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Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction

What is Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction?

Methamphetamine is an odorless, sour in taste, white colored crystalline drug that conveniently gets mixed in water or alcohol or any liquid. In contrast to other similar substances, a huge amount of methamphetamine goes directly to the brain, which makes it more potent than many other stimulants. Methamphetamine has prolonged and serious impacts on the central nervous system of a human. The drug has various general or street names, such as meth, speed, and crystal. Meth has highly addictive properties and is usually consumed in different ways, including smoking, inhaling, or ingesting a tablet.

What are the warning signs?

In the past, meth was considered more of a rural drug because of the natural presence of all the ingredients required in the cooking of meth. However, recent studies indicate that meth is now being used more in cities than in rural areas. Crystal Meth is one of the most abused hard drugs around the world, and in the United States alone, the figure has reached 1.5 million people who are abuse meth, and that number is on the rise. Several warning signs are visible amongst meth addicts and indicate that the user may be abusing meth.  Some of the most common indicators are:

  • Skin Acne: Methamphetamine addicts commonly get acne rashes and pick at their skin. The marks caused by picking at the skin look similar to a severe case of acn.
  • Crawling of the skin: Meth addicts frequently complain of crawling skin, which is a disease known as formication.
  • Baldness: An individual who over uses meth (not many people use meth lightly) will have a low level of nutrition in the body which could be a reason for hair loss.
  • Tooth decay: This is another common sign, usually termed as meth-mouth in which the addicted person suffers from loss or damage of teeth.

What are the symptoms?

The signs and symptoms of meth abuse vary from one patient to the next, and it is mainly due to the difference in health, genetics and innate body system. Other reasons that may cause altering symptoms from one person to another could be dosage amount, as well as  time duration of the addiction and environmental conditions. However, common symptoms of methamphetamine abuse are:

  • Euphoria and mysterious sense of hurry in everything
  • Imbalanced rate of heartbeat and damaged respiration system
  • High alertness and little fatigue
  • Growth in number of activities
  • Disillusioned and frequent talking
  • Loss of appetite

What are the effects?

Methamphetamine is a highly dangerous drug which can utterly change the shape of a human life and make it look miserable. It has long, and short term effects, most frequent and prominent are as follows:

  • Disturbance, mood swings and reduction of weight
  • Short term memory and violent conduct
  • Inability of the body to repair damaged tissues
  • Stroke and heart disorders
  • Lack of ability to feel pleasure
  • Seizures and infectious diseases
  • Impotence and incarceration
  • Hallucinations and paranoia
  • Dental disorders
  • Alteration of brain activity and performance
  • Coma or death in rare cases

Withdrawal and Treatment

When an addicted person decides to stop abusing meth, he could suffer from a few intense withdrawal symptoms, such as night sweats, dizziness, anhedonia (inability to experience pleasure), irritation, restlessness, suicidal thoughts, etc. In this kind of situation, it is the duty of loved ones to appreciate the withdrawal decision of the patient and encourage him to handle the symptoms with patience.

For those addicted to methamphetamine, it is best to seek a long term treatment plan including, but not limited to, detox, inpatient treatment, extended care (intensive outpatient programming), and after-care.  Family sessions should be implemented as well to begin to repair the familial damage created by meth abuse.