Scottsdale is currently witnessing a surge in methamphetamine addiction – known colloquially to addicts as meth. This dangerous stimulant not only harms users, but endangers public safety, contributes to a crime epidemic, and costs the economy billions. If you’re struggling with methamphetamine addiction, you don’t have to fight this battle on your own. Inpatient rehab can help you get and stay clean and sober.
Methamphetamine Addiction: The Basics
Methamphetamine was originally developed as a psychoactive drug designed to treat a host of medical conditions. Doctors quickly realized the drug’s addictive potential, though, and almost completely abandoned its usage. It is very rarely prescribed to treat ADHD, but most users are recreational users who never received a medical prescription.
Meth can be manufactured from common household chemicals, though the manufacturing process itself is extremely dangerous. Flammable and explosive chemicals can and do ignite, leading to explosions of so-called meth labs. These explosions can harm innocent passersby, kill meth manufacturers, and cause immense property damage. Because of the ready availability of substances that can manufacture meth, many states have taken action to limit the sale of pseudoephedrine and other meth-related chemicals.
How Meth Affects the Body
Some drugs only harm the health of those unlucky enough to be addicted for extended periods. Meth is not one of these drugs. Prolonged use of methamphetamine inevitably leads to serous physical and psychological symptoms. Indeed, the web is full of “before and after” pictures of meth users that chronicle the rapid aging, intense skin and dental problems, and dramatic changes in appearance the drug can yield in a relatively short period of time.
Meth is highly addictive, with most users becoming dependent on the drug after just a handful of uses. If you continue using meth, an accidental overdose can kill you, and excessive use can lead to seizures, strokes, sudden death, and heart attacks. Other common side effects of meth use include:
- Changes in bone structure, particularly on the face
- Skin-picking that leads to deep craters and infections in the skin
- Brain damage
- Mental illness
- Personality changes
- Unstable mood
- Loss of teeth, tooth decay, chronic bad breath, and gum infections
- Infertility and sexual dysfunction
- Disruption of the menstrual and ovulatory cycles
- Exposure to infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS; if you inject meth, your risk of dying due to drug use increases exponentially.
- Intense anxiety, anger, or psychosis
- Delusions or hallucinations
- Excessive weight loss
Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction happens quickly, and seemingly without warning. As you continue using meth, your body quickly develops a tolerance of the drug that encourages you to use larger and larger quantities. This can quickly result in chemical dependence that tricks your body into believing it “needs” meth. Consequently, when you attempt to quit using, you may experience intense and painful withdrawal effects that make quitting on your own nearly impossible.
Here are some other signs that you may be a meth addict:
- Working while under the influence of meth.
- Spending all or most of your time with other meth addicts or under the influence of meth.
- Doing things you regret due to the influence of meth.
- Suffering financial problems due to meth.
- Being arrested but continuing to use meth.
- Relationship problems due to meth use.
- Being unable to concentrate or work without meth.
- Anger, rage, and illegal behavior.
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Hearing from loved ones that your meth use has become problematic.
- Short-term memory loss.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
If you are addicted to meth, you need immediate intervention. Rehab is the single best option for treating your addiction, since rehab removes you from the environment that spurred your meth addiction while offering you a safe and supportive space to work toward sobriety. Some of the services you can expect in rehab – that you can also pursue outside the walls of rehab – include:
- Therapy with a counselor who has advanced training and expertise in meth addiction. In therapy, you’ll explore why you choose to start using meth, what keeps you using, and what strategies you can use to avoid using in the future. You may also discuss early childhood memories, trauma, and relationship factors that contribute to your meth use.
- Group counseling sessions under the guidance of a therapist who specializes in addiction.
- 12-step programs with a group of recovering addicts who have faced challenges similar to your own. The most popular program is Narcotics Anonymous, which encourages you to take responsibility, make amends, and maintain permanent sobriety. In NA, you can also select a sponsor. This person is your go-to support system when you have serious cravings, must face a crisis without drugs, or need advice for getting and staying sober.
- Medical assistance. Meth is a potentially fatal drug that can destroy your organs, undermine your mental health, and lead to ongoing health challenges. A physician can help you cope with these difficulties. Additionally, your doctor will evaluate you to determine if detox is safe, then monitor your symptoms as you go through the withdrawal process. If a mental or physical health condition played a role in your decision to use meth, your doctor can help you find better treatment options, including less-addictive prescription drugs to help you cope with your symptoms.