WHAT IS IT, AND WHY IS IT SO DANGEROUS?
WHAT IS IT, AND WHY IS IT SO DANGEROUS?
Methamphetamine, crystal meth, or meth as most people call it, is one of the most addictive substances that a person can take. Starting off primarily in the gay community as a “party drug” on both the east and west coasts of the USA, it acts primarily as a stimulant. Chemically, meth is like amphetamine, which is used to treat ADHD and other hyperactivity disorders, as well as narcolepsy. Shabu is the slang name for methamphetamine in various Asian countries, and “Ya Ba” (which literally means crazy medicine) is the term used in Thailand – although Ya Ba is a mix of methamphetamine and caffeine.
It’s usually used as a white, bitter tasting powder, or pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a form of the drug that takes the appearance of tiny, glass-like shards, or small, bluish rocks. Users can take meth in a variety of different ways, such as inhaling or smoking, swallowing a pill, snorting, or injecting the powder that’s been dissolved in alcohol or water.
The reason why so many people become addicted to methamphetamine, is that the high begins and ends very quickly, meaning that users need to get their next hit soon after to enjoy the feeling it gives them. People may even forego sleep and food, preferring to continually take the drug every few hours for up to several days. This leads to long-term users becoming heavily addicted and suffering severely.
Overdosing on the drug can lead to stroke, heart attack, organ failure and death. Damage done by methamphetamine is long-lasting, and difficult to treat fully.
Methamphetamine works by increasing the amount of dopamine in your brain, a chemical that’s found there naturally. Dopamine is the chemical that acts as a transmitter, sending signals to other nerve cells in the body. It’s one of the main chemicals involved in reward-motivated behavior, meaning that if something you do makes you feel pleasure, your brain will start to crave whatever it is that gives it the good feeling. When the amount of dopamine in your brain is increased after taking methamphetamine, users will experience a ‘rush’ or ‘flash’ of euphoria.
In the short term, taking meth stimulates the body and leads to a feeling of being more ‘awake’ and more able to take part in physical activity. It can cause your heart rate to speed up, which then leads to higher blood pressure and body temperature.
In the long term, the effects are far less pleasant. It’s hard to avoid the images on the Internet of users’ before and after photos, the severe aging of their faces, the rot and deterioration of their teeth, the opens sores on their skin. Though the effects are brutal, and unrelenting, the addiction to methamphetamine is often so strong, that users don’t care about the danger they’re putting themselves in by taking the drug. Long-term users can also expect to experience anxiety, nausea, paranoia, sleeping problems, violent behaviors and intense itching, which is why so many people who are addicted to methamphetamine have such large sores on their bodies. Abuse of methamphetamine can also change how dopamine works in our brains, and the effects can last many years, even after an individual has stopped taking the drug.
The substances used in making the drug are alarming in themselves, and can include battery acid, drain cleaner and antifreeze. Meth is made in illegal labs in many countries but, additionally, many super labs have been set up by drug cartels in countries where they tend to operate more freely, such as Mexico, other parts of South America, and Asia.
THE FIRST STEPS
Since meth is one of the most addictive substances a person can ever encounter, meth addiction treatment truly needs the addict’s commitment to getting clean, and staying clean. Detoxing from meth addiction is very different from an addiction to alcohol or opiates. With a heroin detox, drugs like Methadone are often used to help the addict detox in stages, whereas meth addicts often require prolonged periods of rest as their bodies begin the healing process. Once awake, they may be prescribed some form of medication to help with anxiety, lack of sleep, or depression, amongst other psychological and physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Treatment of meth addiction focuses on educating patients on how their addiction affects the body, as well as working on the more psychological issues that may have caused the addiction in the first place.
Those going through withdrawal are encouraged to find some form of spirituality and well-being, as well as attempting to reconnect to loved ones. Patients will find that develop very strong relationships with people also going through rehab for meth addiction, because of how hard and intense the treatment process is. The staff at LANNA will also become very important people in the lives of patients, because they will provide the support that is needed to beat an addiction to methamphetamine. Often, these relationships will last a lifetime.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
At LANNA Rehab, we recognize there may be many reasons behind why a person becomes addicted to methamphetamine, and that there are many issues that could impact your meth addiction treatment. Early childhood trauma, for example, could play a role, or the loss of a loved one. Whatever the case may be, the problem will need to be evaluated, and treated accordingly. The issues will be incorporated into individual treatment programs. At our treatment center here in Thailand, we offer dual diagnosis programs that can help patients with methamphetamine addictions, as well as mental health issues, and can lead them back to reclaiming their lives, and becoming whole again. Patients will not only overcome their addiction but learn how and why they became an addict in the first place, which will help patients to avoid relapsing.
Our patients leave LANNA, which is located in beautiful Thailand amongst lush rice fields and stunning landscapes, with an ongoing treatment plan to make sure their treatment is not undone once they get back home.
They go back to their homes in the United States, Australia, south-east Asia, and a whole range of other countries across the world. We connect them with treatment specialists and support programs near their home, so they can continue getting the treatment and support they need to beat their methamphetamine addiction. That, combined with a renewed interest in life, family and goals all helps to get patients through what is likely to be one of the hardest times in their lives.
If you’re looking for meth addiction treatment with a progressive program, call us today for more information or to get started on reclaiming your life.