Methamphetamine, or simply meth, is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant. It affects the central nervous system when consumed. It goes by many names on the streets: ice, glass, shards, and “Tina.” Meth is called such because it resembles glass crystal shards. White and odorless, the bitter crystalline powder easily dissolves in alcohol and water.
Developed in the early 20th century from its parent substance amphetamine, meth was originally used in bronchial inhalers and nasal decongestants. Today, it is classified by the U.S. DEA as a Schedule II stimulant. Under this classification, any drug or medication that contains meth is only legally given to patients through nonrefillable prescriptions. Medically, meth may be prescribed for the management of ADHD, as well as short-term weight management. However, these uses are generally avoided as much as possible.
The chronic use of meth, especially its misuse, can lead to addiction. Meth is among the substances that can get someone addicted quickly. Many users easily become addicted to the pleasure it can provide. Ultimately, the addiction must be halted and treated before it leads to the worst effects, including death.
How Widespread is Meth Addiction?
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease, around 1.6 million people in the U.S. used meth between 2015 and 2018. That’s more than 50 percent of the country’s population. A previous study also showed that half a million Americans use meth on a weekly basis. As of 2016, the average age of new meth users was 23.3 years old.
In 2017, approximately 964,000 people aged 12 and older were reported to have methamphetamine use disorder. These people showed clinically significant problems related to meth use, including health conditions, disability, and failure to meet societal and personal responsibilities. The 2018 Monitoring the Future survey also revealed that 0.5 percent of students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grade had used meth in 2017.
It is also important to know that the number of overdose deaths from the drug category that includes meth increased by 7.5 times from 2007 to 2017. Fifteen percent of all drug overdose-related deaths in 2017 involved methamphetamine.
What Makes Meth So Addictive?
Methamphetamine boosts the release of dopamine, the “feel-good hormone.” An increase of this neurotransmitter stimulates the brain’s pleasure centers. Meth causes the user to experience an intensely elevated euphoric mood, which is believed to be stronger than the feelings brought about by cocaine.
Meth becomes addictive when the body craves that extremely euphoric state. As a result, the user will want to keep on redosing to achieve that state constantly. Even small amounts of meth can easily make someone addicted to it. Fortunately, with the help of meth addiction treatment in Tarzana, one can break free from addiction, recover, and start anew.
How Does Meth Affect the Body?
Meth affects practically the whole body. First, it affects the brain. It causes a short-term high, but the crash leaves the user depressed and irritable. This makes users want to keep on consuming it, otherwise, they are unable to find pleasure naturally.
The substance also raises blood pressure, speeds up heart rate, and constricts blood vessels. Eventually, it can cause the heart muscles to collapse. It is also common for meth users to have high cholesterol levels, further increasing their risk of developing heart disease.
Meth is also known to weaken the body’s immune system. As a result, they can get sick easily. Meth users may even be more susceptible to contract coronavirus.
Furthermore, chronic meth use is also associated with kidney disease, possibly because the organs have difficulty in breaking down the substance.
A lot of meth users have severe tooth decay and gum disease as well. Meth also causes extreme itching. Because of this, users tend to scratch and pick at their skin uncontrollably, causing wounds and sores.
Committing to treatment can help rebuild parts of the brain and body that suffer from the negative effects of meth. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that meth’s harmful changes, especially to the brain, can be reversed at least a year after addiction treatment.
How Does Meth Affect a Person’s Behavior?
As mentioned above, meth causes a powerful rush of euphoria that gets many people who try it hooked right from the beginning. Once a person craves that pleasure, they will do anything to feel the rush again. However, chronic use of the substance leads to tolerance. Eventually, they will need higher doses to get the high they’re craving. The higher the dose, the higher the damage to the person’s brain, body, and behavior.
Meth users are often anxious and confused. They may also be unable to sleep. They also develop mood swings and violent behavior. Meth users also become paranoid, hearing and seeing things that don’t exist. Because of this, they may hurt themselves and other people. Some report feeling as though insects are on or under their skin. These are the telltale signs of methamphetamine psychosis. In all, a user with meth psychosis can show the following symptoms:
- Being jumpy and easily agitated
- Jumping from one topic to another during conversations
- Talking quickly
- Having unusual and strange ideas
- Thinking others are conspiring against them
- Itching uncontrollably
Who Are at Risk of Getting Addicted to Meth?
What makes meth so dangerous is that it is very easy to get addicted to and very hard to recover from. This is why anyone who tries it is at risk of getting addicted to it. However, there are certain risk factors that make a person more susceptible to trying meth. These include:
- A previous history of drug or substance misuse and dependence
- Mental health disorders
- Influence from environment
- Personal problems
Individuals diagnosed with meth addiction can benefit the most from NorthStar’s meth addiction rehab treatment in Los Angeles to break the cycle of addiction.
How Does One Know They Are Addicted to Meth?
It takes courage to admit that you may be addicted to meth. The first step to recovery is recognizing the signs of meth addiction, which include the following:
Meth addicts only have one thing in mind: how they can keep on obtaining and using the substance. They have an overwhelming desire to use, making it difficult to concentrate on everything else. They are also obsessed with having a constant supply of meth.
One of the most noticeable signs of meth abuse is the drastic change in appearance. Meth addiction results in extreme weight loss. It also causes teeth rotting and severe acne. Extreme itching also leads to intense scratching that eventually causes wounds and sores.
Meth makes users feel confident, which is why they tend to make bad decisions. If you find yourself spending too much on meth and getting involved in risky behaviors just to be able to buy or get a dose, you might be addicted.
It is never too late to save yourself from the destruction that substance abuse causes. Seeking guidance from a meth addiction treatment center in Los Angeles is the best decision you can make.
How is Meth Addiction Diagnosed?
For very rare cases where medication that contains meth is prescribed for medical treatment, the healthcare provider must evaluate their patient for signs of addiction. They will ask if the patient follows the prescription while also looking for physical and psychological signs of abuse.
Moreover, a doctor will also look into mental and social aspects to determine if any areas of your life are affected by possible drug abuse. A physical exam may also indicate the telltale signs of meth addiction. Furthermore, a drug test that specifically detects meth use is conducted as necessary.
Since meth is not prescribed to patients as commonly as opioids, the first step in diagnosing addiction with it is through voluntary and honest discussion. For treatment to commence and prove successful, the user must be willing to cooperate.
Although meth addiction is among the hardest drug addictions to treat, it can be done. If you or someone you know has a drug problem, it is vital to seek treatment and rehabilitation guided by professionals.
What Are the Available Meth Addiction Rehab Treatment Options in Los Angeles?
Like other forms of addiction, meth addiction involves mental, physical, and social factors. The user’s environment, as well as their family dynamics and lifestyle also play a crucial role. Because of meth addiction’s complexity, the patient’s commitment to treatment is very important to a successful recovery.
At our center for meth addiction treatment in Tarzana, we guide our patients on their journey to sobriety. We nurture a supportive environment and provide effective therapy modalities designed to address the different factors that affect their lives. Our patients recover their health and life back with the help of these therapy modalities:
Motivational incentives (MI)
Also called contingency management (CM), MI is a form of positive reinforcement. It is a prize-based system and as such, works by rewarding patients with incentives when they abstain from using meth and other substances. This therapy helps patients achieve initial abstinence and ideally, adhere to treatment.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
In CBT, the patients are guided to master skills that will keep them from using meth again. This treatment modality is utilized for preventing relapse. Through CBT, patients learn how to recognize situations that tempt them to use meth, how to avoid such situations, and how to cope with problems that trigger meth use.
Therapeutic communities (TCs)
NorthStar builds and nurtures an environment that supports patients who are determined to recover. Participating in communities that support your goal of being sober is the key to completely recovering from substance abuse.
Our doctors often combine these therapies, which are all available in our Tarzana facility. They may also recommend other treatments that they think will be beneficial to a patient’s recovery.
What Sets NorthStar’s Meth Addiction Rehab Treatment in Los Angeles Apart From Others?
Recovering from meth addiction is indeed challenging. However, with professional guidance and treatment, it is possible. Every patient deserves access to the right environment and expert medical care, empowered by the unwavering commitment of rehab professionals who want to see them regain their life.
Our meth treatment center in Tarzana, Los Angeles is a physician-owned and operated inpatient facility. Our team is composed of experienced and trained medical personnel who are dedicated to helping, supporting, and guiding our patients in completing their treatment plan and inpatient medical detoxification process, which is a procedure designed to safely remove substance toxins from their bodies. Patients who undergo medical detoxification are monitored 24/7 to ensure their safety and comfort during the procedure.
Furthermore, we recognize that every patient’s condition is unique. Thus, our doctors create individualized treatment and rehab regimens based on the results of thorough assessments and tests. We do not impose treatment — rather, we make sure that the patient expresses consent to our recommended therapy plan. Once they agree to the treatment, we will work together in carrying out the therapy modalities during their stay in our facility.
Moreover, we maintain communication with our recovered patients after discharge to see how well they are adapting. We continue to offer guidance and provide follow-up care, as needed, to prevent relapse.
Start Your Journey Toward Recovery at Our Meth Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles
As one of the select facilities in the country owned and operated by a licensed physician, NorthStar Detox and Rehab Center is able to provide every patient with evidence-based treatment and high-quality experience.
Our meth addiction treatment and rehab center is situated in one of Los Angeles’ most prominent and luxurious neighborhoods, Tarzana. Our 4,500-square foot facility boasts lush landscapes and top-notch amenities, including a pool, gym, and other features that make for a resort-like experience that is conducive to your treatment.
NorthStar’s services utilized for rehabilitation include the following:
- Inpatient detoxification
- Intensive residential treatment
- Group therapy
- Psychoeducation therapy
- Psychiatric treatment
- Medication-assisted treatment
Learn More About NorthStar Detox & Rehab Center
Serving patients in and around Los Angeles, we are one of the best meth rehab centers in Tarzana. Call our admissions line at 323-577-4500 Monday to Sunday from 8 am to 6 pm or complete our contact form if you want to seek professional help for yourself or someone you care about.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.