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Treatment for Meth Addiction
In the fictional TV series “Breaking Bad”, Walter White is a scientist who becomes a meth cook. He never used his product because he saw what horrors meth addiction can cause. Eventually, Walter and his family suffer the consequences of a lifestyle that is centered around crystal meth. While the show is fictional, it does show a fairly accurate portrayal of drug abuse, drug dealing, and illicit activities that go along with it.
Meth Addiction Facts & Statistics
What is Crystal Meth?
Methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, chalk, and ice, among other terms) is an extremely addictive stimulant drug that is chemically similar to amphetamine. It takes the form of a white, odorless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder.
How is Crystal Meth Used?
Methamphetamine is taken orally, smoked, snorted, or dissolved in water or alcohol and injected. Smoking or injecting the drug delivers it very quickly to the brain, where it produces an immediate, intense euphoria. Because the pleasure also fades quickly, users often take repeated doses, in a “binge and crash” pattern.
How is Crystal Meth Made?
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, most of the methamphetamine abused in the United States is manufactured in “superlabs”, often, in Mexico. The drug is also easily made in small, clandestine laboratories, with relatively inexpensive over-the-counter ingredients such as pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicines. To curb production of methamphetamine, pharmacies and other retail stores are required by law to keep logs of purchases of products containing pseudoephedrine. In addition, individuals have a limit that they can purchase per day.
Methamphetamine production uses a number of very hazardous chemicals. It may include: battery acid, red phosphorous, hydrogen chloride, hydriodic acid, and acetone. Toxicity from these chemicals can remain in the environment around a methamphetamine production lab long after the lab has been shut down, causing a wide range of health problems for people living in the area. Labs can also explode and cause damage to nearby property or loss of life.
Crystal Meth Facts
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that almost 500 metric tons of amphetamine stimulants are produced worldwide every year.
Almost 24.7 million people abuse amphetamines.
In 2008, approximately 13 million people over age of 12 used methamphetamine according to US government data.
In 2007, 4.5% of American high-school seniors and 4.1% of tenth grade students reported using methamphetamine at least once.
In the United States, the percentage of drug treatment admissions due to methamphetamine and amphetamine abuse tripled from 3% in 1996 to 9% in 2006. Some states have much higher percentages, such as Hawaii, where 48.2% of the people seeking help for drug or alcohol abuse in 2007 were methamphetamine users.
What is the high from Crystal Meth like?
Crystal meth can make users have a feeling of invincibility. It gives users an instant rush, like an adrenaline spike. It is this feeling of being able to conquer the world that makes meth addictive.
Long-term users of Crystal Meth often experience binges where they do as much meth as they can get, for as long as possible. This is usually until their money runs out. When they cannot get any more meth, they start a phase where they “tweak out,” and their body and mind become exhausted. At that point, they crash and can sleep for a day or longer. The hangover from a meth binge can last for days.
Users that are high on meth often acted in an unpredictable manner. Even the nicest person can become abusive verbally and physically to the point that they inadvertently injure or kill themselves or someone else. It could be a family member, friend, or total stranger.
Abusers can reach a point where they do not feel anything unless they are high. This is one of the reasons that the vast majority of meth addicts take to theft or other illegal activities to support their habit. They must have more, and will go to any lengths for it.
How Methamphetamines Affect the Brain
According to The National Institute on Drug Abuse, Methamphetamine increases the amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine, leading to high levels of that chemical in the brain. Dopamine is involved in reward, motivation, the experience of pleasure, and motor function. Methamphetamine rapidly releases dopamine. This makes the brain feel a euphoric “rush” or “flash.” Repeated methamphetamine use can easily lead to addiction—a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use.
Some brain chemistry changes persist long after methamphetamines are stopped. Some can take more than a year to recover.
What is the origin of Crystal Meth?
Amphetamines were first created in 1887 in Germany. After that, methamphetamine was synthesized from ephedrine in 1893 in Japan. Three decades later, in 1919, methamphetamine hydrochloride was discovered.
Crystal Meth usage dates back to World War II. It was given to German soldiers as a pill and promoted as an “alertness aid.” It reduced fatigue, made it so soldiers didn’t need to sleep as much, and suppressed their hunger. Essentially, it was engineered to make better soldiers so that they could fight longer and harder and be afraid.
After the war, according to CrystalMethAddiction.org, Crystal Meth was widely used in Japan in tablet-form and labeled “work pills.” It was also used as a popular diet pill in the US around the 50’s and 60’s. It wasn’t until the late 1960s that Crystal Meth became known as a dangerous drug with substantial health threats to users. In 1974, concerns about Crystal Meth led to the passage of the 1974 Drug Control Act, which drastically limited the medicinal usage of all amphetamines. This virtually eliminated large-scale abuse. From the 70’s-80’s, Crystal Meth use in the U.S. was mainly manufactured by Hells Angels and other biker gangs. It was limited to several California cities. In the mid-1980s Crystal Meth use escalated dramatically in Honolulu. Crystal Meth has seen a drastic resurgence from the 1990’s to the present day. It has become a massive epidemic in the Midwest, southern states, and northeastern US.
Health Effects of Methamphetamines
- Increased wakefulness, heart-rate, respiration, physical activity, blood pressure, and body temperature.
- A decreased appetite or extreme weight loss.
- Severe dental problems, including rotting teeth and gums (known as Meth Mouth).
- Skin sores from itching.
- Increased risk of infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C, either from sharing needles, or unsafe sex. Also, a lowered ability to fight off such diseases.
- Psychological problems, including dementia, hallucinations, and paranoia.
How to get help with a Crystal Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is one of the most difficult addictions to treat. The chemicals that make it so addictive and powerful often do not completely leave the body for as long as 90 days. This can make withdrawal very difficult, and make the cravings sustain for a long time. Over 90 percent of people that are addicted to meth end up going back to it.
Are you tired of your mind and normal mental abilities being diminished? Are you tired of losing sleep, hallucinating, being confused, having anxiety attacks, and feeling psychotic? Are you afraid that meth may put you in a mental institution for the rest of your life?
Step One Rehab is here to help you.
The reason that Step One Rehab has a much higher success rate in treating meth addiction is because we have connections to the most effective meth treatment facilities around the country. If you are on meth and cannot get off it, call us for help that works. Call us today.
National Institute on Drug Abuse
Foundation for a Drug Free World
Crystal Meth Addiction.org