a very limited number of medical conditions.
Methamphetamine is easy to produce and it is a potent drug, so it remains a serious drug of abuse. Long-term use is associated with devastating effects on the user and society.
Long-term methamphetamine use can lead to feelings of aggressiveness and anxiety, confusion, and insomnia.
The following symptoms of methamphetamine psychosis are also possible: paranoia, aggression, visual and auditory hallucinations, mood disturbances, delusions–such as the sensation of insects creeping on or under the skin. Paranoia can result in thoughts of homicide or suicide.
Researchers have reported that up to 50 percent of the dopamine-producing cells in the brain can be damaged after prolonged exposure to relatively low levels of methamphetamine.
Psychotic symptoms can last for months or years after discontinuing methamphetamine use. They can spontaneously recur.
Methamphetamine use increases the risk of heart problems, such as chest pain, abnormal heart rhythm, and high blood pressure. This can lead to a heart attack, acute aortic dissection, or sudden cardiac death, even after using the drug for the first time.
These risks are higher when using the drug with alcohol, cocaine, or opioids.
There is a higher risk of stroke, possibly due to elevated blood pressure or a faster rate of atherosclerosis.
How to Recognize and Treat Meth Addiction
Methamphetamine is an addictive drug that has energizing (stimulant) effects. It can be found in pill form or as a white colored powder. As a powder, it can be snorted or dissolved in water and injected.
Crystal methamphetamine is generally pale blue in color. It looks like fragments of glass or rocks. It’s smoked using a pipe.
Meth produces an intense high that comes on and fades quickly. Coming down can cause difficult emotional and physical symptoms, such as depression and insomnia. As a result, meth addiction often follows a pattern of bingeing on the drug for several days at a time, followed by a crash.
Detoxification (detox) is a process aimed at helping you stop taking methamphetamine as safely and as quickly as possible. Detox can also help ease withdrawal symptoms.
Before you begin detox you’ll undergo an initial assessment and screening tests for other medical conditions. A doctor will use this information to help minimize your risk for drug interactions or other complications during detox.
What to Expect from Treatment
Treatment begins once detox ends. The goal of treatment is to help you lead a healthy life without using meth. Treatment may also address other underlying conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or anxiety.
There are several treatment options available for meth addiction. Sometimes, more than one is used at the same time. Your treatment plan may include one or more of the following:
Behavioral therapy is considered the most effective treatment available for meth addiction. There are two main types: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) interventions.
CBT addresses the learning processes underlying drug addiction and other harmful behaviors. It involves working with a therapist to develop a set of healthy coping strategies. Studies have found that CBT is effective at reducing meth use, even after only a few sessions.
Southwest Florida Women’s Rehab Wants to Help You Now
Please consider the experienced treatment and support that we provide at Southwest Florida Women’s Rehab. If you or a loved one struggles with an addiction to methamphetamine, give us a call at (239) 939-7705 to learn more about our effective program, and how to begin the admissions process today. We look forward to hearing from you!