How Methamphetamine Affects Your Physical Health
What is Methamphetamine?
Also known as “meth,” methamphetamine is a very serious, highly addictive drug that effects our central nervous system. It is a powerful substance, that is crystal-like and can be referred to “blue-ice” or “crystal.” It is a man-made substance that has limited legal use, rarely being prescribed for ADHD and obesity. It was originally used to help keep WWII War soldiers awake and would treat depression.
Meth comes in many forms including chunk-like crystals, blue shiny rocks or clear pieces. It can be taken in many forms including being smoked, snorted, swallowed or injected into veins. After taking the drug, the person immediately feels a sensation that causes euphoria and a rush, which is why people continue to use it.
The drug is very potent and can cause many side effects. It can be made from easy to find ingredients, originally derived from amphetamine, which was used to treat nasal congestion and bronchitis. Some of the symptoms of use include:
- Increased activity
- Decreased appetite
- Pleasurable sense of euphoria
- Increased happiness
Because methamphetamine is so much stronger today, it has longer lasting effects and is harder to stop using. It is highly likely to be misused and can cause negative side effects to your body when using it.
How Does it Make you Feel?
People who regularly use meth can become addicted very quickly, driving them do anything it takes to obtain the drug. A person’s tolerance builds up the more they use the drug, making them need more of the drug to get the same effect as they previously did. As with other drugs or alcohol, the more meth is used, the higher likelihood addiction or substance abuse will take place.
Chronic abusers may have some side effects that include:
- Mood disorders
- Violent behavior
Along with some side effects there are also long-term effects that may include:
- Changes in brain function
- Increased distractibility
- Memory loss
- Mood disturbances
- Extreme dental problems
- Weight loss
- Thinking and motor impairment
- Aggressive or violent behavior
Immediate Short-Term Effects
Methamphetamine is a very strong, potent drug and because of this, even taking small amounts can result in side effects such as increased wakefulness, physical activity and decreased appetite. Other effects include:
- Increased heart rate
- Irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased arousal
- Elevated body temperature (hyperthermia)
- Increased respiration
The increased amounts of dopamine in the brain produces a “euphoric” feeling in the body, which triggers continued use. This concept teaches our brain to need more dopamine and therefore causes us to become addicted to the drug.
A person who uses meth continuously and over a long period of time will develop negative physical effects such as confusion, anxiety, depression, aggression, paranoia and even sometimes hallucinations. During meth use a chemical in the brain is changed, which causes these mental effects to happen.
A common problem when trying to quit using the drug is depression and suicidal thoughts. The reason why this happens is because when stopping the drug your body will “slow down” and you don’t feel the high that you once felt before.
Organ damage – Along with other mental health effects, using meth can cause many problems to your organs including damage to the liver, lungs and skin.
Brain damage – It doesn’t take long-term use of the drug to cause damage to your brain. During an overdose a person can have a stroke or other interruptions to the blood and oxygen levels to the brain.
Heart problems – There have been links to meth use and heart problems such as rapid heart rate, high blood pressure and the formation of fibrous tissue in the heart.
Infectious diseases – Generally, people who use methamphetamine have a higher likelihood of engaging in risky behavior. Their libido is higher, the desire to have sex and their judgement and self-control are impaired. This can cause people to engage in unprotected sex and potentially use contaminated needles which can both cause infectious diseases.
Tolerance and Withdrawal
Meth can cause people to feel withdrawal symptoms if they attempt to stop using the drug because of the strong affect it has on the body and the brain. People often begin to build up a tolerance for the drug and they need more and more of the drug to feel the same effects.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has determined that people who use meth have long-term health effects that change their brains, finding it difficult to feel the same level of arousal doing anything other than that drug. This causes the person to need the drug more and become addicted.
Treatment for Meth
Meth is almost immediately addictive, causing a person to need and look for more of the drug right away. It is very strong and habit-forming and every time the person uses, it increases the damage to the key receptors in their brain.
The first step in treatment for meth is detoxification, to stop the physical presence of meth in the person’s system. This will allow them to get to a place where they don’t need the drug in order to function properly. This can include both rehabilitation along with counseling to help the person determine how to function without using the drug.
Depending on the level of severity and use of the drug, there may be in-patient or out-patient recovery care necessary. A doctor may determine that an in-patient program is necessary in order to handle the person’s situation and avoid any possible significant danger that may occur.
If a person is experiencing any co-occurring disorders, then this needs to be considered in order to determine the best treatment process during recovery. If this is the case, then the detoxification process may take place in a hospital or specialty treatment facility in order to provide the safest outcome. Staff monitor each client’s progress through withdrawal and provide any medication necessary.
Meth Treatment in Los Angeles
Sometimes you might feel like reaching out for help, while other times you might want to hole up and use. Going back and forth between the two only perpetuates continued meth use. The longer you use, the quicker you get to the end of your life.
Meth treatment in Los Angeles can help. We know how overwhelming it feels to have a meth addiction and to feel like there is no way out or no answer to the problem. But there is treatment available that can get you off meth and get you moving towards a happier, healthier future.
Don’t waste any more time. Call Breathe Life Healing Center today.