The Facts About Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a white, odorless crystalline powder that dissolves easily in water or alcohol. While it is bitter tasting, the drug can be taken orally. Drug abusers will often snort the powder, inject it by needle or smoke it using a glass pipe.
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness, energy and concentration. When taken in high doses, this illegal drug can induce euphoria, increase the sex drive and greatly enhance self-esteem. Methamphetamine triggers a release of dopamine in the brain, the chemical key to human pleasure, making this substance highly addictive. The majority of the methamphetamine abused in the United States is smuggled in from foreign or domestic superlabs. However, it can be made in small, illegal laboratories, putting both neighbors and the environment at risk.

The Affects on the Brain
Methamphetamine use leads to high levels of dopamine in the brain, resulting in an intense "rush" of pleasure after snorting, smoking or injecting the drug. Chronic use of the drug will result in significant changes in how the brain functions. Various studies have revealed alterations in the activity of the dopamine system through noninvasive imaging of the human brain. These alterations have been associated with reduced motor skills and impaired verbal learning. Additionally, new research has indicated severe structural and functional changes in the brain that are associated with both memory and human emotion. This leads researchers to believe there is a great connection for many of the emotional and cognitive problems that have been noted in chronic users of the drug.
Addiction is definitely a concern for those who repeatedly use methamphetamine. Because of the intense pleasure from the massive amount of dopamine released in the brain, meth users tend to become compulsive when it comes to finding their drug of choice. Their day may evolve around when they are going to be able to get their next "rush".
Other Adverse Health Effects?
Taking small amounts of methamphetamine can result in many of the same physical effects as those who use other stimulants, such as cocaine or speed. The following are all typical effects from using meth:
Increased Physical Activity
Increased Wakefulness / Insomnia
Decrease in Appetite
Rapid Heart Rate
Irregular Heart Beat
Increased Blood Pressure
Increased Respiration
For the long-term meth user, the list of negative consequences the drug has on their health is even more alarming.
Extreme Weight Loss
Meth Mouth - A Severe Dental Condition
High Anxiety
Violent Behavior
Insomnia for Several Days at a Time
Serious Heart Disease
For those who become chronic users, the risks and side effects are even greater. Chronic meth abusers have been known to display a number of psychotic features which include extreme paranoia, both auditory and visual hallucinations and delusions. It's not uncommon for someone on meth to believe they have bugs crawling under their skin and they will go to great lengths to remove the bugs, resulting in lesions and scarring.
Withdrawal symptoms typically consist of an increase in appetite, fatigue and depression. Other common symptoms may include anxiety, headaches, irritability, suicidal tendencies, excessive sleeping and vivid dreams. These symptoms may last anywhere from days to months, depending upon the extend of use. The severity of the symptoms will also depend upon the amount of time the person was using the drug and how much they were using.
Treatment Options for the Meth Abuser
Comprehensive cognitive-behavioral intervention has proven to be the most effective treatment for treating meth addiction at this time. The Matrix Model has been shown to be highly effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse and focuses on the following:
12-Step Support Network
Routine Drug Testing
Encouragement to Participate in Non-Drug Related Activities
Family Education
Individual Counseling
Behavioral Therapy
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine. contact a professional counselor or medical adviser as soon as possible.
Sabrina Coffin is proud to be part of a wonderful team of people who seek to help those who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. Free by the Sea is located on a beautiful 5 acre campus, providing a serene healing environment that inspires patients to discover new possibilities for a life of recovery. The first 30 days of treatment includes individual treatment plans based on the needs of the client and addresses disease and recovery education, relapse prevention, anger management, emotion regulation, art therapy, meditation, 12 step meetings, life skills, transition and integration.
An extended care program is offered to patients who have stayed a minimum of 30 days. This allows for a continued focus on his/her relapse prevention needs and deeper issues to improve their quality of life, providing an even greater opportunity for success after completing our program.

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