What is methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, or meth, is a white powdery substance that produces a quick high and fast crash to follow. It’s categorized as a stimulant since it releases both dopamine and serotonin, which are neurotransmitters that produce pleasurable effects on the body. These are the chemicals that are supposed to naturally make you feel good. With exercise, dopamine is released which makes us feel motivated and happy after a workout. These chemicals are addictive because of their sunny effects, which is why some people become addicted to working out as well.
Methamphetamine is a versatile drug that comes in pill or tablet and rock form. It can be smoked, injected and popped or however users choose to take it. Since this drug is absorbed relatively quickly into the bloodstream and our tissues, the most common form of use is through injection. Injections also provide the longest high, lasting as long as four hours. Since the production of serotonin and dopamine is high during the time the high lasts, once it’s over there is an intense amount of fatigue.
Addiction and Meth
Any drug that alters our perception of the world allowing us to feel nothing but the highs in our brains is easy to get addicted to since those that take them want to feel this all day, every day. The problem with meth is that the nature of our brains isn’t equipped to create such high levels of dopamine and serotonin; the hard part for those addicted is that they can never get enough and without it, their brain cannot produce these levels.
Often the issue with methamphetamine addiction is that those affected forget other things in life can bring them joy without the use of drugs to take them to that place. When we use drugs like this, we are just conditioning the brain to need them, and we’re not made to be detached from the rest of the world to experience numbing substances.
Side effects of methamphetamine addiction:
- Hypersomnia and insomnia
- Heart rhythm irregularities and hypertension
- Change in appetite producing severe weight loss
- Erratic behaviors
- Paranoia and depression
- Skin lesions
- Dental decay
- Increased risk of hepatitis and blood borne illnesses such as HIV
Mood and Mental Health Contribution to Addiction
When we treat methamphetamine addiction, we treat the whole person with our holistic approach to recovery. We try to understand what they’ve been through concerning their lifestyle and any events in their past that lead them to drug abuse. We offer a dual diagnosis to treat these patients as they finish detox, to find out if any concurring mental illnesses are causing this need for methamphetamine. Patients dealing with clinical depression often become addicted to the effects of methamphetamine because of the complete opposite effects it has on their moods. The issue with this thought process is that once the high is gone, which is fairly quickly, they’re worse off than they were before.
Detox and Dual Diagnosis
Patients that take these drugs that affect the central nervous system don’t realize the damage they can do to brain function and can cause severe chemical imbalances that produce premature mental health conditions. This is another addiction that can deteriorate the brain to the point where synapses and natural stimulant production is thrown off schedule from the standard processes; this is a chicken or the egg drug since we’re not always sure which has occurred first.
During our treatment sessions for methamphetamine recovery, we work with patients to cover any pre-existing conditions and side effects of long-term drug use. Getting through to each patient by breaking their barriers against treatment can take time, but once we change the mindset of each patient to seek full recovery it’s time to implement integrative therapies.
Detox from methamphetamine requires medical supervision since many patients that are addicted to it use high amounts of this drug, and these withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous, which include:
- Heart attack
- Cold sweats and fever
- Breathing issues
- Sleep conditions
- Uncontrolled shaking
The effects of methamphetamine withdrawal are serious, and it’s highly advised that detox is done within a medical setting such as Cypress Lakes Lodge. To learn more about our addiction treatment programs, please call us at (409) 331-2204.