Methamphetamine is a potent central nervous system (CNS) stimulant widely taken for recreational purposes. Methamphetamine, also known simply as meth, is an addictive psychoactive substance that causes tolerance and an emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use. Meth addiction is a serious problem that often requires detox and rehab treatment, with relapse prevention measures often used to reduce relapse rates and ensure long-term recovery.
The treatment programs available for meth addiction depend on the individual patient and operational philosophy of the treatment center, with common programs including group counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy and aftercare support.
Learn more by calling Arlington Drug Treatment Centers at (703) 463-2418.
Amphetamine was first synthesized in Germany in 1887 by Romanian chemist Lazar Edeleanu. Methamphetamine was synthesized shortly after in 1893 by Japanese chemist Nagai Nagayosh, with the drug first synthesized from ephedrine and later synthesized via reduction of ephedrine using red phosphorus and iodine. This drug was commercially developed by the Berlin-based Temmler pharmaceutical company in Germany during World War II, with the drug given to all members of the German armed forces during this time.
Meth also became available in the United States under the trade name Obetrol in the 1950s, with this drug widely used as a diet pill and taken medically to treat obesity. This drug did not become a schedule II controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act until the early 1970s, with the drug now also placed under schedule II of the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances treaty.
Meth addiction or dependence develops as a result of regular and long-term use. This stimulant drug causes psychological dependence over time, as users become dependent on the drug to access certain neuronal connections and associated feelings.
While this drug does not cause a physical withdrawal syndrome in the same way as alcohol or heroin, highly dependent users do report a time-limited withdrawal syndrome with a range of physical and psychological symptoms.
Meth users largely take the drug for its euphoric effects. Stimulant drugs are also known to increase mental focus, physical energy and sexual desire. A number of physical side effects are also associated with routine use, including headaches, teeth grinding, excessive sweating, flushed skin, dilated pupils, loss of appetite, hyperactivity, blurred vision, twitching, tremors, acne, dry skin, high body temperature, pale appearance, dizziness, constipation and diarrhea.
Excessive teeth grinding creates a condition known as “meth mouth”, which the American Dental Association say is a result of xerostomia (or dry mouth), extended periods of poor oral hygiene, the consumption of high-calorie beverages, and teeth grinding and clenching.
Depression disorders have been associated with long-term dependence and withdrawal, with some recovering addicts suffering from depression for months after drug discontinuation. Meth withdrawal can include periods of depression, fatigue, lack of motivation, intensive drug cravings, changes to sleep patterns, and changes to movement.
While most of these symptoms are over in a matter of days, depression from meth discontinuation is known to be more severe and longer lasting than that of cocaine withdrawal.
Recovery treatment may include a medical detox period, with fluoxetine and imipramine showing some promise for the treatment of meth abuse and dependence. A detox period is not always required, however, with some rehab centers starting patients directly with psychotherapy and counseling programs.
Typical programs for addiction include behavioral therapy, 12-step programs, family therapy, art therapy, music therapy and mindfulness strategies.
Relapse prevention and aftercare programs may also be initiated to enable a long-term recovery, with recovering addicts taught how to recognize triggers, avoid high risk situations and cope with the early stages of relapse should they arise.