Methamphetamine, or meth, is a very powerful and highly addictive stimulant. Its addictive properties lead to many cases of substance abuse and this drug can have harmful effects, especially for chronic methamphetamine users.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), thousands of people overdose on methamphetamine a year. Learning about methamphetamine addiction, the effects of methamphetamine, and meth addiction treatment can help individuals identify substance use disorders and reach out for help.
If you or a loved one struggles with drug abuse Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery’s meth addiction rehab can help you begin your journey to an alcohol and drug-free life. We provide a variety of treatments and individualized care at our gorgeous ranch in Nampa, Idaho.
What Is Meth?
Meth is a highly potent and highly addictive stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system. While in some rare cases, it has been medically prescribed to treat severe obesity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), it primarily has no legitimate medical use and is used strictly as a recreational or street drug. Two main types of meth are used recreationally, meth and crystal meth.
Meth is typically found in an odorless crystalline powder form. This may be referred to as speed in this form. It is typically ingested via smoking, injecting, or snorting.
Crystal meth is clear or blue and comes in a crystalized form, thus the name crystal meth. Crystal meth is traditionally ingested by smoking it.
Meth addiction is characterized by a compulsive urge to use methamphetamine. Since meth is a Central Nervous System (CNS) stimulant it produces intense feelings of euphoria. Once the brain experiences this dopamine rush it wants more and more of it, leading to dependence and drug abuse.
Attempting to self-detox is not recommended, as an attempt to do so can exacerbate withdrawal symptoms, or worse, cause a person to overdose. Leaving drug addiction untreated, has resulted in major health consequences, coma, and even death. That’s why receiving help from a professional meth addiction rehab is highly recommended.
We educate the individuals we treat about what meth is and what it can do to their brains and body. Also, our medical professionals will review the symptoms and side effects of meth abuse and addiction and discuss the best treatment options for your needs.
At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery in Nampa, Idaho, the addiction specialists at our meth addiction rehab, will help you or a loved one learn to manage your symptoms and recover from drug abuse.
Methamphetamine use has many negative consequences. When someone ingests meth by smoking it or injecting it, they immediately feel a “rush” of dopamine to the brain. When someone snorts meth, they still get that euphoric sensation from the additional dopamine but not the “rush”. While the initial rush lasts up to 30 minutes, the ensuing high that the person experiences can last for hours and can even last as long as a day.
This occurs because when someone takes meth it prevents the brain and the body from regulating their dopamine levels. When someone takes meth it keeps the body and the brain from recycling dopamine. This causes excessive dopamine levels to continue to build up with nowhere to go. Once this happens, the brain thinks that it needs that amount of dopamine at all times to experience pleasure or euphoria.
Short or long-term methamphetamine abuse can lead to adverse health effects such as:
- Irregular heartbeat
Meth addiction can also create health problems such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, dental problems, and kidney failure. Methamphetamine abusers may also develop mental disorders as a result of continued drug use.
Meth causes an increased release of dopamine to the brain. It also prevents the dopamine from being recycled, leading to elevated dopamine levels. Once the brain starts to experience these increased dopamine levels it realizes that it needs more and more dopamine to experience things such as pleasure or euphoria.
The brain might also acknowledge that it enjoys some of the other effects associated with meth use such as alertness and feeling more energetic. This leads to the brain-rewarding behaviors of meth abuse.
Once that happens, the brain will alert the body that it wants more and more meth to continue to reach its desired effects. At that point, the brain has become dependent on meth which can ultimately lead to addiction.
There are a few factors that can largely influence the development of a meth addiction including family history and environmental triggers. Genetics plays a role in many substance use disorders. If meth addiction is present in your family history, then it’s more likely that you may develop a methamphetamine abuse problem.
The environment an individual grows up and lives in can also lead to methamphetamine addiction. Access to substances, lack of supervision, stressful environments, or abusive environments can all influence a person negatively.
Identifying the signs and symptoms of meth addiction can be key to getting either yourself or someone you know the treatment that they need before it is too late. Someone suffering from meth addiction can experience a variety of both physical and psychological symptoms. They will also experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the substance and it leaves their system.
Symptoms and Side Effects of Meth Abuse
Symptoms and side effects of meth abuse and addiction include but are not limited to:
- Methamphetamine psychosis
- Increased sensitivity to noise
- Lack of appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Severe depression
- Tremors or twitching
- Nervous activity
- Increased heart rate
- Mood disturbances
- Disruption in body temperature including hyperthermia
- Severe dental problems such as tooth decay (also known as “Meth mouth”)
- Increased risk of HIV, AIDS, or Hepatitis B
- Risky behavior including unprotected sex and thrill chasing
- Dilated pupils
- Chest pain
- Pumps or marks around the injection site
When meth or any substance of abuse begins to leave the system, the body will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can be severe and even dangerous, which is why it is always recommended that the withdrawal and detox process be done under the care and supervision of trained medical professionals.
The detox process can be done at a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center such as Eagle Creek. Common withdrawal symptoms associated with meth include:
- Loss of ability to feel pleasure
- Lack of clarity mentally
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Weight gain
- Intense mood swings
The meth withdrawal and detox process can be broken down into 3 main stages:
Crashing occurs during the first 48 hours after you stop meth use. During this time you will begin to experience intense withdrawal symptoms such as:
- Stomach issues
- Muscle Spasms
- Lack of energy
- A decline in cognitive function
The “crashing” stage can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks depending on the severity of the meth addiction and how your body reacts to the withdrawal process. On average these symptoms tend to last anywhere from 10 days to 3 weeks.
Once you have completed the crashing phase and have finished going through the withdrawal process, the next phase is the “cravings” stage. Once you hit this stage, all the meth has been cleared out of your system and the physical side effects will have subsided. However, you will still experience some of the psychological side effects associated with withdrawal, including cravings. These cravings can continue for several months and, if not addressed properly, can lead to an increased risk of relapse.
Once detox has been completed, it’s important to begin rehab treatment right away. At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery we offer inpatient, residential treatment to help treat a variety of substances of abuse including:
- Prescription drugs
During inpatient rehab, you live at the facility for the duration of your treatment. Inpatient treatment comes with additional services that aren’t made available to those in outpatient treatment including 24/7 monitoring and access to additional medical care and nutrition.
Addiction treatment isn’t a “one-size fits all” program. Each person handles treatment differently and not every treatment method works the same for everyone. That’s why there are a variety of treatment options available at our meth addiction rehab for those suffering from methamphetamine abuse including therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Therapy, specifically psychotherapy, is a major component of addiction treatment programs, including treatment for meth abuse. A popular form of psychotherapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
CBT helps peel back the metaphorical layers and helps both the person in therapy and the therapist better understand what caused the meth addiction in the first place. Once that happens, the therapist can then work with the person in therapy and teach them better and healthier ways to deal with these triggers and cravings going forward.
In addition to CBT, at Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery’s meth addiction rehab we also offer other therapy services including:
While there is no medication specifically approved for treating meth abuse and addiction, medications might be administered to help address some of the side effects and symptoms associated with withdrawal and detox, particularly early on in the detox process.
Benzodiazepines might be prescribed to someone who is experiencing extreme withdrawal symptoms to help make them more comfortable. Fluoxetine might also be prescribed to help alleviate some of the psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal and detox such as anxiety or panic attacks.
Another medication that can help with meth withdrawal is Bupropion. While Bupropion is typically prescribed to those who are trying to quit smoking, it has been known to help reduce drug cravings as well.
After receiving treatment in a rehabilitation center, it’s beneficial for recovery to join a support group. Support groups may include group counseling and access to other relapse prevention resources. In a support group, individuals who are in recovery share their experiences with substance abuse and can offer advice to anyone who is struggling with their recovery.
Group support is also a major component of treatment within a rehab center. Group counseling helps work on communication skills and improve interpersonal relationships. In a group setting individuals are also encouraged to practice coping skills for managing intense cravings, avoiding negative behaviors, and reducing the risk of relapse.
If you or someone you know is suffering from meth addiction or another stimulant use disorder, it’s important to remember that help is available.
At Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery we understand that not every treatment option works for every person or every type of addiction. That’s why we will work with you to create a custom treatment plan designed to fit you and your needs.
For more information about our meth addiction rehab facility, and the treatment plans that we offer, reach out to our team. We are ready to help you get started on the road to recovery.
Kendall Maloof is the clinical director at Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and has held multiple leadership roles before settling here at Eagle Creek. Kendall received her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2016. Her career in mental and behavioral health began in 2014 when she took up internships in both the nonprofit and for profit sectors. She interned at multiple reputable companies, such as The Living Success Center and 449 Recovery in California.
In 2019, Kendall became the clinical director of Sunsets Recovery for Woman, a dual diagnosis program in southern California. Kendall is a natural leader. She has an incredible ability to problem solve and stay calm in any situation. Kendall never fails to show up when she is needed, and her calm demeanor makes her team and clients feel at ease. Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery is proud to have Kendall as our clinical director.