Methamphetamine (meth) is a potent stimulant that has a very high addictive potential. It was originally derived from amphetamine, but unlike amphetamine it has no widely accepted medical use.
A weak prescription formulation of the drug with the brand name Desoxyn is occasionally prescribed to narcolepsy patients, but for the most part methamphetamine has been outlawed since the U.S. Drug Abuse and Regulation Act of 1970.1
Methamphetamine generally comes in a pill or powder form that can be inhaled or ingested orally, though it can be made into a crystalline form known as crystal meth, which can be smoked or injected. No matter the form of use, methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse and dependency and addiction to it must be professionally treated.
There are quite a few street names for methamphetamine, including “meth,” “crystal,” “crank,” “Tina,” “ice” and “speed.” In 2015, nearly 897,000 people aged 12 or older were current users of methamphetamine.2
Unless meth is prescribed by a medical professional, its use is illegal in every state. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Most states have very stiff penalties for the use, possession and manufacturing of the drug.
Despite the high risks, users still buy the drug because the effects include a sense of well-being and euphoria. The problem is that after the initial rush, the user’s behavior can change wildly. They may become edgy, angry, and afraid, and they may begin to experience a rise in body temperature.
Due to this big change in how a person feels, most meth users will continue to use more of the drug, needing a bigger dose each time in order to achieve the same rush and euphoric feelings. Continued use of larger dosages can lead to dependency, abuse, and addiction. It can also lead to some potentially serious side effects, some of which may be severe or even fatal. They include:3
- Decreased appetite
- Inability to sleep
- Breathing difficulties
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heart beat
- Increase in blood pressure
- Extreme overheating
- Mood disturbances
- Psychotic symptoms
Help for Addiction
Since the side effects of meth use can be so dangerous, if you suspect that you or someone you know is addicted, you should immediately seek out a methamphetamine rehabilitation program. A proper facility for methamphetamine addicts will provide you with the tools necessary to stop the addiction cycle and learn how to live the rest of your life without meth.
What to Look for in a Methamphetamine Treatment Facility
Returning to your old life after methamphetamine rehabilitation is a rewarding experience that is not without risks.
Before you enroll in a methamphetamine rehabilitation center, you should ensure that the facility is licensed by the state in which it is located. All of the medical staff working in the center, including therapists, should also be licensed by the state to practice medicine or therapy.
Having a medical doctor on board is necessary because the detoxification process, which is needed to break physical dependence on the drug, should be overseen by medical professionals. Withdrawal symptoms from meth can be severe, including irritability, anxiety, agitation, and even suicidal thoughts. It’s important that licensed professionals be on hand to guide patients through these symptoms, so they remain safe and secure throughout the process.
Good methamphetamine treatment programs should be tailored to the individual needs of the addict, because addiction is a very personal experience. No two addicts will have the same needs, so an evaluation of overall health and addiction level should be carried out prior to the first phase of recovery, which is detoxification. Look for methamphetamine rehabilitation centers that help you through detox and then provide you with cognitive behavioral therapy to address the psychological aspects of addiction and the potential for relapse.
Treatment may incorporate individual, group, and family therapy sessions to help determine the underlying causes behind the meth abuse. A person can then learn how to handle temptations in the future in order to prevent future relapse.
Residential and Outpatient Options
Because methamphetamine may be so addictive, inpatient, or residential, treatment is recommended. In a residential program, you will live in the facility for however long it takes you to recover.
The other option is an outpatient program, which allows a person to work toward recovery from home. Outpatient treatment involves checking in a couple times per week at the treatment facility. Some addicts find the temptation of drug use during the time away from the facility to be too much, which can challenge the recovery progress they have made. Because of this temptation, inpatient treatment is recommended for anyone who has relapsed in the past
Returning to your old life after rehab is a rewarding experience that is not without risks. Once you return home, you may be tempted to begin using again. To avoid relapsing, you should attend any aftercare programs that are available in conjunction with your methamphetamine recovery program. This may include 12-step meetings and group therapy sessions.
These programs are designed to help you stay sober and free from meth use.
. Center for Substance abuse Research. (2013). Methamphetamine.
. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (HHS Publication No. SMA 16-4984, NSDUH Series H-51).
. Drug Enforcement Agency. Drug Fact Sheet, Methamphetamine.
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