Methamphetamine debuted in our country in the early 20th century. Used in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers, the drug served a legitimate purpose until the effects of meth appeared when people began to display signs of euphoria and increased activity. Today, the drug is classified as a Schedule II stimulant available only by non-refillable prescription. It is occasionally used as a treatment for ADHD and as a weight-loss treatment.
Interestingly, this drug differs from its parent drug, amphetamine. First, methamphetamine delivers higher amounts of the drug into a person’s brain, making in a more potent stimulant than amphetamine. Additionally, it has longer-lasting effects on the central nervous system, giving it an increased potential for abuse.
How is Methamphetamine Ingested?
The preferred method of ingestion varies according to geographical region. However, according to NIDA data, smoking the drug is the most common form of abuse. This method of ingestion gives the user an immediate, intense “rush” that is short-lived. In addition to gaining an instant high, the user is also gaining a destructive addiction.
Other methods of ingesting methamphetamine include snorting or oral ingestion. The user will gain brief euphoria. However, it is not as intense as that gained by smoking the drug. Also, the effects are delayed somewhat. For instance, snorting takes 3 to 5 minutes to produce effects. Likewise, oral ingestion takes 15 to 20 minutes to create effects.
Users of methamphetamine try to maintain their “high” by taking more of the drug. They engage in a pattern of use known as “binge and crash.” Also, they practice a form of binging known as a “run”. During this type of binge, the user avoids any food or sleep while taking the drug for several days at a time.
These dangerous behaviors take a toll on the user’s brain and body in a variety of ways. Some of the effects are easily recognized because the person’s entire appearance changes drastically.
Why Do Methamphetamine Addicts Look So Sick?
One of the most common tell-tale signs of a methamphetamine addict is the condition known as “meth mouth.” The most noticeable sign of meth mouth is loose, decaying, or missing teeth.
Methamphetamine addicts look sick because they often lose a lot of weight due to the appetite suppressant effects of the drug. Additionally, the appearance of sores on the surface of the skin makes the person appear unclean and unhealthy.
Not only do methamphetamine addicts show outward signs of addiction, but there are also negative effects happening to the person’s body that we can’t see. For instance, damages to major organs such as the liver and kidneys can affect the user’s health giving them a yellow tinge such as that seen with Hepatitis C sufferers. Heart damage, high blood pressure, and digestive problems are also among the unseen effects.
Another noticeable effect of methamphetamine abuse is thinning hair. The hair will also appear dry and brittle. This sparse hair combined with the lack of personal hygiene leaves the person looking unhealthy.
Overall, a meth addict is a physically sick person, and their appearance will continue to degrade unless treatment is sought as soon as possible.
How Bad Can It Get?
A worst case scenario is that the person will eventually die from the effects of methamphetamine addiction. In the meantime, the user will battle daily with effects such as:
- memory loss
- aggressive behavior
- violent outbursts
- mood disturbances
Other than the physical health problems suffered by methamphetamine addicts, many of them are also dealing with destroyed families, financial ruin, homelessness, and complete loss of self-respect.
How to Find Help
The most effective method for overcoming methamphetamine addiction involves a combination of professional detoxification followed by time spent in an inpatient rehabilitation facility. Unfortunately, there is no easy way out of this addiction. Recovery requires personal determination, support from friends and family, and the right treatment program.
If you are ready to take back control of your life, call today. We know what you need to do to overcome the effects of meth addiction. Our expertise combined with your desire to succeed is the perfect solution.