How Bad Is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug with a widespread reputation for causing serious harm.
But does the drug deserve this reputation? Is it as bad as people say?
The simple answer to this question is yes.
Methamphetamine (also known as meth, crystal, glass, ice, and speed) can damage your health in many different ways.
One of its most well-known risks is addiction.
People who use the drug often can easily end up in an addictive cycle that is difficult to break.
But even if you do not get addicted, abuse of the drug can damage your mental and physical well-being. In a worst-case scenario, it can also kill you.
But rest assured, you are not doomed to suffer these kinds of tragic outcomes.
If you are abusing meth or addicted to the drug, you can break free with help from trained professionals.
No matter how hopeless you feel today, effective meth rehab will help you turn things around.
In the U.S., some people use a legally prescribed form of methamphetamine. However, the majority of users consume an illegal form of the drug. Any recreational form of drug use automatically qualifies as substance abuse. You can also abuse legal meth if you:
- Take it without having a prescription
- Consume it more often or in larger amounts than your doctor prescribed
Mental Impact of Abuse
Even without considering addiction, abuse of the drug can lead to serious mental health consequences. The worst of these consequences tend to affect long-term users. They include such things as:
- Unusual outbursts of aggression or violence
- Memory problems
- Unpredictable mood changes
- A reduced ability to focus attention
- Problems thinking logically
But these are not the only potential effects. Some people also develop psychosis, a problem generally associated with serious illnesses like schizophrenia. Not all examples of psychosis are the same. However, its most typical symptoms include:
- Paranoid and/or delusional thoughts
- Sensory hallucinations
- Involuntary, repeated muscle movements
It would be bad enough if you only experienced psychosis during active periods of drug use. However, for some people, the situation is far worse. Even after they quit taking methamphetamine, they still go through psychotic episodes. These episodes can continue to appear for years in some cases.
Physical Impact of Abuse
Over time, the drug can also seriously impact your physical health. For example, meth can change the structure of your brain. This fact helps explain at least some of the mental problems linked to the drug. In some cases, meth-related brain damage is permanent. Long-term users may also experience serious or permanent damage to their:
Another potential impact is extremely high blood pressure. In turn, this problem can lead to fatal strokes or heart attacks.
Even with all of this, there are more physical problems linked to the drug. One of these problems is advanced dental damage, often known as “meth mouth.” Common symptoms of meth mouth include:
- Decaying teeth
- Stained or discolored teeth
- Diseased gums
- Pain in your jaw’s joints and muscles
Because of changes in their diet, many long-term users are malnourished and lose lots of weight. You may also develop itchy skin, and some people scratch with enough force to cause significant skin damage.
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Methamphetamine shares a major danger with the stimulants cocaine and amphetamine. Namely, it can serve as a powerful source of drug addiction. Addiction happens when your brain comes to depend on the drug, and you feel compelled to seek it out.
When you started using crystal, you almost certainly had no interest in getting addicted. Instead, you turned to the drug because you wanted, in your way, to feel better. Nevertheless, every time you get high, your chances of addiction go up.
In fact, compared to amphetamine and cocaine, meth may pose an even greater risk. This is true, in part, because the drug produces stronger feelings of pleasure. In addition, its effects do not last for long. Together, these two facts increase the odds you will try to get high repeatedly, even in short spans of time. This is a custom-made recipe for the rapid production of drug addiction.
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On its own, meth addiction is a form of a mental illness called stimulant use disorder. However, people who abuse methamphetamine also have higher risks for other kinds of mental illness. In addition to schizophrenia, the list of potential conditions includes:
- Bipolar disorders
- BPD or borderline personality disorder
- Major depression and other depressive illnesses
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Anxiety-related conditions, like generalized anxiety disorder
This does not necessarily mean that your drug problems led to your other mental health problems. This may be true for some people. However, there are many possible explanations for your situation. For example, you may have developed a mental illness before you got involved in substance abuse. Still, the overall danger is clear. People who abuse drugs or alcohol are affected by mental illness at an unusually high rate.
Like a wide range of other substances, crystal and other forms of meth can trigger an overdose. Why? Because they have the potential to overwhelm your system and stop it from working as it should. The drug causes about 15% of all fatal overdoses in the U.S. Some people die as a result of a stroke. Others die from heart attacks. You are especially at risk if you also abuse an opioid drug or medication.
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Meaningful Treatment is Available
Given all of these dangers, it is easy to see methamphetamine is as bad as experts say. However, this does not mean that problems related to the drug are untreatable. There are effective ways to recover from addiction and make a substantial return to health. This fact holds true regardless of how long you have abused meth or been addicted.
The best possible way to stop abusing the drug is to enter a supervised detox program. Detox will give you the tools to halt your substance use and cope with meth-related withdrawal. These tools include forms of care, such as:
- Making sure you get enough fluids
- Taking steps to improve your nutritional health
- Tracking your heart rate and other vital signs
Once you get the drug out of your system, you can start active rehab. Drug rehab for methamphetamine is based on the use of behavioral therapy. That is the name for therapy that helps you make major changes in your everyday behavior. Such changes include:
- Understanding why you get drug cravings
- Recognizing the signals of an increase in your desire to get high
- Coping with your urges and remaining drug-abstinent
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Seek Methamphetamine Treatment Today
Meth can leave you feeling so damaged that recovery seems almost impossible.
But no matter how convinced you are, the facts do not support this point of view.
Every day, people are affected by the drug enter treatment programs.
And once in treatment, they take the steps needed to make a return to sobriety more than just a dream.
Without a doubt, it can be challenging to overcome a methamphetamine problem.
But you do have options for moving forward.
Need help getting started? Just contact the professionals at Pathfinders.
We specialize in supporting the recovery needs of people just like you.
With our assistance, sobriety is within reach.