Methamphetamine Abuse, Dependence and Treatment

Treatment for Methamphetamine Abuse and Dependence - Addiction Treatment Services

Amphetamines can provide a person with much-needed help in fighting specific disorders, but also carry the potential for addiction development. Methamphetamine, in particular, poses a great risk, due to its effective and overwhelming delivery system.

Abuse or reliance on such stimulants can lead to a stimulant abuse disorder. Recovery depends on the person in danger of addiction, and those around them, being informed of the risks and consequences, including how best to start the road to recovery.

Necessary information includes understanding:

  • What the drugs are
  • Their side effects
  • Which symptoms one may experience during withdrawal
  • What options exist to help recovery

What Is Methamphetamine?

Known by many names, including meth, chalk, ice and crystal, this stimulant drug affects the central nervous system. This highly addictive substance most often comes in a white, bitter crystalline powder that lacks any odor and dissolves quickly in water or alcohol.

First discovered in the early 20th century, methamphetamine originated from amphetamine and, at first, was used in decongestants and inhalers. Use of the drug boosted activity and talkativeness, reduced hunger and flooded a person with a euphoric feeling.

The primary difference between methamphetamine and its parent drug lies in how much of the drug makes it into the brain when similar doses are administered. Methamphetamine enters the brain in much higher quantities, making it the more powerful stimulant, and the one with the most harmful effects on the nervous system.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II stimulant, limiting the legal acquisition to non-refillable prescriptions. These prescriptions include use for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and certain weight management regimens. However, these doses are well below the potential abuse doses.

What Is Desoxyn?

Many people ask if Desoxyn is meth, but the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Desoxyn is a version of methamphetamine that most often sees use in treatment of children diagnosed with ADHD or exogenous obesity. The drug operates as a nerve stimulant, taking the form of a substrate acting on the neurotransmitters that produce serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

Desoxyn stimulates production levels of these neurotransmitters, increasing the quantity to help keep them in the body longer. This boosts attention span in children and acts as an appetite inhibitor for those suffering from exogenous obesity.

Methamphetamine Side Effects

Methamphetamine boosts the production of dopamine, while blocking the body’s reabsorption of the neurotransmitter. This keeps dopamine in the body in greater concentration. Because this neurotransmitter causes a person to feel motivated, excited or happy, accelerated release sends a person into a euphoric state.

Overuse or abuse of meth stems from a chemical change to the brain, creating a dependence. A person can develop a tolerance to ADHD drugs like Desoxyn in as little as two weeks, meaning the potential for a person to develop a dependence, either physical or psychological, is strong and likely to happen early in use.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Crystal Methamphetamine Use

For users who are cut off from methamphetamine, a series of withdrawal symptoms will manifest. During use, the users already experience some of the symptoms because they tend to binge use the drug, leading to extreme highs followed by a severe crash, leaving them fatigued and seeking more of the drug.

Physical withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Oversleeping
  • Dehydration
  • Compulsive hunger
  • Stomach pain or irritability from overeating
  • Poor coordination
  • Body shakes or seizures
  • Arrhythmia or tachycardia
  • Cardiac arrest

Psychological symptoms of meth withdrawal include:

  • Being quick to anger
  • Irritability
  • Extreme sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Craving drugs or something else
  • Massive mood swings
  • Anxious or depression
  • Nightmares or hallucinations
  • Suicidal ideation

Patients taking Desoxyn may take it upon themselves to boost their dosage if they start to lose the associated feelings or reactions to the drug. If use of Desoxyn is cut off, a patient may experience numerous withdrawal symptoms. These include fatigue, insomnia, irritability, nausea or vomiting, depression and personality shifts.

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

The method for methamphetamine addiction treatment with the best record of success is behavioral therapy. This includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management interventions.

One effective strategy is a comprehensive approach, which uses:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Education for the support system
  • Individual counseling
  • Regular drug testing
  • Multi-step support system
  • Positive encouragement toward activities that don’t involve the drug

Another effective strategy lies in using an incentive-based approach, wherein the patient receives tangible prizes as a reward for taking part in treatment programs. An example would be the Motivational Incentives for Enhancing Drug Abuse Recovery, a treatment created to aid recovery from cocaine abuse. The program has demonstrated efficacy in aiding methamphetamine abusers in understanding how to quit smoking methamphetamine.

Many drug addiction recovery programs rely on medical aid to help fight withdrawal symptoms and to enable a speedier recovery. However, no medications currently exist that counteract effects from methamphetamine abuse or help extend the abstinence period from drug reliance.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) prioritized finding a drug that can help with recovery from stimulant addiction. Recent research focused on targeting activity in the glial cells, where a new drug showed it could suppress neuroinflammatory reactions.

Another approach takes advantage of the immune system, placing antibodies in the bloodstream to encourage white blood cells to learn to attack methamphetamine in the body before it reaches the brain.

Road to Recovery

While many promising approaches exist, the most effective program a person can use in their journey to recovery involves a professional recovery team such as those found at rehabilitation centers. These facilities have the right equipment to monitor a patient’s symptoms as medical professionals keep the patient as healthy as possible. They can provide needed medication and activities that promote recovery.

Many rehab centers include holistic approaches that take advantage of non-traditional treatment methods such as acupuncture and massage to help keep the body healthy.

Finding Methamphetamine Addiction Help

The threat from amphetamines and their derivative forms remains strong. Help does exist, however, as the nation takes this threat more and more seriously. From new drug tests to help dealing with withdrawal to medical centers dedicated to walking a patient through a recovery program, no one needs to face this problem alone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with stimulant addiction, seek help today. Addiction Treatment Services offers a trusted hand in finding the help you need. Reach out to us for a consultation.

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