Methamphetamines: Meth Addiction Facts & Treatment Information

Methamphetamines are an extremely addictive, synthetic, stimulant drug, which can have devastating effects on the user. Because of the highly addictive properties, using meth even one time can lead to a serious addiction.

If you suspect that someone you love has a meth addiction problem, it is important to contact a drug rehab center as soon as possible for help. With treatment centers in Kansas City, Columbia, and St. Louis, The Crossroads Program can offer solutions and help you learn more about our meth addiction treatment options available for teens and young adults.

Information & Facts About Meth

Meth is usually found in the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting, crystalline powder. Meth is chemically similar to amphetamines, however, unlike prescription amphetamines like Adderall or Ritalin, methamphetamines have no medical use. Street names for this drug include crystal, chalk, beanies, brown, crank, batu, blade, cristy, ice, hot ice, quartz, shabu, stove top, tina, and ventana.

Meth is derived primarily from a legal drug called pseudoephedrine. This drug is most commonly found in decongestants and cold medicines. Other chemicals are added to these over-the-counter medicines to extract the amphetamines. Some of these chemicals include lighter fluid, battery acid, lye, ammonia, drain cleaner, paint thinner, rubbing alcohol, red phosphorous, iodine, brake and engine cleaner, and ether. This cocktail of substances, which may be unknown to the user, compounds the danger of meth use, and makes meth addiction treatment all the more important.

Meth is typically used by smoking, snorting, injecting, or oral ingestion. Smoking or injecting meth results an intense and immediate rush that is experienced as pleasurable. Snorting and oral ingestion produces a similar euphoria, but the high is not as intense. Snorting produces effects within 3 to 5 minutes and oral ingestions produces effects within 15 – 20 minutes.

Methamphetamines are most often used in a “binge and crash” pattern. When the chemicals enter the brain, meth increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine released. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Meth’s ability to release dopamine quickly produces the euphoric rush that users experience. These extreme effects of meth are part of what makes meth so addictive and why meth addiction treatment is so important to recovery.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use and Meth Addiction

  • Not Sleeping for Extended Periods
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Increased Sweating
  • Dilated Pupils
  • Weight Loss
  • Quick Breathing
  • Overactive
  • Nervous Or Anxious
  • Overly Talkative
  • Auditory Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Long term users who do not seek meth addiction treatment may experience symptoms similar to Parkinson’s after repeated use. Additionally, because the body requires calcium to detoxify amphetamines, users often develop problems with their teeth, fingernails, and gums. Psychological dependency is very common, and tolerance develops quickly, which results in the necessity to use higher and higher quantities of the drug to experience a high. Early treatment for meth addiction helps prevent these complications.

Dangers of Meth Addiction

There are many dangerous associated with meth addiction and use. Even a single use of meth can lead to a terrible addiction, and the quick build-up of a tolerance to the drug can easily lead to overdose. Additionally, there are many complications that can result from long-term methamphetamine use.

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Addiction

  • Memory Loss
  • Psychotic Behavior
  • Respiratory Problems
  • Anorexia
  • Brain Damage
  • Stroke
  • Heart Damage
  • Death

Because meth is so overwhelmingly addictive, long-term use also leads to a number of withdrawal complications. While these symptoms are not life threatening, the risk for severe depression and possible suicidal thoughts make professional treatment for meth addiction important. Common meth withdrawal signs and symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Excessive Need for Sleep
  • Increased Appetite
  • Strong Cravings for the Drug

Contact Us About Treatment for Meth Addiction

The strength and dangers of a meth addiction cannot be understated. If you believe that your child has shown the signs of meth use, it is important to learn about treatment for meth addiction as soon as possible. In Missouri, contact one of our drug rehab centers to learn more about recovery and treatment options available.