Meth has taken a backseat to opioids in the drug spotlight but it is still a very real and present danger. Find out the ins and outs of meth addiction and how Connecticut detox and rehab facilities can treat it.
Addiction in Connecticut
Prior to the ‘opioid crisis’ of today that is getting most of the news headlines, another drug was experiencing a resurgence and with its own severe impact and that was meth. Addiction to methamphetamines, commonly referred to by names like crystal meth or just ‘meth’, continues to affect many Americans including many here in Connecticut despite discussions centering around opioids.
Studies have found that disproportionately women are making up the majority of its growth in users at a ratio of 3 to 1. Women are also more susceptible to it at a younger age which influences the likelihood of it become the drug of choice. Women also were more likely to become addicted to it from its use as a balancing out of opioid effects. Many have self reported to use amphetamines and methamphetamines as a ‘pick-me-up’ to the drowsy and downer effects of the other drug they might be using like oxycodone or heroin.
People on meth can be extremely moody and unpredictable, even needlessly aggressive which leads to problems when brought into hospitals for overdose. Some users have required being police intervention to administer treatment as a result of psychosis induced by heavy use of the drug.
Effects of Meth
Methamphetamine use can be devastating on the psychological state of the user as well as physically damaging. Users often become paranoid and exhibit acute anxiety. Due to the stimulant nature of meth, it also promotes irregular sleeping along with insomnia. Oftentimes, binge usage can leave the user awake for 48 or more hours. This sleeplessness can cause visual and auditory hallucinations. Moods wings and random aggressive behavior can accent particularly strong behavioral effects. Some addictions come from using prescription amphetamines as alternative weight loss pills due to the appetite suppressing nature of the drug.
Overuse can lead to poor dietary habits and becoming physically malnourished. When addiction becomes stronger, it can create intense focus on seeking out more of the drug. Physically, increased heart rate and blood pressure can cause excessive cardiovascular stress on the user’s body, making them more susceptible to life threatening overdose effects like stroke. Because of the erratic behavior that is a trademark of addiction to meth, users tend to become estranged from family and friends, either through their own paranoia and aggression or from financial distress and betraying trust of loved ones. A specific list of effects are as follows:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- high body temperature
- loss of muscle control, muscle spasms, or tics
- sleep disturbances
- mood swings
- appetite loss
- fatigue and depression in between uses
Kinds of Amphetamines
Methamphetamines (crystal meth) is well known but amphetamine addiction can often begin with use of prescription drugs. Some of the more common doctor prescribed medications are Adderall and most ADHD medications that come under a variety of generic names. Some of these more mild forms are still habit forming. Some people compare it to ‘speed’, itself amphetamine. While many are prescribed with the intent of treating ADHD, recent studies and articles argue that the use of the drug does not increase student performance or concentration in that context.
All have similar effects of speeding up the heart and breathing. Casual usage is typically centered around its ability to help with weight loss and with energy and assists some people with increased ability to concentrate on daily tasks with more focus. Because of their stimulant properties, lack of sleep often accompanies misuse of all forms. Prescription amphetamine are used in a variety of ways by addicts including crushing up to snort or dilute in water for direct injection. Methamphetamine tends to be smoked, snorted, eaten or also diluted into water and injected with a syringe.
Long Term Use Side Effect
Methamphetamine comes with a variety of physical and psychological side effects. Many users exhibit extreme dental problems including tooth rot and losing teeth. Many meth users have poor eating habits and will lose a lot of weight and become malnourished. Users may also exhibit depression and anxiety while addicted. A recent study showed a difference in usage patterns in men and women which lead to women being shown to have a higher risk of depression during and after treatment for addiction. They also tended to be younger in general compared to the male users and most had tried some form of amphetamine as young as 14, usually a prescription drug form.
Some suicide attempts have been attributed to long term use induced depression. The receptors of the brain that respond to neurotransmitters of pleasure signals become damaged from meth use over long periods of time, making the user feel continually depressed. Long term users also exhibit loss of normal cognitive functions.
Primary Treatment Options
Treatment for amphetamine and methamphetamine addictions rely entirely on behavioral therapy and psychotherapy. Unlike opioids, there are not any special drugs to combat withdrawal or the more radical behaviors from heavy usage. Some hospitals have reported needing physical restraints to during especially severe patients with heavy addiction to meth.
Patients seeking treatment often need mental health treatment alongside behavioral therapies as well. Meth is one of the drugs that affects dopamine releases as well, which can over stimulate pleasure which then can create a situation where ‘normal’ feels ‘underwhelming’ in a sort of depression. As with most holistic approaches, therapies come in a variety of approaches including group and one on one activities and methods. Family therapy is also typical in better facilities that attempt to restore family unity in the aftermath of addictive behaviors.
Long term users may also require special therapy to work on the loss of mental functionality as well. Patients may normally have a choice between a 12 step style group or a more modern group therapy approach as part of their treatment. Some treatments also offer incentive programs and various kinds of rewards for remaining meth free post graduation from initial treatment.
If you or a loved one is facing a meth addiction in Connecticut, contact us now to learn about the rehab services available to you.