A Meth Primer
There is nothing new about methamphetamine, although in recent time it has become a more potent drug. It is highly addictive.
Amphetamine was first produced in Germany in 1887 and it’s more potent offspring in 1919 in Japan. In fact, high doses of methamphetamine were given to Japanese kamikaze pilots before their suicide missions in World War Two.
In the 1950s it was a popular diet aid prescribed by doctors and also used in cases of depression. It was so readily available that many college students, athletes and others used it as a stimulant to study or stay away – such as cross-country truck drivers. In the drug infused 60’s the abuse of methamphetamine, or meth, became even more popular.
The U.S. government made methamphetamine illegal in the 1970s, after which it was only produced and distributed by criminal entities, such as motorcycle gangs. In the 90s Mexican drug traffickers set up large meth labs in California to produce and distribute the drug. Since then small, “stove-top” labs have cropped up across the country.
The Curse of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction is a serious problem across the United States with areas of higher concentration in the southwest and Hawaii. Meth is extremely addictive and can be injected, inhaled (snorted), smoked or taken orally.
The signs of meth use include talkativeness, loss of appetite, higher respiration, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and euphoria. As abuse of the drug continues into addiction, addicts will become paranoid, psychotic, moody, aggressive or violent, as well as develop a tendency to “pick” at their skin leaving tiny sores and scabs throughout their bodies, including their faces. They will also experience “crawling skin” or formication.
Due to the toxicity of the drug and the lack of nutrition addicts will also experience brittle, or breaking, hair and hair loss. Worst of all is the impact in an addict’s teeth, which are severely damaged by the drug. The teeth will decay and turn black to the point of needing to be extracted. The teeth and gums rot from the inside and the roots of the teeth will rot away.
Recovering from an Addiction to Meth
Addiction to meth, or methamphetamine, is difficult to treat. Meth is a highly addictive drug.
Although there are medications that can help in the recovery from some addictions, such as heroin, there is no such pharmacological option available for meth addiction. However, in cases of acute panic or anxiety, during detoxification, for example, an anti-anxiety medication, such as benzodiazepine, may be useful. Or, in cases of meth induced psychosis the use of Neuroleptics may also be used.
Currently the most effective recovery options consist of behavioral therapies, such as cognitive therapy, or Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This methodologies help to modify the addict’s thinking, expectations and behaviors, as well as increase coping skills. Additionally, neurofeedback may be used as a means of helping to readjust the altered brain and as an aid in develop relapse prevention skills. Support groups are also extremely useful in preventing relapse.