Meth Addiction

Methamphetamine Powder Meth addiction is a fairly new epidemic that is just now showing the devastating effects it has on society. Until a few years ago, methamphetamine abuse was considered a regional problem. It was primarily found in the west coast or southwest region of the United States. In the mid 1990's meth began to spread to the Midwestern communities and today is found anywhere in the country. Compared to other drugs like cocaine and heroin, methamphetamine is relatively inexpensive. Prices vary from region to region, with the cost on the East Coast being substantially more than on the West Coast. Anyone whose life has been affected by drug addiction and meth knows the terrible and ravishing effect it has on people.

Methamphetamine Use Info

Street Names
  • Speed
  • Chalk
  • Crank
  • Go-Fast
  • Trash
  • Ice
  • Glass
  • Crystal
  • Tweak
  • Uppers
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug which is highly addictive and destructive. Commonly referred to as just 'meth', Methamphetamine is developed in pharmacy labs outside of the United States. It comes in a powdered form that is dissolved in liquid, snorted or smoked. When taken, meth blocks open the pleasure receptor in the brain releasing an influx of dopamine. This creates an intense feeling of euphoria or a "rush" to the individual. It also intensifies further cravings and need for the drug.

Crystal Meth

Closeup Image of Crystal Meth Crystalized methamphetamine is also highly addictive. It is commonly developed in clandestine labs and has become a considerable problem in regions around the United States. The crystalized form of meth looks very similar to a crystal or to glass. It is most commonly smoked in a pipe and absorbed through the soft lining of the lungs. Increased cravings can lead to further abuse and developing addiction to the drug. This can require addiction treatment from a drug rehab center to address.

Use and Abuse

Continued or chronic meth abuse in its many forms can significantly affect and damage the chemical structure of the brain. It can reduce the ability to perform basic motor skills. And can also affect the ability of developing memories and emotion. Chronic meth abusers can require intensive help to address the cognitive problems created through extended abuse. It is also very addictive and behaviors can radically change in individuals trying to seek out and obtain their next high. The effects on the brain and the individual have shown to reduce or lessen with abstinence over time, but for many it does require professional addiction help or drug treatment.

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Irritability
  • Severe Depression
  • Shaking
  • Hyperventilation
  • Fluctuations in Appetite
  • The Sweats
  • Heart Palpitations
Addicts who try to stop using meth are often under the impression that there are little to no withdrawal symptoms. This is an inaccurate statement and addicts exhibit serious and potentially deadly withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the stimulant withdrawal symptoms of methamphetamines include extreme depression, increased appetite, excessive drowsiness, shaking, sweating, and hyperventilation. The length of symptoms varies with the amount of damage done to the addict's body. One particularly disturbing effect of withdrawal from methamphetamine is the feeling of bleakness or feeling dirty. Often addicts report that they cannot stand their bodies or the way they feel. Depression is so severe during withdrawal that the risk of suicide among addicts is higher and much more frequent than those withdrawing from heroin, cocaine, or alcohol.

Long-Term Effects of Addiction to Meth

Long-Term Effects
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Memory Loss
  • Aggressive Behavior
  • Violent Outbursts
  • Weight Loss
  • Severe Dental Issues
  • Significant Alterations to Brain's Chemistry
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Feelings of Fatigue
The long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse are still being researched. Addicts are at much higher risk for stroke and heart attack. On the street it is often mistakenly believed that one cannot overdose on methamphetamine. This is of course untrue because overdose is possible with any substance, although the overdoses due to methamphetamine use generally present themselves as strokes or heart attacks. Paranoia, hallucinations, and repetitive motor activities are some of the physical effects of addiction. Often the two worst or most noticeable physical effects are the horrible dental decay as well as the scabs that can develop due to formication.

It is evident that along with the physical effects of meth abuse there are substantial changes in the brain and brain chemistry after its use. Methamphetamine affects the central nervous system along with the brain. This of course can cause paranoid or delusional thinking, cerebral edema, brain hemorrhage, and psychological damage. These effects to the brain can be long lasting and even permanent. Often the brains of former methamphetamine users showed similar patterns to that seen in the brains of patients with Parkinson's disease. Scientists now hypothesize that the damage to the brain or dopamine system due to long-term methamphetamine drug abuse may lead to symptoms very similar to Parkinson's disease.

Unfortunately addicts often resort to criminal and dangerous behavior as a means of getting their drug. A study showed that most people in jail or prison on fraud charges were under the influence of meth or committed the fraud in order to obtain methamphetamines. Although it has been mentioned that it is cheaper than cocaine, prolonged use leads to dependence and tolerance development which causes the addict to use more in order to obtain the same "euphoric" high.

Meth Production and Clean up Problems

Another problem today is that meth is relatively easy to make with generally inexpensive ingredients including over the counter medications. Regulations are now being put into place which will hopefully make it harder to produce. The ingredients of meth can be mixed and produced anywhere and are often made in the home of an addict or dealer. These homes or other production places are known as meth labs and are highly dangerous. The chemical mixtures not only create horrible explosions but take a long process to clean up in order for the area to be safe again. A specially trained task force must come in and remove all furnishings, draperies, carpeting, wallpaper etc. These cannot be cleaned and must be disposed of by a licensed contractor. Ventilation must take place for days as well as a neutralization period. After the mess is cleaned all surfaces must be encapsulated or sealed preventing harm to anyone in the area in the future.

Meth Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one is suffering from meth abuse, it is advised to seek outside assistance in quitting. There are many dangers to those who develop a meth addiction and much is yet to be learned about its horrors. Drug rehabilitation provides the right levels of professional help and interventions to address meth addiction. At Cirque Lodge, we base this effort upon a private and effective treatment approach. We are nationally recognized as one of the leading drug treatment programs for anyone struggling with the problems of methamphetamine addiction.

More Research and Information on Drugs of Abuse:
Crack Addiction
Cocaine: High Fashion, Low Weight
Heroin Addiction
Help for Heroin Addiction
Marijuana Addiction