Addiction to methamphetamine is common with even short-term use. Methamphetamine use disorder leads to a chronic series of relapse and repeated use. Although most individuals realize they are sustaining and/or causing a significant level of damage by using the drug, those individuals are compulsively motivated to continue the abuse.
Physical effects of methamphetamine abuse are varied and devastating. Initially, the individual will develop a level of tolerance. This means that person will at first feel pleasure from using the drug, but with time will become unable to get the same results from using the original amount. The natural inclination is to seek out higher levels.
Abusing methamphetamine reduces an individual’s ability to react to things that happen. Methamphetamines inflict brain damage in the areas of motor movement and memory. So in addition to becoming physically addicted, methamphetamine makes an individual neurologically intoxicated. The good news is that the neurological effects of this drug are reversible, and brain imaging research shows that even 12 months after detoxification the brain returns to a somewhat normal state of operation.1
Meth abuse usually shows in the following physical symptoms:
- Loss of teeth
- Weight loss
- Skin sores and scarring
Mental illness sometimes accompanies drug use. Mental illnesses might develop as a result of the methamphetamine abuse, or they might be one of the reasons that the drug was taken in the first place. Regardless of the cause, integrated treatment will address both mental health concerns and addiction concerns at the same time. The alternative is to let the addiction and mental health crisis continue to spur each other on. The symptoms of methamphetamine abuse are complicated enough, even without mental illness accompaniment. Long term effects of meth addiction are:
- Memory loss
- Mood instability, sometimes resulting in violent and aggressive behavior
- Psychotic conditions
Methamphetamines are not always abused in the same levels. Some addicts are categorized as low-intensity users, while others are binge users, and others frequent the drug so often and in such high quantities that they fall into the category of high-intensity abuse. Low intensity levels of use involve swallowing or snorting it on occasion, which might not have yet resulted in full-blown addiction. The other categories, however, are psychological addictions. If you or someone you love uses meth to get a fast and strong high, it is necessary to seek medical treatment as soon as possible to reverse the addiction symptoms and lifestyle.2
Inpatient treatment care involves staying away from the home environment for a period of time in order to have the 24-hour assistance of medical and therapy professionals. Inpatient treatment offers medically supervised detoxification along with medication management, wellness services, counseling and group therapy. In this type of treatment you will be able to meet other people who are overcoming addiction and to work out solutions to how to enjoy life without dependence on this destructive drug.
Outpatient care is also a great option, and if you have a lot of support from your family or are relatively sure that you will not be offered to use the drug at home, this might work especially well. This option will allow you to keep your job or school or other responsibilities going while you get treatment. Regular appointments will be scheduled at your convenience, so be sure to plan ahead and attend all appointments to get the full benefit of your treatment program.
Concerns regarding treatment can be addressed in consultation with the treatment program facilities. Each patient and family member will have different emotional and physical needs. Due to the physical changes that methamphetamine sets on the brain, the emotional makeup of a meth user is changed drastically. He or she may demonstrate behavior that is completely out of character with his or her personality.
Not only are emotional upsets disturbing to the abuser and to those around him or her, but spiritual interests are lost, generally resulting in a relative dissatisfaction in life. Gaining the confidence to put an end to the control of the methamphetamine substance will help one to return to a state where he or she has the mental freedom to decide to live in accord with his or her spiritual decisions.
Any methamphetamine user can comply with treatment and gain lasting benefits. Families can be repaired and sometimes reunited when the mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health of one member is restored. Do not permit this tragedy of methamphetamine addiction rob the world of the authentic personality that you know to exist behind the disorder. Help is available, and it is usually not beyond reach in either physical or financial terms.
1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Methamphetamine. Found online 2/12/16 at: https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-abuse
2. Australian Government, National Drugs Campaign. “The facts about Ice.” Last updated 2/12/16. Found online 2/12/16 at http://www.drugs.health.gov.au/internet/drugs/publishingcp.nsf/content/facts-about-ice.