Although methamphetamine has been in the news quite a lot in recent years, this drug is not new. Many people have become more familiar with the substance thanks to TV programmes such as Breaking Bad, but it has actually been around since the early 1900s. It was used to keep soldiers awake during World War II, and the Japanese used it in high doses for their Kamikaze pilots.

The drug became widely used in the 1950s as a tool for fighting depression but it was also used as a diet aid. Abuse of methamphetamine became a problem in the 1960s in the US, with college students, athletes and truck drivers all using it as a stimulant. The US Government banned all forms of methamphetamine in 1970.

Methamphetamine, or meth as it is also known, has become much more potent today, thanks to manufacturing methods evolving. This powerful drug is highly addictive and can wreak havoc on the lives of those who use it and on those closest to them.

Effects of Methamphetamine

There are a number of short- and long-term effects of using methamphetamine. Because the drug is so potent, it can have a startling effect, even in very small doses. Short term effects of methamphetamine include:

  • reduced appetite
  • alertness
  • increased energy
  • rapid heartbeat
  • rapid breathing
  • euphoria
  • raised body temperature.

The longer term effects of methamphetamine use can be quite serious and include:

  • addiction
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations
  • delusion
  • psychosis
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • insomnia
  • weight loss
  • severe dental problems
  • skin sores from scratching.

Signs of Methamphetamine Abuse

If you are worried that a loved one is abusing a drug such as methamphetamine, you should be on the lookout for a number of signs; these could include decreased appetite and increased alertness. Meth users tend not to need much sleep and seem more attentive. They may be chattier than usual but could complain of feeling very hot and having a rapid heartbeat.

Those who have developed an addiction to methamphetamine will probably display physical symptoms such as skin sores and tooth decay. Meth addicts often feel as though their skin is crawling; because of this, they will pick at their skin obsessively. They often appear to be suffering from acne or chicken pox because of the open sores their constant scratching causes.

Meth mouth is a common symptom of a meth addiction, and most addicts suffer from severe dental problems. Meth addicts may also begin to lose their hair because they are ingesting a number of dangerous chemicals on top of not getting the required nutrients from food.

Consequences

Meth addicts can suffer from a breakdown in relationships with family members and friends. Their preoccupation with the drug often leads to them neglecting the people they love; in their efforts to get their hands on cash to fund their habit, they may lie to, and cheat, their loved ones.

Addicts may also become isolated and withdrawn because they are hiding their drug use from those closest to them. They will avoid spending time with loved ones in favour of taking the drug they have become obsessed with. Their performance at work will suffer and many will be unable to keep their job because of the addiction.

Because increased arousal and lack of inhibition are side effects of meth use, many methamphetamine addicts will engage in risky sexual behaviour, so will have an increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant.

Taking methamphetamine when pregnant can have serious consequences for the unborn child. It is thought that it could result in an increased risk of placental abruption, premature birth, and small birth weight. Babies born to methamphetamine-addicted mothers are also at risk of being born with brain or heart abnormalities.

Treating Methamphetamine Addiction

Addiction is an illness that can be treated but not cured. However, those affected can be helped to get clean and sober and to learn to live without the need for this chemical substance. Here at Addiction Helper, we do not provide treatment for addiction but work with a large number of organisations in the public and private sectors that do. Our goal is to help as many people as possible affected by addiction to get the treatments they need to overcome their illnesses.

As with most drug addictions, it will probably be necessary for you to complete a programme of detoxification before starting rehab. It is essential that you are free from methamphetamine before you can be treated for your addictive behaviour.

The private clinics, local support groups and charity organisations we work with provide a range of treatments for meth addiction, which may include one-to-one counselling, group therapy sessions, cognitive behavioural therapy, 12-step work, and skills development.

Many residential clinics provide education about addiction as an illness, and experienced counsellors and therapists will help to identify triggers for compulsive behaviour. You and your family may also have access to family therapy sessions and you will be given the tools necessary for independent sober living.

Many of the clinics we work with believe that the entire person should be treated and, therefore, use a person-centred approach that focuses on the mind, body and spirit. Holistic and alternative therapies such as equine-assisted therapy, yoga, acupuncture, fitness and dance therapy may also be offered.

The type of treatment offered will depend on the provider, but whether you choose an outpatient or inpatient programme, you can expect a high level of care and support at all times. Addiction Helper works with accredited treatment providers to ensure that all clients can access top level care designed to help them overcome their addictions.

For more information on how Addiction Helper can help you, call us today.