Methamphetamine, aka crystal, ice, and chalk, is derived from amphetamine, an early 1900s drug used to treat people with nasal problems. Even today, the drug is used to treat narcolepsy and ADHD. It resembles a crystalline, white powder.
Due to its highly addictive nature, people who abuse the drug struggle with quitting. One of the main reasons is that the drug releases dopamine in the blood that induces pleasure and intensifies the user’s memory and learning. This rush of dopamine triggers the user’s need to keep feeling those pleasurable feelings. Along with dopamine, it also releases serotonin, the home responsible for happiness, and norepinephrine, a stress hormone.
Consuming meth can have several side effects: tremors, loss of appetite, restlessness, fever, paranoia, and, in some cases, seizures. Some psychotic side effects of the drug can last for several months even after the abuser stops using it completely. It can be ingested by injecting, smoking, or snorting. Injecting or smoking the drug has a faster impact on the abuser’s brain and can produce more intense effects.
Abusing methamphetamine can have long-term negative consequences and lead to addiction, a chronic disease, in which an individual’s brain functions is altered and s/he compulsively seeks drugs.
Battling Meth Addiction
No matter your drug of choice, going down the road of drug withdrawal can be quite challenging in the first few weeks. Getting the right help and support is crucial for individuals to break out of their addiction. Battling meth addiction consists of the following six steps.
Step 1: Withdrawal
The first step to quitting any addiction is withdrawal, which can be incredibly hard to an abuser’s body and mind. It is crucial for this stage to take place in a safe environment as it can have some severe side effects on individuals. Some common side effects that individuals experience are heart palpitation, fatigue, insomnia, disorientation, cravings, and tremors.
It is best for people who are looking to battle meth addiction to enroll in a treatment center to undergo the withdrawal safely under the supervision of doctors and trained staff. Trained medical professionals can cater to their individual needs and offer the right medications and care to ease the side effects.
Step 2: Rejuvenation
When the painful stage of withdrawal is over, the individual’s body can start to recover. During this stage, they may be able to cope without drugs and not have severe cravings. Their body may also feel more energized, and they may have a good mental outlook.
A person battling meth addiction may feel like s/he has kicked the addiction to the curb, but that isn’t usually the case. Although their bodies and minds are recovering, they should remember that quitting drugs is a long process. Long-term drug abusers should keep working towards sobriety by staving off drugs entirely.
Step 3: Relapse
During this stage, people who took the first two steps towards staying clean will feel a severe craving for their choice drug. Recently sober individuals will feel very vulnerable to using again, and the cravings can last a long time.
Individuals may feel that their energy levels are weak and may have little to no interest in things that they once loved. It is best that they undergo this stage at a medically supervised area like treatment centers to put a lid on the cravings. Working together on support groups with other people experiencing the same cravings can help provide the support that an addict strongly needs during these times.
Step 4: Living Sober
During this stage, the addict has successfully kicked his/her addiction and is completely laying off drugs. Even though the individual’s normal life may have resumed, s/he is still at risk of relapsing.
To battle and overcome meth addiction completely, recovering addicts need to make positive changes to their lifestyle. Some changes include avoiding bars and clubs altogether and staying away from people who still use drugs.
Step 5: Resolution
Once a former addict lays off drugs for six months, s/he reaches the step of resolution. During this stage, it is evident that the addict has learned how to steer clear of addiction and how to identify triggers that may lead to drug abuse again. They must maintain positive lifestyle changes and often meet with support groups to prevent relapse.
Step 6: Go easy on yourself
It is normal for people to fail and fall back on their old habits. Long-term drug abusers may struggle with overcoming their addiction and relapse. If that happens, make sure to go easy on yourself and resolve to get sober again.
Battling meth addiction can take a lot of time and motivation. As such, getting much-needed care and support from your family and friends circle and the supervised care of medical professionals can help individuals overcome their addiction. Addicts may get discouraged about quitting the drug altogether due to the challenge it presents, but with the right treatment plans, one can successfully be and stay sober.