Methamphetamine was created in the early 1900’s and used to treat a variety of ailments ranging from asthma to depression. It was sold over the counter in various forms until 1970 when it was declared a Schedule 2 banned substance by the DEA.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic stimulant similar in structure to amphetamines. Some other names for methamphetamine include: Meth, crystal, chalk, ice.
In powder form, it is white and odorless, although it can also be found in a colorless crystal form. It is often smoked or mixed with water or alcohol and injected.
Some signs of methamphetamine use can include:
Methamphetamine acts on the brain’s reward circuit by triggering the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine at extremely high levels. Dopamine is involved in the experience of pleasure, reward, motivation, and motor function. The release of excessive amounts of dopamine causes the rush of euphoria that characterizes the methamphetamine high.
The high is short-lived, often causing users to seek repeated doses, causing a “binge and crash” cycle.
Similar to cocaine or other stimulants, even small doses of methamphetamine can cause the following symptoms:
Meth use can also cause visual and auditory hallucinations, such as the sense that there are bugs crawling beneath the user’s skin. This leads to the scratching and picking often associated with meth use.
The long-term effects of chronic meth use are devastating and can include:
There is also an increased risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis, and sexually transmitted infections. There is evidence that methamphetamine use speeds the progress of HIV.
Because adolescents’ brains are still developing into their mid-20s, they are at increased risk of developing long-term complications from meth use. Due to increased risk-taking behavior, they may also be at greater risk for experimenting with a substance like meth.
It is important to educate teens and young adults about the dangers of methamphetamine. Teens may also mistakenly take methamphetamine, not realizing that other drugs, such as Ecstasy, are laced with the substance.
If you suspect that your loved one may be using methamphetamine, it is crucial to seek help immediately. We have a full continuum of care including medical detox, residential treatment, day treatment and intensive outpatient programming. With a clear picture of what is going on, we can help your loved one get the treatment that they need. Recovery is possible. Reach out today.
Our virtual IOP program offers the same programming that we offer in person, all online – this is ideal for those who live too far to drive to an addiction center, have transportation issues, or have health concerns that make in-person treatment challenging.
Our commitment to our clients’ lasting success and recovery helps us continually exceed licensing standards of care throughout the industry.