Methamphetamine or meth is a powerful synthetic stimulant that the FDA has classified as a Schedule II substance because it is highly addictive. Drug manufacturers make it in kitchens, basements, sheds, and even vehicles, and it appears as either a powder or crystal. Users can smoke, snort, or inject this drug, leading to enhanced focus and alertness, suppressed appetite, amplified mood, and pleasurable sensations. In large doses, psychotic episodes, aggression, or violence can occur. Meth is one of the top five most addictive substances.
At the Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge (PAATC), our staff of professionals is ready to welcome anyone struggling with a meth addiction. We will provide professional clinical services to see them through to sobriety and a drug-free future. If you or someone you love is struggling with meth, contact us today using the online form or calling 844.442.8673.
Why Is Meth So Addictive?
One reason is that users often take meth in frequent, repeated doses. The meth “high” starts quickly but fades just as fast. Thus, users fall into a “binge and crash” pattern and often compulsively use it in what is colloquially known as a “run,” during which nothing matters for days but taking repetitive doses. During a run, users neither eat nor sleep.
Tolerance to meth builds quickly. The user must take frequent doses and increase the amount to continue feeling the drug’s effects. This, in turn, leads to dependence.
Another reason that meth is so incredibly addictive is that it floods the brain with dopamine when the person uses it. Dopamine controls the motor function, reward, motivation, and pleasure areas of the brain. The regions of the brain that are involved in learning, memory, and emotional regulation deteriorate as a result of continued meth abuse.
Meanwhile, meth also damages the brain’s dopamine receptors, which means the body no longer produces its own dopamine. Instead, it becomes dependent on the drug to mimic the effect. When meth leaves the body, which it does relatively quickly after each dose, the result is a crash in dopamine levels and an inability for dopamine to bind with the brain’s now-damaged receptors. Severe depression and suicidality often ensue, as well as significant drug cravings, compulsive drug-seeking behaviors, and soon, addiction.
Stimulant Use And ADHD
There is a legal, FDA-approved form of the drug sold as Desoxyn or Methedrine and generically known as “methamphetamine hydrochloride.” Because meth is a stimulant, it is used to treat ADHD in children age six and older and obesity.
As with prescription opioids like oxycodone, Desoxyn use can lead to addiction even under a physician’s care. Doctors prescribe this medicine at very low doses and adjusted for individual use. However, often, the person takes too much of this medication. This increase in dopamine activity can cause a “high,” including elevated mood and euphoria. When that happens, addiction is more likely.
Someone who is not under the care of a physician who has ADHD may turn to illegal meth to experience greater focus and alertness. Self-medicating with a stimulant like meth is dangerous. It can also quickly lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Get Meth Addiction Treatment at PAATC
Meth addiction is very tough to beat, and relapse is common, but at PAATC, we know that recovery is possible. The most successful treatments for meth addiction start with medically supervised detox. Our team provides compassionate care twenty-four hours a day to mitigate challenging side-effects and prevent relapse during this program. After detox, we recommend inpatient care. This treatment allows users to avoid common triggers, and provides the space, time, and attention needed to examine and address underlying issues.
At PAATC, we offer numerous therapeutic modalities to guide patients to a life free of the terrible captivity of addiction, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
Our faith-based, compassionate, professional care can support your recovery. Reach out to a specialist by filling out our online form or calling 844.442.8673 today. You are not alone. We are here to help.