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Facts About Meth Addiction | National Meth Awareness Day

facts about meth addiction

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant. Known as meth, ice, blue, crystal, and speed, the use of methamphetamine can cause devastating results. National Meth Awareness Day is November 30, a time to gather more information, to truly understand the facts about meth addiction.

National Meth Awareness Day

In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed November 30 as National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. The nationwide effort’s focus is on educating the American public about the effects of meth addiction and abuse on individuals, families, and communities. The designated day is a coordinated effort to reach potential meth users with a message of prevention and to educate current users on the facts about meth addiction, including available treatment options.

Meth Use in the US

According to the CDC, the availability of meth and the damage it causes have been increasing in the US. An estimated 1.6 million adults reported past year methamphetamine use between 2015 and 2018. Of those, 52.9% had a meth use disorder and 22.3% said they had injected meth within the past year. In addition, there was a high incidence of substance use and mental illness as co-occurring conditions among those who had used meth in the past year.

How is Meth Used?

Methamphetamine comes in many forms. Meth can be taken by smoking, swallowing a pill, snorting, or injecting the powder that has been dissolved in water or alcohol. Crystal meth is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, a sleep disorder. Regardless of how it is used, though, meth is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

What Are the Effects of Meth?

Meth works by increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the natural chemical that is involved in motivation, the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors, and body movements. When the drug rapidly releases high levels of dopamine in the brain’s reward areas, it strongly reinforces the drug-taking behavior, making the user want or need to repeat the experience, often resulting in addiction.

The short-term health effects of meth use can include increased wakefulness and physical activity, decreased appetite, and increased blood pressure and body temperature. When meth is used long term, the damages to the brain and body can include severe dental problems also known as meth mouth, intense itching, paranoia, and violent behavior.

The Facts About Meth Addiction

Long-term meth use also often leads to addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) explains that a tolerance to meth’s pleasurable effects develops when the drug is taken repeatedly. The user often needs to take higher doses, take it more frequently, or change how they take it to be able to continue to get the desired effect. In fact, chronic methamphetamine abusers may develop difficulty feeling any pleasure other than that provided by the drug, and that just serves to fuel further abuse.

People who are addicted to methamphetamine and who use the drug long term may exhibit symptoms that can include significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. They also may display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions (for example, the sensation of insects creeping under the skin).

These psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit using meth. When someone who was addicted and who previously experienced psychosis comes under a significant amount of stress, the symptoms of psychosis have known to return. These and other problems reflect significant changes in the brain caused by meth addiction and misuse.

Overdoses

Anyone who uses the drug can overdose on methamphetamine. Meth overdose often leads to a stroke, heart attack, organ problems, or death. Drug overdose deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential (including methamphetamine) rose from 547 in 1999 to 12,676 in 2018.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from methamphetamine occurs when a chronic abuser stops taking the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal include depression, anxiety, fatigue, psychosis, and an intense craving for the drug. One of the most important facts about meth addiction is that the person who is addicted should seek help to undergo medically supervised detox so they can safely work through the withdrawal symptoms and work toward a successful recovery.

CONTACT BRC RECOVERY FOR HELP

When you are struggling with an addiction to meth, recovery starts with supervised detox so you can safely rid your body of the toxic substance. At BRC Recovery, we help you heal your mind and your body while addressing the underlying issues that lead to your addiction. We bring you real change for your life, with proven treatment options that will empower you to recreate and reclaim your life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we offer a safe, clean environment so you can continue receiving the highest quality of care. To learn more about our services and to get the help you need, please call BRC Recovery at 1-866-291-2676 to speak to our team.

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