Adult Meth Abuse
Meth, formally known as crystal methamphetamine, is a highly addictive stimulant drug. Those who have been addicted to meth say, “It only takes once.” Women are just as apt to use meth as men.
Women often are drawn to meth to lose weight, which quickly turns nightmarish, as weight drops precipitously. Users experience long-lasting euphoria, but take risks to their mental and physical health. The drug is low-cost and easy to get.
When adults start to use meth, they are often compelled by cravings to seek more. Careers, families and the users’ well-being fall victim to the drug. Withdrawal is wrenching enough for a person to become desperate for meth. Users sacrifice their appearance, often loose their teeth and appear years older than they are.
According to the 2011 National Survey of Drug Use and Health, the rate of first-time meth users is down compared to use in 2007, but there is a stable level of use among adults who choose meth over other drugs.
What is crystal meth?
Methamphetamine is an addictive synthetic stimulant drug that is the chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propane-2-amine and, in crystal form, it is called crystal meth.
Meth is taken intravenously, snorted, smoked or taken in suppository form. Although meth is available in prescription form for conditions such as ADHD, it is a schedule 2 drug that is manufactured and sold illegally.
Meth is more commonly coming in from foreign super labs, but it can also be cooked up in makeshift labs using a combination of pseudoephedrine, a decongestant, with recipes including a number of other ingredients such as gasoline, antifreeze, battery acid and drain cleaner. Fumes from these labs are dangerous to those who operate them, as well as to their neighbors.
People take meth to experience:
- A high, or euphoria, that is particularly long-lasting, up to 12 hours
- High energy and alertness
- Raised libido
- Weight loss, especially among women
Negative effects of meth use include:
Users may not even have to wait for withdrawal to experience unpleasant side effects such as:
- Excessive sweating
- Constriction of the artery walls
- Weight loss – rapid weight loss occurs during the first stages of meth use, and may level off
Craving starts the cycle of drug abuse over again.
Health risks of associated with meth use:
- “Meth mouth,” resulting in rotting teeth and lack of saliva
- Heart and circulatory problems such as stroke and arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat, a dangerous condition)
- Psychosis, which can be temporary or long-term
- Sensation of bugs crawling over body and face and resultant scratching, causing sores
- Body temperature elevation to dangerous levels
- Muscle breakdown
Common names for meth include:
- Super Ice
- Crystal Meth
- Crystal Glass
- Stove Top
- Bikers’ Coffee
Like other addiction, meth addiction can be treated and recovery is possible. Successful rehab should include appropriate cognitive behavioral therapies, gender-specific or gender-separate group therapy for men and women, and a holistic approach to sustained recovery that includes the family. Twelve Step practice and ongoing support are vital links to recovery, and continued care may be indicated.