Meth, short for methamphetamine, is a very addictive stimulant drug that is used in a variety of ways, including injection, smoking, and inhaling. It is a highly potent stimulant, with long lasting effects on the central nervous system. It goes by many other names, including ice, crystal, and glass (all refer to its appearance – it is a white, odorless powder that easily dissolves in liquid).
Meth usage causes feelings of euphoria and a burst of energy because it releases the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is involved in pleasure and motivation. By taking meth, a person experiences more than ten times the dopamine level than people do during sexual activity.
Signs of Meth Usage
If you think someone you know might be addicted to meth, keep an eye out for some of the most common warning signs:
- Hair Loss: the dangerous chemicals in meth, plus the lack of nutrients in most addicts’ bodies, can lead to hair loss.
- Meth Mouth: The drug can also cause teeth to decay, resulting in the appearance many people refer to as “meth mouth.”
- Invisible Bugs:> Users might complain that their skin feels like its crawling, which is known as formication.
- Open Sores: You might see open sores on the face or other body parts due to the skin picking that is common in meth addicts.
In the long term, abuse of meth can lead to aggressive behavior, memory loss (and changes in brain structure), psychosis, and mood disturbances. The addiction can eventually result in death.
When an addict stops taking meth, they experience withdrawal symptoms, which many compare to the worst flu they can imagine. These symptoms go away when they use the drug again, making it very difficult for a person to stay clean long enough for the drug to completely leave their body.
To successfully detox from meth, and addict needs experienced help. Unlike at home, a detox center has professionals on hand to guide an addict through the withdrawal process. It does not end there, either. After withdrawal, there is still a long road to recovery, which usually includes counseling and group therapy to help overcome the triggers that lead to addiction in the first place.