Crystal meth is an extremely toxic and addictive amphetamine. The drug was developed in 1919 in Japan and was used during WWII by both the Allies and Axis powers to keep their troops awake during intense fighting. Until the 1970s, the drug was legal in the U.S. It was prescribed for weight loss and depression until it became more potent and its abuse spread.
Now, the drug is illegal for most purposes. Doctors may prescribe it for extreme cases of obesity or to treat ADHD. But street meth is a potent substance that can be snorted or injected. There are three levels of abuse and most people who start out abusing meth use it to stay awake for tests, exams, or intense jobs. They may even try meth to curb their appetite and lose weight. Unfortunately, methamphetamine use can quickly spiral out of control. It is incredibly deadly and can leave its users with permanent disabilities and disfigurement.
How many people abuse crystal meth?
In the U.S., 13 million people over the age of 13 have used meth at least once in their lives. Currently, there are around half a million regular abusers of methamphetamine. About 9% of all people who enter drug rehab are there for crystal meth abuse. Some areas of the country also report higher rates of methamphetamine abuse and addiction than others. For example, drug abuse facilities in Hawaii indicate that 47% of patients are there for meth addiction. The problem is even more pronounced in some European countries, with up to 60% of drug rehab patients in the Czech Republic seeking help for methamphetamine abuse.
What are the different levels of methamphetamine abuse?
There are three levels of methamphetamine abuse. Rarely does anyone start at level three. Usually, people try the drug to curb their appetite or stay awake, and the abuse quickly gets out of control.
- Low-intensity meth abuse is when a person snorts or swallows the drug infrequently and at low doses for a specific reason. They may need to stay awake to study for an exam or have to pull a double-shift at work.
- Binge-meth abuse happens when a person begins injecting or smoking the drug to get a more intense high. If they do not take meth, they begin to experience withdrawals.
- High-intensity meth abuse occurs when a person is focused on avoiding a “crash” which is what happens once the meth high wears off. A crash is accompanied by painful and distressing withdrawal symptoms and an intense craving to use the drug. Users will continuously smoke or inject meth to avoid the crash.
What are the signs of meth abuse?
- Sudden, drastic weight loss
- Staying awake at odd hours
- Picking and scratching at the skin
- Missing work, school, and important events
- Increased levels of energy and high alertness
- Pinprick pupils
- Track marks
- Poor dental hygiene
- A haggard, worn appearance
- Skin lesions and scabs
- Evidence of meth use, including pipes for smoking, needles, or tourniquets
What can be done to treat crystal meth addiction?
People with a meth addiction often need to stay in detox and medical facility for several months. Methamphetamine abusers usually enter treatment with severe nutritional deficiencies, and they may also be sick from not getting enough vitamins and nutrients in their diet. It’s also a risk that they may have contracted a blood-borne illness while using. People in treatment for methamphetamine will need integrated care from a team of doctors, including:
- Trained drug abuse and treatment therapists
- Nutrition specialists
- Social workers
Detoxing from meth is also associated with delusions and paranoia. A person who is coming down off meth will need supervision from medical doctors and may also need to take safe, legal mediations to help them with withdrawal. After they have detoxed, they will need to stay in a treatment facility and undergo therapy and rehab to avoid a relapse.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with meth addiction, there is help. Please contact the caring and experienced drug abuse counselors at Mission Harbor Behavioral Health today to explore your options for addiction treatment.
The facilities at Mission Harbor are staffed with trained experts to best assist patients with their mental health issues. We are capable of dealing with any and all cases with a licensed staff, equipment, and approved techniques. Our mission is to help those who want to help themselves, and we support your decision in seeking help.
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