Methamphetamine (meth) is a drug that has led to widespread addiction problems in many places. The drug is a powder that is also sometimes made into pills or a clear rock (crystal meth). It is made in laboratories, both in large quantities and in smaller amounts, which is done using over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, a common cold medicine ingredient. Methamphetamine is a Schedule II drug, which means that it is only legally available through a single prescription, due to its highly addictive qualities. It’s a stimulant that can have a range of effects, including mood, energy levels, and focus.
Meth may be swallowed, snorted, injected, or smoked. Smoking and injection result in a faster effect but it also doesn’t last long, which can lead to people taking more of it.
How Methamphetamine Affects Your Brain
Drugs affect the way that your brain works and can have not just short-term but also long-term and permanent effects on your brain. The neurons in your brain are affected by drugs, influenced by chemicals called neurotransmitters. One example of a neurotransmitter is dopamine, which is a chemical released when we participate in enjoyable or pleasurable behaviors. Repeatedly using drugs such as meth affects how the dopamine system in the brain works. It can cause the person to find it difficult to find pleasure in everyday activities, leading them to continue taking drugs so that they can get a dopamine hit.
Taking methamphetamine may cause a high, but there is also an after-effect on the brain. After “crashing”, the person can then feel down for days or even longer. They will also feel a craving to take the drug again so that they can try to lift their mood again.
Methamphetamine Effects on the Body
As well as affecting the brain, meth has an effect on the body. There are both short-term effects from taking the drug and long-term effects that can result from taking it repeatedly and addiction. In the short term, some of the effects can include having a lot of energy, a fast heart rate, high blood pressure, high temperature, and feeling a sense of euphoria.
Long-term, taking meth can have a variety of effects on the body, even after the person is no longer taking it. These can include mental and emotional problems, including addiction, mood swings, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, and problems with memory, controlling emotions, and thinking. Other symptoms can include problems sleeping, dental problems, violent behavior, skin sores, and more.
It is also possible for methamphetamine use to lead to death. One of the things that meth can do is raise your body temperature. If your temperature is high enough that you pass out and don’t receive treatment right away, it can cause death. Methamphetamine use can also lead to cardiac events such as heart attacks and strokes due to increased heart rate and blood pressure, and constricted blood vessels. Another problem is that meth can be mixed with other ingredients, which makes it cheaper to make. Fentanyl, an opioid, is sometimes added to meth, and this causes many deaths associated with the drug.
Methamphetamine and Addiction
Methamphetamine is a very addictive drug. It will cause withdrawal symptoms such as trouble sleeping, tiredness, anger, anxiety, depression, and strong cravings. One of the issues with the drug is that it leads to tolerance, when the person taking it needs to keep taking more and more in order to get the same high as when they first started taking it. People will then often start to smoke or inject the drug for quicker and stronger high. Intravenous drug use also comes with its own risks, such as a higher risk of contracting HIV and other illnesses like hepatitis.
Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction
Methamphetamine addiction can have negative consequences for your health and life. However, treatment is available to help with overcoming addiction and getting clean. There are several treatment types available, including inpatient treatment and partial hospitalization, outpatient treatment, and intensive outpatient treatment. It’s important to explore the different types of addiction treatment that are available and decide which option might be right for your needs, your preferences, and your budget.
If you need help with treatment for methamphetamine addiction or abuse, Evolve Indy can assist. Our team of addiction experts is here to talk about your requirements and help you to find the right treatment program. We can discuss payment plans for our treatment options too, making it affordable for many more people. Get in touch to find out more.