STATISTICS ABOUT METHAMPHETAMINE USE
Adults age 26 or older in the U.S. are meth users, according to a national survey on drug use and health.
Age 26 and older in the U.S. have a methamphetamine use disorder.
People in 2019, age 12 or older in the U.S. had used marijuana in the past year.
5 FAST FACTS ABOUT METHAMPHETAMINE USE
1. Meth use, whether injected or not, raises your risk for infectious diseases like HIV or Hepatitis B & C.
2. Methamphetamine may worsen HIV progression and exacerbate cognitive problems from HIV.
3. Persistent stimulant use can lead to cognitive problems as well as other health issues, such as cardiac and pulmonary diseases.
4. Studies have shown structural and functional changes in the brains of chronic meth users.
5. While some neurological effects of chronic meth use are long lasting, some effects are at least partially reversible by abstaining from the drug.
ABOUT METH ADDICTION
Methamphetamine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant, and is one of the most commonly misused stimulant drugs in the world. It is so potent that it is almost instantly habit-forming. Similar to many drugs, frequent meth use causes an individual to build a tolerance, which then requires that person to take more of the drug to get the desired effect. This is one of the factors that causes meth users to become addicted to the drug.
Drug dependence, or needing the drug to avoid withdrawal, can occur quickly with meth abuse. Meth destroys the dopamine receptors in the brain, which means that after using meth regularly, it may become difficult for someone to feel happy or get enjoyment from anything other than the drug. Methamphetamine produces a euphoric effect by increasing dopamine in the reward-circuit of the brain, which reinforces the behavior of taking the drug.
SHORT-TERM EFFECTS OF METH ABUSE
There are many short-term effects of meth use, the most severe of which is the possibility of an overdose, especially when meth is taken with other drugs. The other short-term effects of meth use include:
- Decreased appetite
- Faster breathing
- Rapid/irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure- dehydration
- Sleep deprivation
- Increased activity and wakefulness
LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF METH ABUSE
Long-term methamphetamine use has many negative effects, including addiction. Research has shown that meth use alters brain structures associated with emotion and memory, as well as decision-making. Studies show meth hinders the ability to suppress habitual behaviors, including those that have become useless. Long-term meth abusers’ may even experience psychosis symptoms, such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. These symptoms can last for months or years after a person stops using meth. The other long-term effects of meth use include:
- Mood disturbances
- Memory loss
- Weight loss
- Violent behavior
- Severe dental problems
When a long-term user of meth abruptly stops the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include:
As mentioned above, meth has a high risk of overdose. The symptoms of a meth overdose are:
- Trouble breathing
- Signs of heart attack or stroke
- Kidney failure
- Intense stomach pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Hyper or aggressive behavior
METHAMPHETAMINE ADDICTION TREATMENT
No matter how bad an addiction is, there is always hope for recovery with the right treatment. If you or someone you know is addicted to meth, there is help available..
Treating methamphetamine addiction requires detoxification. The detoxification process depends on the individual’s level of addiction to meth. For people with moderate addiction, detox can be done on an outpatient basis. More serious meth addictions will require detox to take place in an inpatient setting, such as a hospital or treatment facility, due to risk or relapse and the severity of withdrawal symptoms. If necessary, medications can be prescribed to help with detoxification and withdrawal symptoms, such as naltrexone.
Once detoxification is complete, the patient will need to participate in a treatment program to maintain their sobriety and address the psychological effects of meth addiction.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy – helps individuals recognize their reactions to emotional or environmental triggers and therefore stop an impulsive response, such as drug use.
- The matrix model – a 16-week program of behavioral treatment that includes behavioral therapy, individual counseling, group counseling, family education, the support of the 12-step philosophy, drug testing, and motivation to opt for non-drug-related activities.
- Contingency management – an approach in which recovering drug users are rewarded for negative drug tests.
Other types of continuing treatment for meth addiction include:
- Support group work
- Inpatient care
- Outpatient support