In her testimony to the United States Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, Dr. Nora Volkow began her testimony by saying, “The abuse and addiction of meth is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies.”
At this point in history, meth addiction – and thus abuse – is at an all-time high and is the focus of many Congressional Committees, scientific studies, and federal interventions. It has reached the point that meth addiction is being referred to as an “epidemic.”
What is an opiate?
Opiates are intended to be medicines to help people with moderate to severe pain. They are also created from opium, which originates in the poppy plant. These drugs are generally prescribed for chronic conditions such as cancer and fibromyalgia, surgeries, injuries, and sometimes even toothaches and dental procedures. When these drugs connect to their receptors, they reduce the awareness of pain and can create a sense of happiness; however, they can also produce constipation, drowsiness, nausea, and mental confusion.
What causes a meth addiction?
Meth changes your brain by producing artificial endorphins. After an extended period of overuse, then your brain can stop generating its own endorphins. The more prolonged your abuse of meth is, the more likely this will happen as your brain becomes reliant on those artificial endorphins, and a meth addiction is formed.
After this happens, a person then builds up a tolerance to the drug and needs more and more opiates. Thus, meth addiction worsens.
Of course, drastic increases in the number of prescriptions that doctors are writing and handing out, an upsurge in social acceptability of prescription medication use, and aggressive pharmaceutical marketing have added to the problem. This combination has helped to create an expansive availability of prescription medications that are then finding their way onto the black market and into the hands of meth addicts.
What are the symptoms of meth addiction?
- Small pupils
- Reduced sex drive
- Chronic constipation
- Sensitivity to pain
- Mood swings
- Anxiety attacks
- Uncontrollable cravings
- Shallow breathing
- Slurred speech
- Poor decision making
- Lack of ambition, motivation, and responsibility
- Radical changes to sleep patterns (sleeping more or less)
What are the consequences of meth addiction?
According to the website FamilyDoctor.com, “the number of unintentional overdose deaths from prescription pain relievers has soared in the U.S., more than quadrupling since ’99.”
It is true that meth addiction is on the rise.
Meth abuse increases the risk for serious medical complications, such as cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, and coma. Furthermore, as a person’s tolerance grows, they need to use more and more to satisfy their meth addiction. Of course, this often leads to overdosing.
While a meth overdose can be reversed with intravenous naltrexone if the person overdosing gets help in time, however, most people who overdose are not in a place or around people who will call an ambulance.
Of course, the result of meth addiction – if not brought under control and overcome – is death. Meth addiction is serious, and people need to be aware of the problem so they can avoid falling into that trap themselves.
Signs & Symptoms of Methamphetamine Abuse
The signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction will vary greatly from person to person based upon genetic makeup, duration of addiction, the amount used, and also the frequency of use. For example, signs & symptoms of methamphetamine abuse include the following:
Mood signs & symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Intense anxiety
- Labile mood – up one second and down the next
Behavioral signs & symptoms:
- Lying or hiding drug abuse
- Drug paraphernalia in an individual’s belongings
- Use of the drug despite negative consequences
- Drug-seeking behaviors
- Risky behaviors
- Increased libido
- Increased risky sexual activity
- Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
- Social withdrawal from interpersonal relationships
- Declining work or academic performance
- Increasingly disheveled personal appearance
- Decline in personal hygiene
- Increased talkativeness
- Increases in physical activities
- Borrowing or stealing money from loved ones
- Increased alertness
Physical signs & symptoms:
- Hypersomnia following a meth binge
- Decreased appetite
- Increased respiration rate
- Cardiac arrhythmias
- Dilated pupils
- Severe hypertension
- Hyperthermia – extremely high body temperatures
Psychological signs & symptoms:
Methamphetamines, also referred to as “meth,” are potent and highly addictive stimulants that affect the central nervous system of the body. Known on the street as “chalk,” “ice,” “glass,” and “crystal,” this drug creates powerful feelings of energy as well as well-being for the user. However, meth is such a powerful drug that many users report getting hooked on meth after their first time using. While methamphetamines, a Schedule II medication, are available by prescription to manage conditions such as ADHD and narcolepsy, most often methamphetamines are created in clandestine laboratories across the world and sold on the streets. As meth (“ice”) production is particularly dangerous, creating toxic fumes, fires, and explosions, these laboratories, often hiding in plain sight in residential neighborhoods, are of major concern to law enforcement and civilians alike.
If you or a loved one suffers from meth addiction, please contact Sunflower Wellness Retreat in Kansas a call at 913-755-4357