Learn About This Harmful Stimulant Drug
Methamphetamine (meth) is a powerful stimulant that can cause a wide range of negative effects on the user. From deteriorating physical health to increased exposure to infectious disease, health risks associated with meth abuse are severe. If you or someone you know is struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, it is vital that you learn more about meth’s devastating short and long-term consequences. The sooner a meth addiction is recognized and treated, the more likely the user will be able to return to a normal life while avoiding the permanent side-effects of their addiction.
What Is Meth?
Meth is a synthetic stimulant, derived from ephedrine, which affects the central nervous system. The chemical was originally used as a possible treatment for obesity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, methamphetamine’s high potential for misuse and risk of neurotoxicity has relegated the drug to almost entirely illegal recreational use.
When ingested, methamphetamine rapidly increases the presence of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is critical to the brain’s motivation and reward centers. By flooding the brain with dopamine, meth induces a state of euphoria that encourages meth users to continue abusing the substance.
Because methamphetamine is rarely used for medicinal or research purposes, the chemical is produced almost exclusively in illegal drug labs. By isolating the ephedrine found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medications, dealers are able to produce methamphetamine in both rock and powder forms.
The immediate effects of meth use include increased wakefulness, attention, and physical activity. However, the drug also comes with a long list of negative side-effects. Regardless of whether the substance is snorted, injected or swallowed, the following short-term effects are characteristic of methamphetamine abuse:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Elevated blood pressure
- Loss of appetite
- Elevated body temperature
- Kidney failure
Meth disrupts the brain’s reward center, flooding it with dopamine and interfering with its ability to function normally. Continued abuse will build up a tolerance, requiring the user to increase their normal dosage of meth to achieve the same results. Eventually, the user’s body will not be able to function properly without the presence of methamphetamine and the individual will begin to experience intense withdrawal symptoms whenever the chemical begins to leave their body. Additionally, long-term meth addiction can lead to devastating long-term consequences including:
- Uncontrolled weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Skin sores
- Increased risk of stroke
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS
- Increased risk of contracting hepatitis
- Reduced motor speed and verbal learning
- Mental confusion
- Memory loss
- Behavioral/mood problems
- Violent behaviors
- Depression and anxiety
- Broken ties with friends, family members, and spouses
- Loss of job, career, and financial problems
- Legal trouble
How Do Centers Treat Meth Abuse?
Individuals struggling with methamphetamine addiction face major obstacles if they plan on quitting without assistance. That is because the intense withdrawal symptoms associated with meth are potentially fatal without the assistance of a medical professional. Likewise, the intense discomfort associated with meth withdrawal makes it nearly impossible for even the most strong-willed individuals to successfully quit on their own.
Inpatient treatment facilities who specialize in meth detox provide a safe, structured environment where individuals can work through their substance abuse problems. A combination of clinical and behavioral therapies are essential for supporting the body’s natural healing process as it recovers from the damage done by methamphetamine. Life skills and emotional management strategies learned during inpatient treatment are also critical for providing an individual with the tools they need for long-term recovery.
At Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, Arizona, we approach drug addiction recovery for men from multiple angles. Combining clinical treatment and holistic therapy allows us to treat the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of each client’s addiction. Our goal is to help those struggling with meth addiction to rebuild their lives, heal their bodies and restore relationships with family and friends. Our admissions representatives can be reached by phone at 866-790-7979 if you have more questions about meth addiction and treatment.