What Is Meth (Methamphetamine) and Its Effects?
Methamphetamine is usually presented as a white, crystal-like substance that can dissolve when it is placed in a liquid. Meth is not a natural drug but is produced through the combination of several industrial chemicals and materials. The manufactured nature of this drug means that it is often very concentrated and potent, leading to an intense impact on the user’s brain and nervous system.
Statistics of Meth Use
Methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous drugs in the world. The United States has a serious issue related to the addiction to meth among its population. Here are a few statistics outlined by national agencies regarding meth abuse and addiction. A national survey was conducted a few years ago, with meth use as the topic. The survey shows that around ten million people in the United States have tried meth at least once in their life. The average starting age for a meth user is 21, but many people start as early as their teen years.
The growing dependency towards this drug among the United States population has resulted in more medical emergencies as a result of meth abuse. Data collected from the various emergency centers in the United States indicates that around 75,000 people visited an emergency room in 2004 with meth-related issues. That is four percent of all emergency visits in the country that year. This number has gone up to 50% from 1995 to 2004.
Records from 1992 show that around 20,000 people sought treatment at a facility because of methamphetamine addiction. This number increased to a staggering 150,000 by 2004, which makes up around 10% of all addiction treatments from that year. Another survey highlighted the fact that around 5% of high school seniors in the United States tried meth at least once during their school years.
How to Determine When Someone is a Meth Addict
Aside from the severe health risks of taking meth in the short term, it is also one of the most addictive substances in the world. Meth can be consumed in a number of ways. People may choose to smoke, inject or inhale the drug into their bodies. Unlike painkillers or a few other drugs, it is easier to spot a methamphetamine addict. They are likely to be very tired all the time, lacking focus, eating less, and having severe mood swings that range from insane highs to dramatic lows.
Meth Addiction: The Warning Signs
It is important for loved ones to read up on the warning signs of methamphetamine addiction. If you know someone who has been recreationally using this drug, get them to stop. If they continue using, watch out for signs that their use has passed the casual stage to addiction.
These addicts are famous for picking at their skin all the time. They are always itchy, which leads to several marks on their face and body. The marks may look similar to the acne found on a teenager. A meth addict’s teeth will begin to decay almost immediately. Some addicts may hide this through regular brushing and whitening, but a visible difference in their teeth will still be apparent. Hair loss is also possible to someone who uses a lot due to the lack of proper nutrients going into their body.
Impact of Meth Abuse
Methamphetamine can have a grave impact on someone’s brain and body, even if the use is only short term. The long-term impact is even more severe. Aside from a crippling addiction, meth addicts may experience hallucinations, constant paranoia, problems with their memory, severe weight loss, dental problems, and rapid changes in mood.
Impact of Methamphetamine on an Addict’s Brain
The impact of methamphetamine on a person’s brain reveals a lot about why this drug can be so addictive. When someone takes it for the first time, their brain will experience an unusual level of joy and happiness. This feeling may be manufactured, but it feels great to a user. When you take meth by injecting, smoking or inhaling the drug, it releases a large amount of dopamine in your body. This production of dopamine is more than ten times the amounts produced when you do something else that makes you happy, such as eating your favorite food or watching your favorite sports team. This artificial feeling of happiness is what meth addicts crave every time they take the drug. The more they use this drug, the more their body develops a crippling addiction to that artificial feeling of calm and happiness.
Seek Help for Addiction
The damage done by methamphetamine can prove fatal in the long run. If you, or someone you love, are struggling with meth addiction, it is critical to seek help at a professional treatment center.