Methamphetamine, also known as “meth,” is an extremely addictive stimulant that is known for giving users a boost in energy and power. There are genetic, chemical, environmental, and psychological reasons why an individual might be drawn to use meth.
Meth can come in the form of an odorless white powder or crystal form. The substance provides a rush that is the body and brain’s response to a massive acute dose of dopamine and serotonin.
Dopamine and serotonin are often referred to as “happy hormones.” Dopamine is associated with pleasurable sensations and is involved in learning, memory, motor system function. Serotonin helps regulate mood and is a factor in sleep, appetite, digestion. The effects of meth can last up to twelve hours at a time. Withdrawal symptoms result in what is known as a “crash.” Meth abuse develops into addiction as a result of a binge/crash pattern of use.
Repeated use of such an addictive substance results in tolerance. Addicts quickly need more meth to attain the desired effect. Chronic use results in difficulty finding pleasure elsewhere. This increases the cycle of abuse. Those who use meth for a long period of time can lose the ability to comprehend abstract thoughts in a manner that is similar to those suffering from Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other illnesses associated with the onset of severe cognitive decline.
Since meth is such a dangerous and addictive substance it’s essential to stop the cycle of abuse as early as possible. Long-term use results in irreversible health problems and mental decay. Meth is known to cause tooth loss, organ failure, heart problems, permanent memory loss. Meth can also cause uncontrollable mood swings and aggressive outbursts.
Signs of a Meth Relapse
If someone is showing signs of abnormal activity they may have relapsed on meth. Individuals who are abusing meth will often show signs of increased energy, euphoria, and excitement for abnormally long periods of time. You may also notice signs of insomnia or sleeplessness. Meth often prevents users from sleeping and causes feelings of alertness that are associated with being:
- Jittery or shaky
The cycle of meth use results in mood instability. Addicts go from full of energy and euphoric to anxious, angry, and aggressive. Knowing the early signs of meth abuse in order to detect relapse as early as possible. A common sign of meth addiction is high levels of paranoia. Those struggling with a meth addiction often display physical symptoms like scratching at their skin or displaying involuntary tics or twitchy movements
Meth abuse is associated with loss of appetite which leads to weight loss. This is because stimulants like meth are appetite suppressants. Meth users tend to go on binges, taking doses of the drug repeatedly for days or weeks without stopping, and that results in fast weight loss and poor nutrition. Meth addicts can develop eating disorders as a dual diagnosis that is important to treat as soon as possible and in some circumstances requires medical hospitalization.
Common Signs of Meth Addiction
There are many signs of meth addiction. Possible signs of meth abuse include:
- Unusual bursts of energy
- Extreme moods swings
- Increased aggression
- Awake at odd hours
- Extreme loss of appetite
- Drastic loss of weight
- Dental issues (aka. “meth mouth”)
- Sores or scars from skin-picking
- Burn marks on lips or fingers
- Increased paranoia
- Increased secretiveness
In a medically-supervised situation, methamphetamine-related medications can be safely prescribed to manage symptoms of Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and sleep disorders like narcolepsy.
Street meth contains highly toxic chemicals such as:
- lighter fluid
- battery acid
- drain cleaner
- paint thinner
- rubbing alcohol
- engine cleaner
Contact Asheville Recovery Center to Learn More
At Asheville Recovery Center in North Carolina, our medical professionals know the devastation meth can cause on an individual’s life and those around them. We work with individuals and their loved ones to educate them about preventative methods used to decrease the risk of meth relapse and achieve lasting recovery. To learn more about our treatment programs and mental health services, reach out to us today and speak with a specialist who can tell you more about the benefits of our personalized treatment options.