Methamphetamine or meth is an addictive stimulant produced as a white-brown bitter powder or a shiny rock known as crystal meth. It is chemically similar to amphetamine, a drug used for the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. The powder can be eaten, snorted or smoked. It can also be mixed with a liquid, like water or energy drinks, and injected into the body. Crystal meth is smoked in a glass pipe.
Meth is manufactured in the United States and Mexico in “superlabs” which are big, illegal laboratories designed for the synthesis of large quantities of the drug. In addition, it is also manufactured in small labs at homes, using ingredients, like pseudoephedrine and other common household items, available over the counter and found in common cold medicines. Classified as a Schedule II drug, meth is dispensed through a prescription which cannot be refilled. Though used medically, it is rarely prescribed by doctors.
Methamphetamine affects the brain by increasing the production of a natural substance called dopamine. This is associated with movement, motivation, and the reward system. Since the effects do not last long, users take the drug in a “binge and crash” manner. Some common street names of methamphetamine include “speed”, “tweak”, “crank”, “crystal”, “ice” and “chalk.”
As meth manufacture is largely unregulated and there is no set formula for making meth, its ingestion may result in various types of symptoms. These may include:
An addiction to crystal meth causes rapid degeneration in a short span of time, especially in adolescents and teenagers. This is because the human brain continues to develop until the mid-twenties, leaving adolescents, teens and young adults at an increased risk of developing an addiction at an early age. Despite being aware of the repercussions of its use, teens still use meth over crack cocaine or heroin because of its easy availability and economical pricing. According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), around 16,000 or 0.1 percent of adolescents aged 12-17 are current users of methamphetamine.
Other reasons why teens use meth are:
Meth acts on the neurotransmitter norepinephrine causing an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, which may lead to a heart attack or stroke. When teens consume meth, their body temperature increases to an extent that they may pass out. If left untreated, this can even lead to death. Since meth is very addictive, teens crave more and more of the drug, and when they stop taking it, they experience severe withdrawal symptoms like fatigue, anxiety, psychosis, extreme drug cravings, acute dehydration, seizures, hallucinations, and depression.
Identifying meth addiction in a teen may prove to be tough as the first few symptoms are weight loss, increased socialization and late nights, things usually associated with teens. However, if a parent notices the following things in their teens, then chances are that they are on meth.
Meth increases the metabolism rate while killing appetite. This leads to rapid weight loss which can be as high as 10 pounds a week. Within a few weeks, their dehydrated appearance with bad and saggy skin, sunken eyes and cheeks, shine-less hair, and poor oral hygiene becomes evident, indicating their malnourishment.
As meth encourages teens to stay awake longer, a parent may notice their using teen not sleeping for long periods. During the downtime, the teen may sleep a lot and appear depressed, disinterested in things, and generally low.
If you notice any of the above in your teens, it is imperative that you seek immediate professional help. You can call ADEONA Healthcare at our 24/7 helpline (888) 379-9360 or chat online with a representative for more information about meth addiction and treatment options for it.
Even though some medications have been proven to be effective in the management of a few substance abuse disorders, there are no currently approved drugs for treating addiction to methamphetamine which may either counteract some of its effects or prolong abstinence.
Behavioral therapies like contingency-management interventions and cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT) are the most commonly used therapies for treating meth addiction. For instance, a 16-week behavioral treatment approach comprising family education, behavioral therapy, one-to-one counseling, 12-step support, encouragement for non-drug related activities, and drug testing, has shown positive outcomes in treating meth addiction.
ADEONA Healthcare understands that addiction affects different people differently. We also understand that the needs of teens are not similar to adults. That is why we personalize each and every treatment intervention plan that we prepare for our patients.
For adolescents and teens addicted to meth, treatment intervention would comprise of a medically supervised detox, medication, evidence-based behavioral therapies like CBT and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and experiential therapies like art, music, dance, etc. Our facility is specially designed keeping in mind the safety and security of teens and the environment we provide is non-confrontational, relaxing, and highly conducive to healing.
For more information about how ADEONA Healthcare can help your teen overcome their addiction to meth, do speak to our treatment specialist at our 24/7 helpline (888) 379-9360. You can also chat online with our representative for immediate resolution.