Walter White didn’t tell you?? Methamphetamine does serious damage.
But first, what exactly is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Also known as meth, chalk, ice, and crystal, among many other terms, it takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol.[via http://www.drugabuse.gov/]
Meth can be smoked, snorted, injected or used via suppository – although we try not to think about that. People who use methamphetamine for recreational purposes do so because of the intense feelings of euphoria is causes. Meth also has physical effects such as in increase in talking and a decrease in appetite.
The real effect of meth comes from the intense and almost delusional feelings of euphoria and invincibility. It is without a doubt one of the most intense highs one can feel.
The effects of meth usually last for a few hours to one day depending on how much the person took. Meth kicks in very quickly and it’s not long until the abuser will experience a series of physical and psychological symptoms withdrawing from the drug.
Physical Symptoms of Meth Withdrawal
The physical withdrawal symptoms of meth are very uncomfortable. Withdrawal effects and their severity will differ from person to person but there are physical symptoms that are very common.
The physical symptoms include:
- Anorexia or lack of interest in food
- Increased Heart Rate
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Poor Vision
- Acne Low or High Blood Pressure
- Rapid Breathing
- In worst cases, meth addiction can cause heart attack, stroke, and even death
Even with the pain associated with the physical effects of withdrawal, most meth abusers report that the real problem is the psychological effects associated.
Psychological Withdrawal from Meth
In addition to the physical addiction, meth abusers will experience a multitude of the following symptom:
- Significant Anxiety
- Mood Disturbances
- Violent Behavior
In more serious cases, abusers will experience psychotic episodes.
If you have ever seen anyone experience these symptoms you may understand first hand just how traumatic these episodes can be. The abuser may experience hallucinations which are both auditory and visual. They may suffer from intense paranoia (usually that someone is out to get them) or may even experience intense delusions; for example many people say they have insects crawling underneath their skin.
All of this may sound like something out of a sci-fi novel, but in reality these psychological withdrawal effects are not uncommon for people coming off of meth. The reason for such strong effects deals with the changes that meth brings to the brain chemistry.
Studies in chronic methamphetamine abusers have also revealed severe structural and functional changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory, which may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic methamphetamine abusers.[via http://www.drugabuse.gov]
Meth can permanently destroy dopamine receptors making the effects last a very long time, even years. There are many reports of recovered meth addicts suffering from severe depression, anxiety, loss of sex drive and unstable emotional behavior.
Studies have shown that the brain can heal itself over time.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Most methamphetamine addicts are forced to attend a detoxification facility where there are structured treatments available for either inpatient or outpatient.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often the therapy of choice for treating many drug addictions like methamphetamine. This therapy aims at treating thoughts and cognition’s, which is directed at correcting errors and modifying the core beliefs that lead to faulty thinking and actions. Detox in a safe and clinical medical center is always your best bet.
If you are experiencing a lot of pain due to meth withdrawal, don’t hesitate to call us for help. 866-207-7436.
Often times meth users are also detoxing from other drugs such as opiates, so they may need to receive medical treatment for other withdrawal symptoms. In the process of quitting meth, a person may experience severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or sleep problems that last longer than one or two weeks. They might be treated with medication like antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication (non-benzodiazepine), anti-psychotic medication, or sleep aids.
Meth can be difficult to treat because so many of the lasting problems are psychological. Medications are often prescribed to treat the symptoms, but returning the brain chemistry to normal takes time and long term abstinence.
The most effective treatments are those that are multifaceted and may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group and individual counseling, education on drugs, addiction, and relapse, and a program (for example, a 12-step program specifically for meth addicts is Crystal Meth Anonymous).
After learning about all the facts of meth withdrawal, it may seem like a nightmare. For many people it may be. That is not to say that recovery from meth addiction isn’t possible. With support, determination and guidance many meth addicts recover and stay sober for their entire lives. Many of these recovered meth addicts use their experience to help other people who may also have problems with meth and its withdrawal effects.
Quitting meth is a very serious life choice. Meth has very destructive qualities to it, and it is especially harmful to your body. Your best option is to detox, and then attend an addiction treatment center. Too often people try quitting meth without professorial help, and very rarely does it work out.