Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant drug found in a variety of forms such as powder, liquid, or a crystal-looking rock. Meth is incredibly powerful, even in small doses, and the intense high usually follows an uncomfortable crash. Addiction to meth can be utterly debilitating. Whilst meth is considered a Class-A drug and an extremely difficult habit to kick, recovery is possible. It is always advised to seek professional help when attempting to quit meth. If you or someone you love is suffering from a meth addiction, speak in confidence to a trained professional for advice on where to find treatment.
What is Meth?
Meth and crystal meth are the two most common names for methamphetamine, which correspond with its two popular forms, powder and rock. Methamphetamine is a synthetic drug that is similar to amphetamine and is typically ‘cut’ with other chemical substances. Meth produces a powerful, euphoric effect on its users and typically the need for another dose comes quickly after the first hit.
Crystal meth is clear or blue and takes the shape of coarse crystals that are said to resemble ice, also one of its street names. This rock form of methamphetamine is usually smoked. Meth is a white, crystalline powder that easily dissolves in water or alcohol and can be taken orally, nasally, intravenously or by smoking.
Some of the most popular street names for meth include:
- Crack meth
- Hawaiian salt
- Black beauties
Health Risks of Meth Abuse
Meth abuse, whether short-term or long-term, has many negative health risks, including extreme weight loss, severe dental problems, commonly known as “meth mouth”, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behaviour. Abusing meth puts you at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke as a direct result of your drug abuse.
If you’re a chronic meth user, you may notice yourself displaying a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations and delusions, for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin. The intoxicating effects of meth can alter judgment and remove inhibitions. This can lead to you engaging in risky behaviours such as unsafe sex and drug use. The consequences of these actions put you at greater risk of contracting an STD, HIV and Hepatitis.
Side Effects of Meth Abuse
Meth’s ability to release dopamine rapidly in “reward” regions of the brain produces intense euphoria often called a “rush”; users feel this rush after taking the drug. Many of the short and long-term side effects of meth abuse disappear either immediately or over a period of time, once the meth user stops using the drug.
Short-Term Effects of Meth include:
- Erratic, violent behaviour
- Risky sexual behaviour
- Suppressed appetite
- Mood swings
- Increased physical activity
- Increased alertness/wakefulness
- High blood pressure
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiration
- Suicidal thoughts
- Cravings for more of the drug
Chronic meth abuse can significantly change how your brain functions by reducing motor skills and impairing cognitive function and learning. Meth addiction can also lead to irreversible brain damage and injury to other areas of the body. Even small amounts of meth can result in many of the same physical and psychological effects as those of cocaine or amphetamines.
Some of the long-term effects of meth include:
- Brain damage
- Permanent psychosis
- Memory loss
- Aggressive behaviour
- Risk-taking behaviour to get more of the drug
- Legal issues
- Coma, stroke, and death
- Rotten teeth and gums
- Cracked teeth
- Sores on the body
- Boils or infections on the skin
- Weight loss, malnutrition
Signs of Meth Addiction
The signs of addiction may vary based on the individual. There are, however, general warning signs to be aware of when someone is struggling with a meth addiction. Someone addicted to meth can become incapable of reason, rational judgement, and empathy.
You may notice some of the following changes:
Changes in behaviour: this may present as secrecy, deceptiveness, paranoia or agitation, and aggressive or violent behaviour.
Changes in mood: they may experience drastic mood swings or depression.
Changes in physical appearance: they may have lost or gained weight, developed poor hygiene, have skin abscesses, sores, infections, or needle marks. Their breath may smell and you may see signs of tooth decay.
Increased health issues: you may begin to notice they have a hoarse voice and are always coughing. They may be sleeping for extended periods of time, or not sleeping enough. A chronic illness or infection may develop such as sinus or lung infections or respiratory issues.
Meth withdrawal isn’t a pleasant process, and you may be left feeling depressed and craving more of the drug once you stop using it. Meth withdrawal symptoms can manifest physically, mentally or behaviourally. They can be intense, lasting for days or even weeks, although this will depend on the duration and amount used.
Symptoms of meth withdrawal can include:
- Lack of energy, lethargy, exhaustion
- Bodily aches and pains
- Trouble with memory
- Meth cravings
Symptoms such as anxiety and depression can continue for weeks or even months, while low-grade symptoms such as irritability and body aches should improve within a few days.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Meth addiction treatment is available on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Your decision will ultimately be based upon your individual needs and circumstances. While residential rehab is considered to be the most effective form of treatment for meth addiction, clinics like CATCH Recovery offer exceptional outpatient addiction treatment.
Effective treatment for any addiction consists of a medical detox where necessary. Withdrawal from meth can be psychologically taxing, so a medically supervised detox is always recommended where drugs like meth are concerned. Detox should then be followed by an intensive course of therapy.
While detox is an important part of overcoming physical dependency, treating the psychological aspects of addiction will provide you with the tools you need to maintain long-term sobriety. Psychological dependence is the term used to describe the emotional and mental components of substance use disorder. This is usually characterised by strong cravings for a particular substance or behaviour and the inability to function without it.
CATCH Recovery uses evidence-based treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), grief and trauma therapy, one-to-one counselling sessions, group therapy and online therapy. We also teach relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation which can help with managing stressful situations, in addition to withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia.
Whether it’s residential rehab or intensive outpatient therapy, finishing a programme can also feel daunting. You may feel overwhelmed without the structure and safety you’ve become accustomed to. With this in mind, we have created an exceptional aftercare programme designed to prevent relapse and help you deal with the stressors of everyday life.
Finding Meth Addiction Treatment in London
Treatment options will vary based on each individual. Typically the first step of treatment for meth addiction involves an intensive detoxification programme followed by an inpatient rehab programme.
At CATCH Recovery, our team of addiction specialists have many years of experience treating drug addictions, like meth addiction. If you’re looking for meth addiction treatment in the South East of England, you can call our admissions team for your free addiction assessment, and they will be able to advise you on the next steps.
Our clinic is based in South West London, which is accessible from anywhere in the UK. However, if you need additional support but don’t live in the South East of England, you may benefit from some of the outpatient services we offer. If you require residential rehab and are unable to travel to London, we also provide referrals to rehabs in other areas in the UK and Ireland.