Methamphetamine, or meth, is a very powerful and highly addictive stimulant. According to a 2018 study, meth abuse and addiction affect over 1 million Americans. While the number of people using and abusing meth is high, the number of those seeking treatment for meth abuse and addiction isn’t as high.
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 ADHD, it primarily has no legitimate medical use and is used strictly as a recreational or street drug.
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.
Two main types of meth are used in a recreational manner, meth and crystal meth. Meth is typically found in an odorless crystalline powder 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.
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.
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.
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.
How Does Meth Affect the Brain and Body?
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.
Some of the most common effects this excess dopamine can have on the brain and the body include:
- Irregular heartbeat
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As we talked about, 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.
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.
Signs of Meth Addiction
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:
- Increased sensitivity to noise
- Lack of appetite
- Chronic fatigue
- Nervous activity
- Increased heart rate
- Extreme mood swings
- Dry mouth
- Dental issues (also known as “Meth mouth”)
- Increased risk of HIV or AIDS (when sharing needles)
- Dilated pupils
- 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.
Detoxing can be done at a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center that also offers detox services such as Eagle Creek Ranch Recovery.
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
How Long Does Meth Detox Take?
The meth withdrawal and detox process can be broken down into 3 main stages:
Crashing occurs during the first 48 hours after you last took meth. 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.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
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 meth addiction including therapy and medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
Therapy, specific psychotherapy, is a major component of any kind of treatment program, including meth treatment. 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:
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
- Individual Therapy
- Group Therapy
- Family Therapy
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.
Benzos 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.
Finding the Right Meth Addiction Rehab in Idaho
If you or someone you know is suffering from meth addiction, 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, contact us today to 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.