The Fallout from Crystal Meth
What are the most common side effects of methamphetamine usage? Meth side effects can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Methamphetamine usage has become quite a problem in the United States.
Learning about the side effects of meth use can help you spot them in a loved one before it’s too late. Here, we look at some of the side effects this drug causes and how to find effective forms of treatment with Resurgence Tennessee if you or someone you care about is struggling.
Methamphetamine Abuse: How This Substance Leads To Drug Abuse
Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, is a powerful and addictive stimulant. Methamphetamine users report feelings of euphoria, increased energy, and alertness. After an initial high, methamphetamine can cause a crash that may include symptoms such as fatigue, irritability, and anxiety.
Methamphetamine is currently a Schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This means that meth has a high potential for substance abuse. Meth is a central nervous system stimulant that can cause irreversible damage to the body. In recent years, Methamphetamine use has become a fatal and serious problem in the United States.
Methamphetamine Misuse Statistics In The US
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), meth is one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in America. Crystal meth use is objectively fatal to most suffering from the disease. According to the CDC, in 2021, over 30,000 persons died from a meth overdose.
This is up over 10k from the previous year. What this shows, with utter clarity, is that meth is a dangerous drug that should be avoided at all costs.
What Makes People Susceptible To Meth Addiction?
Because of its powerful effects on the brain, meth abuse can lead to addiction very quickly — sometimes within days of first use. According to the American Psychiatric Association, between 9 percent and 27 percent of people who try methamphetamine will become addicted to it.
Certain conditions or factors can actually render people more susceptible or “at risk” of developing a meth addiction. These are called risk factors. Let us examine some of the more common risk factors that can lead to a substance abuse disorder.
A family history of substance use disorder is one of the strongest predictors that a person will be at high risk of developing an addiction. People with parents who have engaged in substance abuse often end up being more at risk of following in their footsteps.
This is true across the board when it comes to any stimulant substance. Another genetic factor that can affect this is neurodivergence. Neurodivergent persons are inherently more at risk of developing drug abuse habits.
Methamphetamine use is associated with a variety of environmental factors, and researchers are still investigating the role these factors play in addiction. However, it is safe to say that the surrounding social circles one is exposed to can influence one to begin methamphetamine use and shortly thereafter develop an addiction.
Outside of that, the physical environment matters. From a socioeconomic perspective, marginalized, underserved, and disparaged communities are more at risk of falling prey to the scourge of drugs when compared to more affluent, privileged communities.
Mental Health Issues
Meth use has been linked to many mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression. These mental illnesses can make you more susceptible to becoming addicted to meth. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that a large number of people who suffer from substance abuse also struggle with a comorbidity or mental health condition simultaneously. The truth is that research suggests that those engaging with meth or other drugs on a chronic basis use it as a means of self-medicating for various mental health issues.
The Long-Term Side Effects Of Chronic Methamphetamine Addiction
Meth is a highly addictive drug that can cause irreversible brain damage. In addition to this, there are a whole host of physical and psychological effects associated with the habit. Chronic use only exacerbates the chances of these debilitating effects of methamphetamine abuse. Some of the more common long-term effects and health problems are discussed below.
This is a mental disorder characterized by paranoia and visual or auditory hallucinations. It can last for months or years after someone stops using methamphetamine.
Chronic meth users often experience severe tooth decay, which can lead to loss of teeth. Severe dental problems are common among people who inject methamphetamine intravenously.
Increased Risk Of Stroke And Heart Attack
People who use methamphetamine have an increased risk of stroke and heart attack compared with those who don’t use the drug at all or only rarely use it. Some studies suggest that smoking cigarettes while using methamphetamine may increase this risk even further because smoking tobacco causes blood clots that can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
This is essentially the long-term impairment of intellectual function, memory loss, and personality changes. The potential for this with long-term methamphetamine use is far from an unlikely scenario and should be taken quite seriously.
The Short-Term Effects Of Meth Use
Outside of the long-term dangers, the short-term effects of meth use can be intense. Aside from the “positive” effects that include euphoria and increased alertness, the truth is that the overwhelming proportion of effects is objectively negative. They can include:
- Insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- Nausea and vomiting
- Elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, body temperature, irregular heartbeat, and respiration (breathing)
- Paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions (false beliefs)
- Severe dental problems, including tooth loss
- Weight loss
- Mood swings
- Impaired motor skills
- Skin sores
- Elevated body temperature
- Violent behavior
How Can Meth Abuse Affect Your Life?
Methamphetamine addiction is a serious problem that can have devastatingly negative consequences for those struggling with the disease and their loved ones. The social, financial, and legal consequences of meth addiction are far-reaching, and extensive and can affect one’s life in the long term.
There are many social consequences of meth addiction. One of the most significant is the impact on relationships. Many people who use meth have difficulty forming and maintaining healthy relationships. This is because they are often under the influence, or very distant and unable to share their feelings with others. The person using meth may also make impulsive decisions that are not in the best interest of their partner or family members. They may even become aggressive, threatening, or violent when confronted with their problem.
The Financial Damage Done by Meth
In addition to social consequences, meth addiction can also be financially devastating for an individual and their family members. The financial consequences are equally devastating as well. Meth users often have a hard time holding down a job due to their erratic behavior and can end up losing their homes because they have no money coming in.
Frequent meth consumers may also resort to stealing from loved ones or other people in order to get money for their next fix. This makes it very difficult for them to get back on track when they decide they want help with the problem.
Because meth is a controlled substance, the possession of it is a crime and can result in legal consequences including, at the most extreme end of the spectrum; jail time. Crystal meth use is a public health issue and persons struggling with the disease ultimately need support and help but the truth is that the legal aspect and potential consequences of engaging in the habit are unavoidable.
What Are Some Of The Withdrawal Symptoms Of Crystal Meth?
Meth withdrawal symptoms can be difficult to deal with. Withdrawal symptoms occur when the body has become used to the presence of a chemical, and when that chemical is suddenly removed from the body. These symptoms and the severity vary depending on how long you have been using, how much you took, and how often.
Meth withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from one day to one week, although some people may experience them for months after they stop using. Some common meth withdrawal symptoms include:
- Fatigue or exhaustion
- Agitation and anxiety
- Mood disturbances
- Intense cravings
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Poor appetite or eating too much
- Tremors or shakes
The Importance Of Detox For Addiction Treatment
Meth addiction treatment involves detoxification, behavioral therapy, and other supportive measures. Medical detox is the first step if one hopes to receive treatment and is critical to recovery from crystal meth use. The most common form of detoxification is medically assisted and usually involves an inpatient stay at a treatment center. This process is overseen by a qualified healthcare professional and involves medical supervision as well as the administration of medications used to temper the effects of withdrawal.
This can be such a critical part of the process because ridding the body of its dependence on the substance is the first step to recovery. Without this process, the cycle of addiction just keeps going. Beyond this, for many, the withdrawal symptoms can be so debilitating that, without supervision and support in the form of medical assistance, many end up relapsing rather than fighting through the period of withdrawal.
The Components Of Professional Treatment Options
A comprehensive meth addiction recovery treatment plan includes a variety of components. The first step is detoxification, which helps to rid the body of the drug. Methamphetamine users often suffer from physical and psychological dependence on the drug, so detoxification can be difficult and painful. Additionally, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue and depression that can last up to two weeks after they stop taking methamphetamine.
The next step is therapy or counseling with a trained professional who has experience treating addiction. Therapy often involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which teaches people how to recognize their thoughts and behaviors related to substance abuse and then change those behaviors using techniques such as self-monitoring and goal setting. The therapist may also use motivational interviewing techniques to help clients set goals for themselves and work toward achieving those goals in an effort to stay sober long-term.
Effective Forms of Therapy for Methamphetamine Abuse
The most effective way to treat meth addiction is through a combination of psychotherapy (psychological counseling) and pharmacotherapy (medication). Although there are currently no medications available specifically for the treatment of methamphetamine addiction, certain medications can be used to treat the symptoms associated with withdrawal, such as depression or anxiety.
The final stage of treatment is relapse prevention therapy, which teaches clients how to avoid relapsing once they have completed treatment through skills like avoiding situations that trigger cravings for drugs like methamphetamine or alcohol, managing stressors in life, keeping up with healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating well and attending support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous. This can also be considered aftercare because at this point, the acute phase of the addiction has passed but ongoing support is a critical necessity for ensuring long-term success and sobriety.
Take Back Control from the Grasp of Meth
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic methamphetamine usage, reach out to us today. At Resurgence Tennessee, our facility offers industry-leading confidential, empathetic, and experienced treatment for substance use disorders. The long-term effects of a substance use disorder are debilitating and can strip a person of everything good in their life. This does not need to be the case.
Our qualified and experienced staff are well-equipped and standing by to help you back on track to getting your life back! Don’t delay, take the next step toward recovery now!