Methamphetamine is chemically similar to amphetamines, and produces similar effects in the user and can often require a specialist methamphetamine rehab clinic to help. Meths (as it is commonly known) can also be smoked, and has more pronounced effects than ordinary amphetamines. It is usually a white crystalline powder, but it can also be bought as tablets. Crystallised methamphetamine is commonly called “crystal meth” or “ice.” Most methamphetamine rehab programs use cognitive behavioural therapy as a method of treating the addiction, because there are currently no suitable medications.
Like speed (amphetamines), methamphetamine can be swallowed, injected or snorted. The drug dissolves easily in water or alcohol, and it’s made into a solution before injecting. Injecting it is a direct route into the bloodstream, which means that the effects take hold very quickly. When the drug is snorted or swallowed the reaction is slower, because it has to be digested or absorbed through the nasal tissue. Smoking methamphetamine produces a similar effect to injecting it, because it reaches the bloodstream rapidly through the lungs.
The effects of methamphetamine are similar to those of speed, except much more intense. The user will feel extremely alert, confident and energetic, which can often descend into paranoia and aggression. The drug increases levels of dopamine in the brain quickly, which produces the euphoric “rush” that users experience. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is important in the brain’s reward system and the experience of pleasure, and it also affects motor function. Methamphetamine increases heart rate and raises blood pressure, as well as reducing feelings of hunger.
The brain isn’t prepared for the surge of dopamine, which means it has to restructure to account for its continued presence. It alters how it functions in an effort to cope with the regular chemical input, and therefore becomes more resistant to it. The increased tolerance causes the user to take more of the drug, which compounds the problem. If the drug isn’t taken, the altered brain clamours for it, causing withdrawal symptoms which drive the person to use again. This is why people get addicted to drugs like methamphetamine, and why they need help from drug rehab programs to get clean.
There are both physical and psychological risks associated with chronic methamphetamine use. The drug has been known to cause psychoses, episodes of madness where the user loses touch with reality. Depending on the severity of the psychosis, the person might begin to believe things which aren’t true, for example, that somebody is “out to get them” or that they have insects crawling under their skin. Increases in blood pressure and heart rate can cause serious problems for anybody with a related condition. Methamphetamine can also cause confusion, insomnia, anxiety and mood-swings. The risks associated with the drug means that any user should seriously consider drug rehab if they can’t get clean.
Drug rehab programs for methamphetamine focus on psychological therapy because there are currently no medications to help with withdrawal. The most common therapy used is cognitive behavioural therapy, which aims to replace drug-seeking behaviours with healthier ones. The individual gains an understanding of the factors which drive them to addiction and where their negative behaviours stem from. Drug rehab programs focus on teaching new behaviours and coping mechanisms to help the person overcome their reliance on drugs.
If you or a loved one is addicted to methamphetamine, drug rehab should be a serious consideration. There are significant risks to frequent use, and the required counselling is widely available. We provide free advice on the different drug rehab centres available and can help you determine which one is right for your circumstances. Drug rehab programs employ different therapeutic models, and we can also explain the options to you if you’re struggling to reach a decision. We know that addiction causes problems for everybody concerned, and we are here to help you.