Methamphetamine is a growing problem for people in the United States.
Methamphetamine is considered to be a highly addictive central nervous system stimulant. It can be injected, smoked, snorted, or ingested orally. When using meth, a person will feel a short, intense “rush” once the drug has been administered. Some of the immediate effects of meth use are increased activity and decreased appetite. Meth is used to for medical purposes such as the treatment of narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and obesity.
The Extent of Use
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted a report that showed approximately 12.6 million Americans 12 or older used meth at least once during they life. That represents 5% of the population. Approximately 3% reported past year use and .1% reported past month use. Although the study shows that there was a decrease in first time use in some years, there is still an average of over 225,000 people experimenting with the drug for the first time each year. The average age for the first time users was approximately 19 years old. Even worse is that 2.5% of middle school and high school students abuse meth on a regular basis.
Health Effects of Methamphetamine Use
The cause of addiction, insomnia, mood disturbances, anxiety, and violent behaviors is long-term methamphetamine abuse. What can also occur are symptoms such as paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. Many people may have the sensation that bugs are crawling under their skin and therefore pick until they have huge sores on their body.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, there were 113 million emergency room visits in one year. Of those visits, over 1.7 million were drug related and approximately 80,000 were for issues where methamphetamine was involved.
Admissions to treatment for methamphetamine abuse more than double in the last 10 years. Over 135, 000 people are treated for meth addiction each year and this represents 7.5% of treatment admissions as a whole. The average age of the addicted at treatment facilities for meth abuse is 32 years old.
Many people are getting arrested each year for methamphetamine related charges. The National Drug Intelligence Center reports that there are almost 5,000 Federal arrests each year for methamphetamine charges. Approximately 97.5% of the cases involve trafficking of methamphetamine and 1.4% of the cases involved possession charges.
Different Stages of Methamphetamine Use
There are seven basic stages of methamphetamine use. Here we will take a look at these stages.
The Rush: The initial response that the abuser feels when they have smoked or injected the meth. During this rush, the addict’s heartbeat races and their metabolism, pulse and blood pressure soar. This methamphetamine rush can last up to 30 minutes at a time.
The High: Sometimes called “The Shoulder”, this rush is followed by a high. During this time, the abuser can often feel aggressively smarted and may become argumentative. They will often interrupt other people and even finish other’s sentences. These delusional effects can result in the person becoming focused on an insignificant item. For example, they may clean the same window for several hours. This high can last on average for 4-16 hours.
The Binge: This is referred to as the uncontrolled use of a drug or alcohol. This refers to the user’s urge to maintain the high by infecting or smoking more of the methamphetamine. During this binge, a person becomes hyperactive both physically and mentally. Every time that the user injects or smokes the meth, they experience a smaller and smaller rush until, finally, there is no rush or high at all. The binge can last from 3-15 days.
Tweaking: A condition reached at the end of a drug binge when meth no longer provides a rush or a high for the user. This is when the user is most dangerous. At this point they are no longer able to relieve the horrible feelings of emptiness and craving. The abuser has lost all sense of identity. Itching is common in the stage and many people become convince that there are bugs crawling under their skin. They are unable to sleep for days at a time and the abuser is often in a completely psychotic state. He exists in his own little world, and may see and hear things that no one can. The potential for self-mutilation is very high at this stage.
The Crash: This is when the body shuts down and is unable to cope with the drug effects that are overwhelming it. This is the reason for so many to sleep for such long periods. We have seen the meanest and the most violent abusers become totally lifeless during this stage. The crash can last from one to three days.
Meth Hangover: Once the crash is over, the user returns to a deteriorated state. They are starved, dehydrated, and exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. This stage leads to enforced addiction as the “solution” to these horrible feelings is to take more of the drug. This stage can last for 2-14 days.
Withdrawal: First a person becomes depressed, loses their energy, and the ability to experience pleasure. Then a very intense craving for meth will hit and sometimes the person will become suicidal because of this. Meth withdrawal is severely painful and most abusers revert. This is why 93% of those in traditional treatment return to abusing meth.
How to get Help
Meth addiction does not have to be a lifelong battle. If you are ready to stop the fight, call Narconon today at 800-468-6933 to find out how we can help you get your life back.
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