Utah Methamphetamine Addiction

Definition

Meth Use in Utah

Methamphetamine (Meth) is similar to opiates and benzodiazepines in that they affect the central nervous system. However, they do not act as a depressant, but rather as a stimulant. This means users of meth will experience a boost of alertness, increase in physical activity, and a decrease in appetite (which is why many woman prefer meth use to help with weight loss). Methamphetamine is a growing drug problem becoming more prevalent throughout the United States. Meth is fairly inexpensive and easy to manufacture with household chemicals (meth labs) which might be a contributing factor to its widespread availability. Unfortunately, once a meth lab has been used to “cook” meth, the residue is permanent seeping into the walls and wood leaving a deadly toxin behind. With that in mind, methamphetamine effects more than just the user. Meth’s lethal toxins can reach innocent bystanders such as children, neighbors, and future homeowners.

Meth use comes with many health risks where the body and it’s organs are literally deteriorating. You might ask why would meth users continue to abuse such a drug if it has so many health risks associated with it? The answer is simple; meth is highly addictive and hard to stop once an addiction exists. The main reason is because meth produces a huge influx of dopamine to the pleasure center of the brain at levels much higher than any other drug on the street creating a euphoria-like experience unparalleled to any other. The payoff the meth user gets from the “high” far outweighs the overall dangers of meth. This is one reason why those with a methamphetamine addiction will do anything needed (break the law, steal from friends and family, etc.) to obtain money to afford more of the substance. Because these intense levels of dopamine are continually released, the natural glands that produce dopamine for the body shut down and the user’s body becomes dependent and craves more meth to satisfy the addiction. The natural depletion of dopamine is a form of brain disease with the side effect of depression. This occurrence of depression from prolonged meth use is what further creates the cycle of methamphetamine addiction with constant cravings for more use.

Meth is similar to opiates and benzodiazepines in that it can be snorted, injected, or smoked. One of the more common dangers of meth is the chemical restructuring of the brain. Severe meth users can expect to have poor motor skills and to struggle with memory and emotions. They might also suffer with permanent paranoia, delusional thinking, brain hemorrhaging, or psychological damage. There are no natural receptors for methamphetamine within the brain; so meth attaches itself to whatever it can within the brain. Imagine putting your brain in a washing machine full of hydrochloric acid being soaked and saturated with other toxins, and then you have a pretty good idea of what meth does to the brain. Research has shown that adults who use meth have a much higher chance of recovery and brain healing than adolescents do. 


Signs and Symptoms of Use

Common signs of a methamphetamine addiction are:

  • Manipulative behaviors
  • Personal hygiene starts to really suffer
  • Sudden loss of job and/or inability to remain gainfully employed
  • Loss of control
  • Involvement with the legal system
  • Money is missing or stolen and checks are not balancing anymore
  • Taking things apart and reassembling them over and over
  • Personal material things of friends, family and loved ones start missing
  • Personal material things of the addict start disappearing
  • Constantly asking for money and has none of their own
  • Telling lies and getting caught in them more often than not
  • Isolation from both friends, family and loved ones
  • Social and family relationships are negatively affected
  • Paranoia
  • Daily chores and tasks are done with meticulous effort and are often repeated
  • Inability to perform basic motor skills/tasks
  • Mania
  • Repetitive body jerks or movements
  • Inflated self-esteem
  • Emotional regulation issues
  • Very talkative and rapid speech patterns with many tangents
  • Involvement with the legal court system
  • Lack of sleep (Insomnia)
  • High energy and hyperactivity
  • Constant and uncontrolled neurological jerks and tics on head, neck, face, arms or legs
  • Hyper alertness
  • Compulsive behaviors
    • Repetitive or routine tasks
    • Picking on face and body
  • Tirelessness
  • Faster breathing
  • Mood swings
    • Angry outbursts
    • Irritability and agitation
    • Violent reactions to external stimuli
  • Constant scratching and picking on face, arms and body
  • Nervous behaviors (Anxiety)
    • Panic attacks
  • Performs superhuman tasks associated with school/study, etc.
  • Enhanced creativity and productivity
  • Marathon work sessions
  • Feeling empty and/or dirty
  • Loss of memory
  • Profuse sweating
  • Decreased attention span
  • Problems with decision making
  • Reports feeling the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin
  • Accomplishes hour intensive projects not normally possible
  • Easily excitable
  • Has a hard time accepting their own body or the way they feel
  • False sense of confidence and power
  • Lack of appetite
  • Infections and scarring on skin
  • Black circles ringing the eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Face is caved in
  • Extreme and sudden weight loss
  • Large open wounds/sores on face, arms and upper body

Common symptoms of a methamphetamine addiction are:

  • Brain dysfunction
    • Cerebral edema
    • Hemorrhage
    • Cognitive/psychological damage
  • Gaunt and skeletal looking
  • Rapid pulse and higher heart rate
  • Anorexia
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tremors
  • Abscesses from injecting
  • Nausea 
  • Excessive sweating
  • Chemical burns in lungs from chronic smoking
    • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Blood clots in the lung
  • Malnutrition
  • Hives and itchiness
  • Cognitive damage
  • Adrenaline depletion
  • Hyperthermia
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Heart complications
  • Liver conditions
  • Faster aging on body
  • Parkinson’s Disease
    • Memory
    • Judgment
    • Motor coordination
  • Rapid aging and wrinkling of skin
  • Loss of memory
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Reduced bone density
    • Osteoporosis
  • Damage to digestive system
  • Lack of nutrients
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Skin acne increase
  • Dry and unpleasant taste in mouth
  • Schizophrenia-like psychosis
  • Loss of muscle tone throughout the body
  • Skin rashes at injection sites
  • Skin lesions on face and other body parts
  • Dental problems
    • Jaw damage from clinching and tensing of jaw muscles
      • Sinking of the lower jaw (Deformation)
    • Teeth damage from constant re-occuring clinching
      • Cracks and breaks
    • Teeth decay, rotting and loss
    • Teeth discoloring
    • Gums dried out and receded
  • Withdrawal Symptoms
  • Intense craving for more meth
  • Increased irritability
  • Severe depression
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Seratonin
  • Dopamine
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Symptoms can last even years after abstinence
  • Extreme loss of energy and easily exhausted
  • Tremors
  • Increased appetite  
  • Anhedonia
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal ideation and attempts
  • Death
  • Overdose Symptoms
  • Convulsions
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Rapid pulse and heart rate
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Irreversible damage to the brain
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased body temperature
  • Dilated pupils
  • Kidney failure
  • Psychotic symptoms
  • Suicidal ideations
  • HallucinationsVisual
  • Delusions
  • Audio
  • Death

Treatment for Methamphetamine Addiction

Treating a methamphetamine addiction requires a very detailed and skilled clinical team. Before you or a loved one starts this process, the first thing to conquer will be detoxification. This can be handled at a detox facility and therefore managed medically, or can be done on a more social level through the help of the therapist and fellow group members. Upon discharging from a detox center, the next healthy step will be to check yourself or a loved one into an inpatient residential substance abuse treatment center. The residential inpatient therapy for meth addiction needs to include cognitive behavioral approaches as well as strict accountability. Family, group, and individual therapy is equally important. Another critical part of treating a meth addiction is to incorporate experiential opportunities to learn and grow outside of the group room and in the great outdoors. The meth addict must learn of new and exciting ways of having fun in a clean and sober manner. It is really hard to compete with the dopamine levels meth provides and therefore most methamphetamine addicts really struggle with anything routine or boring in nature as they are constantly striving for another “rush”.

Once the client successfully finishes their residential inpatient treatment program, they will do best by continuing to attend an aftercare treatment program on an outpatient basis, as well as local 12-Step based support meetings within their community. Zion Recovery Center is the best in the industry when it comes to holding the client accountable when treating a methamphetamine addiction. We foster a loving and healing environment the meth addict desperately needs if ever to stand a true chance of lasting recovery. One way we do this is through onsite frequent and random urine analysis (UA) tests. This helps the client feel safe and realize they will not get away with using while in treatment. We also host multiple outdoor activities to provide adventures almost on a daily basis to help the meth addict continue to naturally feel dopamine rushes.

Zion Recovery Center helps the meth addict’s brain and body heal through alternative methods besides using harsh chemicals or other narcotic prescriptions. Our clinical team is extremely careful to rule out any substance induced psychosis (symptoms relating to schizophrenia or a manic episode) the meth user may be experiencing. This is a tricky feat and can only be done by those experienced in substance abuse and licensed clinically to do so. We also provide a full continuum of care by providing a comprehensive after-care program on an outpatient basis. Zion Recovery Center has access to multiple resources and so if you or a loved one desires to locate the right detox facility or sober living group home; we can do that too. Zion Recovery Center is literally a one call does it all treatment facility. So call us now and start the best treatment adventure of your life. We promise you will not regret it. 385-207-2029