Meth Addiction & Treatment
According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 10.4 million Americans age 12 and older have tried methamphetamines at least once. Recent studies of chronic meth abusers revealed severe changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. That may account for many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in chronic meth abusers.
Methamphetamine is is a stimulant with high potential for abuse. Addicts purchase meth that is “cooked” in small, illegal laboratories, where its production endangers the people in the labs, the neighbors and the environment. “Crystal” meth is methamphetamine hydrochloride which is made into clear, chunky crystals resembling ice and can be inhaled by smoking. Meth can be taken orally, by snorting through the nose, by needle injection or by smoking.
People quickly become addicted, needing more of the drug more often. Meth stimulates the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which enhances mood and body movement. High doses of the drug damage neuron cell endings. Even small amounts of methamphetamine can result in increased wakefulness, increased physical activity, decreased appetite, increased respiration, rapid heart rate, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure and hyperthermia. Other effects may include irritability, anxiety, insomnia, confusion, tremors, convulsions and cardiovascular collapse and death. Long term effects include paranoia, aggressiveness, extreme anorexia, memory loss, visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions and severe dental problems. Skin lesions can be noted, particularly on the face of heavy users. Intravenous users have an increased risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.
The intoxicating effects of meth alters judgment and inhibition, and leads people to engage in unsafe and frequently criminal behaviors. There is a high level of violence in the meth community, partly due to the effects of the drug, and partly due to the drug trade.
The most effective treatments for meth addiction are behavioral therapies. Recovery is slowed by the addict’s state of anhedonia – lack of the ability to feel joy or happiness – following loss of the drug. This state can last up to a year and sometimes becomes unbearable, leading the addict back to the addiction.
To learn more about Kansas City Community Center and alcohol or drug abuse, or to get more information about our Kansas City alcohol and drug treatment programs in the metro area, please contact us at 866-242-6670 or send us an e-mail.