Methamphetamine, or meth, is among the most addictive drugs available today, and causes a deterioration in health among addicts faster than any other drug. This synthetic stimulant is available for medical purposes as Desoxyn, used to treat attention deficit disorders and some forms of narcolepsy. However, the street version of methamphetamine is manufactured using toxic chemicals and is highly dangerous and addictive.
While mortality rates among meth users are comparatively low, the physical symptoms of an addiction to methamphetamine are some of the most noticeable compared to symptoms of other drugs. This drug causes the body to deteriorate very quickly, and a serious addict can appear to age ten years in the space of only a few months. Some of the most notable physical symptoms of meth abuse include:
These obvious physical symptoms are not the only ones that this drug causes. Meth constricts the blood vessels, causing irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and other heart problems. It also raises body temperature and can even cause seizures or convulsions. This is a common cause of death when a user overdoses on meth. Meth use can even lead to lead poisoning, as many street formulas of this drug use lead.
Many first-time users don't become hooked right away. However, believing that they are in control, they are more likely to use again, and physical dependence can occur quickly. The high produced by meth occurs when the drug raises the dopamine levels in the brain by ten times the amount produced by exercise or other pleasurable activities, and five times the amount produced by cocaine use. Over time, the drug can destroy the pleasure receptors in the brain, so that an addict is physically incapable of feeling happy without the drug.
After recovery, the damage to the pleasure receptors may slowly begin to heal. However, this drug affects more than just the brain's ability to feel pleasure. Many cognitive impairments are common, such as loss of motor function, poor decision-making skills, extreme paranoia, and a loss of coordination. These impairments rarely heal, and in extreme cases can render a recovering addict unable to function in daily life without help for the rest of his or her life.
Treatment for meth addiction is best performed at an addiction treatment facility, where a safe and stress-free environment can make detox easier. Paxil and bupropion are the most commonly prescribed medications to help ease the cravings for the drug during detox, and to fight the depression that is often associated with withdrawal.
Psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, is needed to help a recovering addict learn the tools that can help him cope with life's stressors without the drug. Finally, relapse prevention programs are key to maintaining a sober lifestyle.
If you believe that someone you love is suffering from a meth addiction, acting quickly to get that person in treatment will give him or her the best chances of a positive outcome. There is help available. Call Wichita Drug Treatment Centers at (316) 768-4392 now.