Methamphetamine: Everything You Need To Know
Posted on 09/04/19: Addiction Treatment
It seems that every year substance abuse issues in this country, and around the world, grow worse. You turn on the nightly news only to hear of a new scary drug craze that’s going on in your neighborhood, it almost seems like there’s no escaping it. The unfortunate reality is that addiction is a hard thing to beat and there’s probably no way the world can be completely rid of it. However, what we can do is help educate people that are or are not struggling with substance abuse so that we can eliminate the stigma. Educating people on the matter of addiction is just as important as working towards putting an end to it. Today, we’ll be helping educate you and others on an important substance abuse trend that is happening in our country and around the world: Methamphetamine.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, or meth for short, is one of the strongest and most addictive drugs out there on the market. It can go by many names on the street: chalk, speed, crystal, meth, ice, crank, etc. This drug is strong, cheap, and relatively easy to make. Some people even go as far as to try and make their own batch of meth with readily available ingredients. However, this hardly ever goes to plan because it is highly dangerous. This drug is a powerful stimulant that has a strong effect on the users’ nervous system. It can stimulate the brain to release increased amounts of dopamine in the brain, creating a euphoric sensation for the user. Some have described the euphoric experience with meth as similar experiences they’ve had on cocaine. Both drugs act as stimulants and increase the amount of dopamine that is released in the user’s brain. Meth is actually very similar to an ADHD medication, Amphetamine, which can also be highly addictive. This drug comes in two forms; meth usually comes as a white, powdery substance or in a crystallized form. This drug can be melted down and injected into the bloodstream or smoked through a pipe to experience the full effects of the substance.
How Does Methamphetamine Work?
Now that you know the basics of what meth is, it’s time to understand how it works. As we mentioned earlier, when a person uses this substance, they will experience a euphoric sensation unlike any other. Intense amounts of dopamine are released in the brain, affecting the user’s movement, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. When the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors starts to happen, that is exactly where addiction begins. Once the body realizes the “rewards” it gets from meth, it’ll make a user believe they absolutely ‘need’ the substance. This reinforcement of rewarding behavior can happen with just about anything (sex, food, alcohol, or any other habit not done in moderation). When the brain sees behavior like substance abuse as rewarding, the user will continually repeat the action. This is why meth is such a highly addictive substance. Now, we know how meth works in the brain, but else does it do to your body?
With some substances such as alcohol or cigarettes, there can be little to no short-term effects on the user, but a large number of long-term effects. However, when it comes to meth use, even abusing the substance once can lead to some short-term side-effects. Continual use will result in an onslaught of long-term effects. When it comes to short-term use, meth users can expect to see such side-effects as:
- Mentally & Physically Restless
- Lack of Sleep
- Faster Heart-rate
- Shorter Breathing
- High Body Temperature
- Lack of Appetite
When users start to experience these short-term effects, they may be more inclined to use the substance again to rid themselves of these uncomfortable symptoms. These symptoms are just minor forms of withdrawal. Since meth is such an addictive substance, even a one time use can make a user start to crave it. When the user starts to crave meth more and more frequently, they can expect to see such long-term side-effects as:
- Meth Mouth (poor dental hygiene, frequently seen in meth users.)
- Habitual itching
- Open sores on the skin
- Severe anxiety/paranoia
- Aggressive/Violent behaviors
- Active hallucinations, even when the user is not on the substance
- Severe weight loss
- Active addiction
- Loss of memory
- Criminal behavior
- Lack of empathy towards others
- Decreased levels of dopamine that is released
- Depression/Suicidal thoughts
- Death (overdose)
- Heart-attack, stroke, or vital organ problems
Active meth users can expect to see both the short-term and long-term effects we’ve listed here. Considering all this information, it’s no wonder that nearly 12.3 million Americans admit to actively using or at least using meth once in their lifetime. The fears of increased methamphetamine use grow with every passing year and it shows no signs of slowing down. Though the amount of active meth users has fluctuated over the years, the numbers do not dip by that much. So what can be done about this problem? The best thing to do it educate yourself and others on meth use, or any other substance use for that matter.
People in this country, and around the world, have a strong lack of education when it comes to addiction. People tend to say stuff like “Why don’t they just stop using?” If only it were that easy. Addiction is not a choice, it’s a disease in a user’s brain that creates an unsatisfiable and undeniable craving. Once we understand this, it becomes much easier to help people struggling with addiction. When we have the mindset of addiction being a choice, we lack empathy for the people who are actively struggling. We need to understand it is not a choice and these people are silently suffering.
If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, contact Sober Living of AZ now to get the help you need. Sober Living offers an acclaimed recovery environment that merges upscale and luxury accommodations with affordability, clinical expertise and an unwavering commitment to patient care and aftercare. Call us now at 602-737-2458.
Content for Scottsdale Recovery Center and Arizona Addiction Recovery Centers created by Cohn Media, LLC. Passionate and creative writing and broadcasting, covering the following industries: addiction rehab, health care, entertainment, technology and advocate of clear communication, positivity and humanity at its best. www.cohn.media