Meth Addiction Treatment

More than 1.6 million Americans admitted to trying methamphetamines in 2017, and of those people, 964,000 reported living with a methamphetamine use disorder. This highly potent stimulant is sometimes used to treat severe cases of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy; however, for those who use it without a prescription or take more than the prescribed amount, addiction is a very real problem. In addition to being manufactured pharmaceutically and prescribed in medical settings, methamphetamines are commonly manufactured by criminals. Most often, illicitly manufactured methamphetamine is known as crystal meth, which is made from common household goods and over-the-counter medications. 

A hand holding a sachet of meth crystals

About Methamphetamine

In the United States, methamphetamines are considered a Schedule II drug, which indicates their high potential for abuse, and using them can ultimately lead to severe physical and/or psychological dependence. Because of this, they’re illegal to use or possess unless they’re prescribed by a licensed medical doctor. Methamphetamines are similar to amphetamines; however, they carry a higher potency and result in stronger short-term and long-term effects. 

Methamphetamines can be taken in several ways. Most often, this drug is smoked, but it can also be consumed by injection, snorting or taking pills orally. Smoking and injecting meth generally produces effects quickly and more intensely, while taking it orally or by snorting doesn’t produce effects as quickly but results in a longer high. The effects of meth may be fleeting, but they’re also incredibly pleasant for many users, which results in taking more meth to stay high.

The addictive properties in meth come from its effect on dopamine levels in the brain. When users ingest meth, it increases the brain’s dopamine levels dramatically. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects the way people feel pleasure, and the positive feelings it produces are what often result in drug addiction.

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Long- and Short-Term Effects of Meth

Methamphetamine abuse can result in a broad range of effects, both short term and long term.

Short-Term Effects

  • Enhanced ability to pay attention
  • Alertness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Euphoria
  • Sweating
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia
Man sitting on the ground - Short and Long Term Effects of Meth

Long-Term Effects

The long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse are vast. This drug can result in significant changes in the brain’s chemistry and activity, including permanent effects on motor functions and verbal learning. Changes in the memory also occur, which commonly result in emotional and cognitive problems in chronic users. Other long-term effects of meth abuse include: 

  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Increased distractibility
  • Memory loss
  • Nasal irritation, including nosebleeds
  • Skin sores
  • Insomnia
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Violent behavior
  • Mood disturbances
  • Weight loss
  • Dental problems, including rotting teeth and gums
  • Increased risk of stroke and Parkinson’s disease
meth addiction long term effects

Methamphetamine Psychosis

Psychosis can be a long-term or short-term effect of meth use, regardless of how long or how often the user has taken it. Meth-induced psychosis can occur during a high, or it can show up long after the effects of the drug have worn off. Symptoms of meth psychosis include:

  • Scratching at the skin
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Skin sores on the legs, arms and face

While most individuals who experience meth psychosis only live with it for a week at most, chronic users may experience permanent meth psychosis.

Anhedonia

Anhedonia is an inability to feel pleasure, and it’s a relatively common symptom of those who’ve used meth or other prescription drugs long term. This symptom is the result of altered brain chemistry after chronic drug abuse. As an addict continues to use meth or other drugs that release dopamine, the brain becomes conditioned to only release dopamine in response to that drug. Unfortunately, those who overcome their addiction may experience temporary anhedonia as a result of their sobriety. This symptom typically takes anywhere from several weeks to several months to subside after stopping meth use.

A woman consoling her daughter with Anhedonia

Signs That Someone You Love Is Addicted to Meth

When meth takes over a loved one’s life, it affects you and everyone else around them. While substance abuse disorder diagnoses are best left to the professionals, there are several signs, physical symptoms and adverse consequences you can watch for if you’re concerned that someone close to you is abusing crystal meth and may require meth addiction recovery:

  • Scattered or aggressive behavior
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased energy
  • Rambling or excessive talking
  • Severe mood swings
  • Scratching or sores on the skin
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits
  • Other mental health problems

On top of the symptoms listed above, those with a meth addiction who are openly using may show signs that the drug has led to a substance abuse disorder and requires addiction treatment. Those symptoms include: 

  • Strong cravings for meth
  • Suffering at school or work or in relationships because of meth
  • Inability to quit using
  • Taking larger quantities of the drug than intended
  • Increased drug tolerance
  • Using meth while driving or in other dangerous situations
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using

Wilmington, North Carolina, Meth Rehab

Located near Kitty Hawk Beach in North Carolina, Changing Tides offers drug and alcohol addiction recovery services for patients of all ages. Our rehab facilities provide drug and alcohol treatment for North Carolina residents who require meth addiction treatment, as well as treatment for a broad range of other substances and co-occurring disorders. Our centers in North Carolina feature trained treatment providers in a safe, medically supervised environment. Our partial hospitalization programs (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP) provide individuals who are facing methamphetamine addiction with the support they need to effectively overcome their substance abuse disorder and go on to live a comfortable, sober life.

Changing Tides Meth Rehab in Kiity Hawk NC

What to Expect During Meth Addiction Treatment

Depending on the patient, they may be referred for either PHP or IOP substance abuse programs at our treatment centers in North Carolina. While PHPs are designed to be the first step in addiction recovery, IOPs are best for those who are transitioning out of a full-time inpatient treatment program at another facility or are struggling with sobriety and require substance abuse counseling to get themselves back on track. IOPs are also recommended for those who aren’t able to commit to the rigorous schedule that’s required by inpatient treatment programs due to work, parenting or other commitments.

Partial Hospitalization Program

Those seeking treatment in our PHP will spend the first 10 days of their treatment at our residential treatment centers and detox facilities. During this time, patients work directly with their treatment provider to safely detox from meth and develop an effective recovery plan that encompasses a variety of treatment options. 

During the first 10 days of sobriety, meth withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings are typically the strongest. That’s why this part of the program is supervised and administered by a team of medical professionals, along with trained drug counselors, who are dedicated to keeping patients as comfortable as possible throughout the detox process. Once this part of the program has been completed, patients begin their recovery on an outpatient basis. This recovery may include any combination of the following: 

  • Withdrawal management
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings

During your stay at our treatment facility, patients can enjoy direct access to the beach as well as a large swimming pool during the summer months. Each suite has access to Wi-Fi as well as television, washers, dryers and phone service. Our facility is pet friendly, and our staff live on site to ensure patients’ needs are met around the clock and to attend to medical emergencies, should they occur.

Intensive Outpatient Program

As mentioned earlier, the IOP is best for those who are already on the road to recovery and have completed a safe detox program. Those who participate in outpatient services can expect to attend our treatment centers three days per week for one hour per day to participate in group, individual and family therapy sessions, as well as NA meetings.

Does Insurance Cover Substance Abuse Treatment Services?

For most new patients, one of the biggest barriers to seeking substance abuse services is not knowing if insurance covers treatment. Luckily, drug and alcohol treatment is often covered by private health insurance plans, and at Changing Tides, we accept insurance from a variety of providers, including Aetna, Optima and Anthem. To find out if your plan covers treatment, complete our confidential insurance form so our rehab center staff can verify your coverage. 

Get Help Today

Don’t face meth addiction and its resulting mental health issues alone. Our treatment centers in North Carolina can provide the support and mental health services you need to approach recovery effectively. If you or someone you love is living with methamphetamine addiction or seeking addiction treatment for other substance abuse problems, Changing Tides is here to help. Contact us today to get answers to your questions or start the admissions process.