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Methamphetamine Addiction | Searidge Drug Rehab

Searidge Drug Rehab

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Methamphetamine Addiction

Located in the idyllic Valley of Nova Scotia, Searidge Foundation is one of the best treatment facilities for individuals experiencing drug addiction. Those struggling with a substance disorders have access to various evidence-based treatments and addiction services. Specifically, at Searidge Foundation, individuals experiencing methamphetamine addiction have access to specialized and comprehensive recovery programs tailored to their individual needs. Our goal at Searidge Foundation is to give our patients effective evidence-based treatments in order to live a meth-free life. Here is a glimpse of what we have to offer:

  • Detoxification from methamphetamine
  • Residential treatment of methamphetamine addiction
  • Rehabilitation from methamphetamine
  • SMART Recovery

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is an illegal drug typically synthesized within a laboratory. It is identifiable by its crystal-like structure which is oftentimes white or blue. White crystal indicates that the drug is in its purest form. It is a stimulant with amphetamine-like properties and acts on the central nervous system. Oftentimes, it is made with one of a variety of available chemicals such as ephedrine, phenylpropanolamine, iodine, or hydriotic acid. This is not an exhaustive list of the chemicals that can be used to make methamphetamine and typically, the constituents necessary for production are in over-the-counter drugs available for purchase.

During the early 1900s, methamphetamine was used to treat individuals with asthma, narcolepsy and attention disorders. Within a clinical context, it was administered to enhance an individual’s fight-or-flight response thereby increasing their focus, alertness, and oxygen consumption. Later-on, during the second world war, methamphetamine was given to soldiers as stimulant to enhance their combat skills. Eventually, it was legally marketed and sold over the counter as a diet pill. As a consequence, many individuals (e.g., students, truck drivers) began taking methamphetamine regularly to help them sustain attention for prolonged periods of time. In the late 50s, the government began recognizing a crisis and mandated that a prescription be required for methamphetamine. Consequently, this led to a surge in illegal laboratories and experts estimated that roughly a half of a million people were using the drug by the late 80s.

This photo depicts a small baggy filled with small, translucent crystals identified as crystal meth. The baggy is sealed and laying on top of a silver backdrop.

What does Methamphetamine Addiction Look Like?

Methamphetamine addiction is driven by classic symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. Upon ingestion, individuals feel intense euphoria, energy, and confidence. After some hours, these effects are attenuated by the body’s metabolism and the drug leaves the body. Consequently, users are left in an emotional state lower than prior to ingesting the drug. This is due to the drug invoking a mass release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which takes time to recover. Immediately, individuals may begin to seek out more of the drug to alleviate their symptoms of withdrawal. This drug-seeking behaviour is strengthened through tolerance as no future consumption of a similar dose of methamphetamine will achieve the same high as the first. Therefore, individuals must take more of the drug if they wish to produce the same effects as before. Eventually, this may lead to an overdose.

Short-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Excessive talking
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Impaired vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vomiting
  • Increased confidence
  • Agitation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Tremours
  • Psychosis
  • Risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Hepatitis or HIV through injection
  • Overdose

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Damage to the dopaminergic and serotonergic systems
  • Permanent psychological damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver damage
  • Organ failure
  • Overdose

Pharmacology

Typically, a high from methamphetamine lasts 6 – 8 hours before subsiding. Consequently, individuals then begin to feel tired and low as norepinephrine and dopamine levels decrease. This initiates the temptation to seek out another dose of the drug.

Methamphetamine promotes the release of both norepinephrine and dopamine after ingested. These neurotransmitters are released in large quantities. Consequently, norepinephrine invokes the body’s flight-or-flight response and large bursts of dopamine provide users with intense feelings of pleasure. The latter is done through activation of the brain’s reward system.

N-methyl is a constituent of methamphetamine and can easily move through the blood-brain barrier. In turn, this creates a rapid onset of side-effects associated with the use of meth. Further, N-methyl prevents the body from easily metabolizing the drug, allowing it to remain in the body longer. To further enhance the overall effects of methamphetamine, once it is successfully metabolized by the body, it is converted to its active metabolite amphetamine. Consequently, users are hit with secondary stimulant like side-effects.

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