If you have a problem with methamphetamines, you can take comfort in knowing that you are not alone. In a 2015 study published by the National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health, the most recent data available, nearly 2 million people in America have taken methamphetamines at one time or another. Of those, over 800,000 have admitted to being addicted to the powerful drug.
For those who may not be familiar with methamphetamine, it is a highly addictive and illegal psychostimulant drug that produces a euphoric effect similar to that of cocaine. It also shares some of the same properties associated with its legal counterpart, amphetamines. Before being classified as a Schedule I drug, a federal classification assigned to drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse, methamphetamines were once prescribed to treat a host of legitimate health problems, including ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
WHY DO PEOPLE BECOME ADDICTED TO METHAMPHETAMINES?
Similar to prescription-based medication, those who took methamphetamines, while it was still legal, to treat legitimate health problems, such as insomnia, narcolepsy, depression, and ADHD, ultimately became addicted to the drug. According to a study published by Medical News Today, an online resource for medical news aimed at physicians and the general public, methamphetamines deliver a potent and long-lasting high that makes the drug exceedingly addictive. In some cases, individuals will transition from prescription stimulants to methamphetamines to achieve that stronger and more enduring high, according to a study conducted by UC Davis Health.
HOW DO METHAMPHETAMINES AFFECT THE BRAIN?
One of the things that make overcoming an addiction to methamphetamines difficult is the impact that the drug has on the brain. Also referred to as meth or crystal meth, methamphetamines can trigger a state of euphoria, which can last for 12 or more hours. The drug works by interacting with dopamine, one of the many neurotransmitters in the brain. When an individual takes methamphetamines, it triggers an increase in dopamine production, which, in turn, produces a long-lasting euphoric high.
COMMON SYMPTOMS OF METHAMPHETAMINE ABUSE
While symptoms of methamphetamine abuse can vary depending on how long an individual has been using, some of the more notable symptoms typically include
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in body temperature
- Weight loss
Ironically, most individuals will face these same symptoms when attempting to overcome their addiction to methamphetamines as well. It is also worth noting that methamphetamine abuse can take a toll on one’s physical appearance. More often than not, those who abuse this particular drug will develop open wounds, namely on their face, which can take a long time to heal. Furthermore, many individuals will develop severe dental problems as methamphetamines are known to damage tooth enamel and also cause gum disease.
ADHD AND METHAMPHETAMINE RECOVERY
Much like any other co-occurring disorder, treating methamphetamine addiction and ADHD requires a two-pronged approach that addresses both the addiction and the mental illness. Fortunately, most rehab facilities are equipped to handle both of these problems. Along with prescription medication to help ease severe withdrawal symptoms, many facilities will provide individuals with the following:
- Psychotherapy and psychological counseling
- Substance abuse counseling
- Peer support programs
- Contingency management
- Regular drug screens
WHAT IS THE HARDEST PART OF OVERCOMING AN ADDICTION TO METHAMPHETAMINES?
While detoxing from methamphetamines, many people will fall into a state of anhedonia, an inability to feel pleasure. And while in this state, most people will experience severe depression and intense drug cravings, both of which can lead to relapse. That said, it is worth noting that the effects of anhedonia can last for several months after completing rehab, which is about the same amount of time needed for dopamine levels to normalize once an individual stops using. Further complicating matters, there are no medications that can provide relief from anhedonia. To help combat feelings of depression associated with the condition, many physicians and therapists will often encourage individuals to take antidepressants until their dopamine levels return to normal. Those who are struggling with ADHD will also need to take prescription-based stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, for example.
Methamphetamines can significantly impact one’s physical and psychological health. And these problems can be even worse for those struggling with a co-occurring disorder like ADHD. Fortunately, there are several treatments that can help you reclaim control over your life. To learn more about treatments for co-occurring disorders, consider speaking with one of our addiction specialists today at 888-380-0342.