Meth abuse and addiction is a widespread epidemic in the US today. Not only is meth claiming lives daily, the path of destruction is not limited to the addict. Crystal meth-related crime and financial costs have placed a burden on communities in every city and state nationwide. Plus, millions of people suffer from the devastation imposed on them because of their relationship with friends or families of the addict.
The scope of methamphetamine abuse in the United States is revealed in a report issued by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) which shows that in 2012, approximately 1.2 million people had admitted to using meth in the past year. Another shocking fact from the report shows the average age of new users in 2012 was 19.7 years old.
Hospital emergency department visits related to the use of the illicit drug methamphetamine rose from 67,954 in 2007 to 102,961 in 2011 according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
What Makes a Person Keep Using Meth?
When a person tries methamphetamine for the first time, it is usually a voluntary decision. However, a one-time use can result in addiction for some users. Meth is highly addictive and differs from other drugs because it remains in the brain for long periods of time, prolonging the effects.
One of the reasons people continue using methamphetamine for a long period has to do with the immediate euphoric effects experienced by smoking or injecting the drug. Unfortunately, the “rush” wears off quickly leaving the user to seek another dose to maintain the high. Smoking methamphetamine is the most common method of ingestion. However, snorting or oral ingestion will produce a milder euphoric state that lasts a little longer.
Users often go through a “binge and crash” pattern because the euphoria wears off quickly. During the crash period, the person avoids food and sleep for several days to intensify the effects. When a person “crashes” from methamphetamine, they go through a variety of physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms.
What Does a Methamphetamine “Crash” Feel Like?
After several days of sleeping, a methamphetamine addict experiences a variety of uncomfortable sensations. For instance, after feeling the effects of high dopamine levels in the brain for a few days, the person is going through a stage of low dopamine because meth causes the brain to stop producing the chemical naturally. Without normal levels of dopamine, a person is unable to feel pleasure or pain normally. The significant drop in dopamine causes many meth users to become depressed or have suicidal thoughts.
Users may also feel extreme hunger and may gain noticeable amounts of weight during the crash stage. Some people go through periods of aggression, anxiety, hallucinations, delusions, seizures, heart problems, violent behavior and death after a “binge and crash” episode. For these reasons, withdrawal should only be attempted with medical supervision or in a professional detox facility. Long term abuse can even lead to rotting teeth or “meth mouth” causing the abuser to lose their teeth.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you know someone who needs help for meth addiction, call our toll-free number today. One of our representatives will be available to share their knowledge about rehabilitation programs that are best qualified to treat methamphetamine addiction. From detox to rehab, there are individualized programs that meet the needs of each patient. With such a variety of choices, you many become overwhelmed and confused. Therefore, we offer our advice as a resource to help you make an informed drug free choice.