Why is Methamphetamine So Addictive?
Methamphetamine increases activity, decreases appetite, enhances sociability and talkativeness, and induces feelings of pleasure and a sense of well-being. When meth is used, greater amounts of the drug pass into the brain, and the effects are intense and short-lived. It drastically increases the level of dopamine, reinforcing the use of the drug.
The primary obstacle that families face when helping someone addicted to meth is convincing them to accept help. Methamphetamine causes a strong psychological addiction, and there is a risk of meth psychosis. Family intervention in any capacity is the best approach.
Is it Possible to Overcome Meth Addiction?
Yes, once a family has convinced their loved one to accept help, the following steps should be taken to ensure sobriety is achieved:
- Detox is necessary to manage withdrawal symptoms. They are generally not severe, but there are physical and psychological symptoms to overcome.
- Long-term inpatient drug rehab (3 to 12 months) is the best option for anyone addicted to meth. Our directory provides a list of resources in your state. A lengthier program offers a better opportunity to address physical and psychological needs.
- Aftercare support is also critical, and this could include 12-step meetings or a sober living home. It is essential to be part of a sober community. The first year of recovery will be the toughest.
The consensus seems that with meth addiction, the longer the person can abstain from the drug, the better their chances are. Time allows the person’s brain, body, and nervous system to heal from the damage caused by meth.
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What Type of drug is Meth?
Methamphetamine, or Meth for short, is a stimulant. Stimulant drugs like Meth increase the activity of the central nervous system and cause the body and mind to work harder and faster. Ingesting stimulants causes increased heart rate and alertness, reduced appetite, and many other effects. Meth is a potent stimulant that can cause a person to stay awake for days and is very hard on the body. Meth users typically exhibit malnutrition and poor hygiene and may even develop a form of drug-induced psychosis.
What does Meth look like?
Meth can have a vast range of appearances. The most notorious form is Crystal Meth, a translucent, crystalline substance resembling shards of glass or large chunks of salt. But Meth is also commonly found in the form of a powder and can range in color from white to pink, yellow, brown, green, blue, and a variety of other shades depending on the manufacturing process and the purity. The drug is usually concealed in small baggies but may also be found in plastic or glass containers or cellophane.
How long does Meth stay in your system?
Meth generally stays in the system for three days. The length of time it takes to clear the system can depend on various factors, including the amount ingested and frequency of use, the person’s body mass and overall health, and a host of other variables. If a person only consumes a small amount of the drug infrequently, it may clear the system in as little as two days. Or, with heavy use, it may take as long as five days.
Why is Meth so addictive?
Meth is so addictive because of how it affects the brain. The drug is responsible for triggering a massive flood of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, which eventually leave the system depleted and lacking those vital neurotransmitters. This action makes the person extremely uncomfortable as the drug wears off and is known as the “crash.” Along with physical symptoms of lethargy and fatigue, the person will often experience mental distress, troubling emotions, and cravings that drive them to use more and more Meth. With long-term use, the person may feel incapable of finding any pleasure in life without the use of Meth, a condition known as anhedonia.
How is Meth used?
Meth can be consumed by smoking, snorting, swallowing, or injection. When the drug is smoked, users generally heat foil or a crud glass pipe until the drug begins to vaporize and the smoke is inhaled. Other paraphernalia for smoking meth may include straws or empty pen tubes used to inhale the smoke. Similar straw or tubes may be used to snort the drug, along with small, rolled-up pieces of paper or money. A small blade, razor, or credit card may be used to chop up and separate doses of Meth for consumption. Intravenous users inject the drug with needles. Injecting Meth can leave track marks and sores and may cause an infection known as an abscess.
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The questions from Addicted.org’s “Learn from our Experts” are answered by Michael Leach, CCMA. If you need further clarification on any of the questions above or have any other questions you can contact him directly at [email protected].