Methamphetamine, or meth as it’s more commonly known, is one of the most destructive and vicious drugs on the streets. The relatively low cost and ready availability of meth has caused it to become a threat across the United States. This stimulant has such powerful effects that it is almost instantly habit-forming, putting people from all backgrounds at risk of Meth Addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, you should understand that this addiction is a disease. By knowing about the drug and its effect, you can begin to break meth’s hold over your life. The next step is the professional and personalized addiction treatment for meth available at 7 Summit Pathways in Tampa.
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine belongs to a family of drugs called amphetamines. They were once widely available as prescription decongestants and weight loss aids. However, people soon started using these drugs for their powerful stimulant effects. In 1970, they were classified as a schedule II controlled substance and strictly regulated.
While there is still one prescription methamphetamine drug on the market, those with a Meth Addiction undoubtedly use the substance in one of its illicit forms — meth or crystal meth. While both are chemically identical, the structural makeup has slight variations.
- Meth: This bitter crystalline powder is odorless and most commonly white, but it can also be yellow, brown or pink. Meth dissolves quickly in liquid, making it easy to inject. This form of the drug can also be snorted or smoked. Though rare, it’s sometimes compressed into pill form and taken orally.
- Crystal meth: This form of meth looks like fragments of glass or rocks, thus the name crystal meth. The coarse crystals can be clear or blue. Crystal meth is smoked using a pipe.
Drug dealers often cut meth using other substances, such as antidepressants or opioids. These additives make the drug even more dangerous and increase a user’s risk of overdose.
What Causes Methamphetamine Addiction?
Like most drugs, meth forces the brain to pump out high amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that induces feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. Those who use meth are known to stay up for days to binge use and prolong the drug’s stimulating effects. This prolonged use is one factor that contributes to Meth Addiction.
The first time using meth is often considered the most pleasurable. The drug forces the brain to produce as much as 1,250 times the dopamine that it releases during other activities, such as sex and exercise. This incredible sensation gives users a taste for meth from the get-go. No other experience compares, and even subsequent meth use can’t match up to that first dose. This intense reaction is why meth use is so dangerous — it’s instantly habit-forming, even for those just trying it.
Eventually, meth can destroy the brain’s dopamine receptors. It hijacks the brain and becomes the only source of pleasure in a person’s life. Once Meth Addiction has a firm hold, all of a person’s time, resources and energy are redirected toward getting more meth.
Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse
Meth produces a rush when it’s smoked or injected. The stimulant increases heart rate and blood pressure on top of releasing high amounts of dopamine. Other common side effects of meth use include:
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Irregular heartbeat
Prolonged meth use can also lead to a variety of serious medical conditions. Tooth decay, known as “meth mouth,” causes serious oral health concerns. People can also develop skin sores and infections caused by picking. Those who share needles put themselves at risk of diseases like HIV and hepatitis. Snorting meth can damage the nasal passages and sinus cavities, leading to chronic nosebleeds.
Meth Addiction can also overwhelm the heart and central nervous system, putting users at high risk of:
- Heart attack
- Brain damage
- Potentially lethal overdose
Help for Meth Addiction at 7 Summit Pathways
Meth Addiction is an insidious disease, and it can feel almost impossible to quit on your own. If you want to break free, 7 Summit Pathways is here for you. We serve patients in Tampa and the surrounding communities by offering an individualized approach to care based on our philosophy of the 7 Dimensions of Wellness.
As you walk the road to Recovery, our compassionate team will be beside you every step of the way, offering evidence-based treatments and unparalleled expertise. If you’re ready to learn more about our addiction treatment for meth, contact us online today. You can also schedule an appointment at our welcoming facility to learn more about our programs firsthand.