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Meth Addiction

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug that is illegal for non-prescription use in the U.S. because of rampant recreational abuse. Outlawing the drug didn’t affect the demand, so illicit methamphetamine production has grown into a huge industry. This type of methamphetamine is known as a “synthetic” drug, because it is made from chemicals that are slightly different than the prescription version, although the effects are the same. The most well-known version of synthetic methamphetamine is crystal meth, which is named for it’s resemblance to crystal or glass. Meth can also be found in powder and pill form, and can be snorted, smoked, injected, or swallowed, inducing an immediate, powerful high. How Does Meth Work? In your brain are billions of neurons, and each one has a specific job. These neurons communicate with each other via chemical messengers called neurotransmitters. One type of neurotransmitter is dopamine, and it is responsible for triggering the reward and pleasure responses in your brain. Meth mimics the effect of a dopamine release in your brain, which is why it can be so addicting. When someone first tries meth, they immediately feel more alert, have more energy, and experience a pleasurable “rush.” However, these effects fade quickly, making the person want to use meth again so that they can continue to feel good. This is how addiction starts - primarily because of the constant search for a high as good as the first one, but also as a result of the decrease in the natural dopamine produced by the body. With less natural dopamine, more and more of the drug is necessary for a person to function at even the most basic level.

What is Meth Made Of?

There are zero regulations around the ingredients or production of illegal meth. In recent years, the government cracked down on the sale of over-the-counter cold medicines containing pseudoephedrine, a vital ingredient in meth. Addiction to meth is deadly, not just because of what it can do, but because of what it is made of, including:
  • Pseudoephedrine - Found in over-the-counter cold medicines
  • Acetone - An extremely flammable ingredient in paint thinner and nail polish remover.
  • Sodium Hydroxide - A corrosive chemical more commonly known as lye, it can cause burns to the skin and blindness.
  • Sulfuric Acid - Another corrosive substance, commonly found in drain cleaner.
  • Anhydrous Ammonia - Sometimes found in fertilizer and household cleaners. If mixed with certain other chemicals, it creates a poisonous gas.
  • Lithium - A highly explosive ingredient in batteries that reacts violently with water.
  • Hydrochloric Acid - This chemical is an ingredient in plastic, and is so corrosive that it can not only dissolve rust from metal, but if left on the skin, will eat it away.
  • Red phosphorus - Found on a matchbox strike strip, it is highly flammable and also used as an ingredient in road flares.
  • Toluene - An ingredient in brake fluid that is so corrosive that it can dissolve rubber.
Each of these chemicals are extremely toxic individually, but when they are combined, the result is a drug that will cause irreparable destruction to your body, brain, and life.

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What are the Signs of Meth Addiction?

When someone is addicted to meth, family and friends may notice some or all of the following symptoms:
  • Acts jittery, nervous, or anxious
  • Has insomnia and can stay awake for prolonged periods Sudden increase in energy
  • Appetite loss
  • Sudden and significant weight loss
  • Behavior changes such as risk taking or increased aggression
  • Confusion, hallucinations, or delusions
Because of the highly addictive nature of meth (and the impaired judgment that goes with it), it is possible for someone to overdose. A meth overdose can cause your body to overheat, and the result is convulsions, heart attack, organ failure, and death.

Get Help Now

The safest way to begin your journey back from meth addiction is to start with a medically supervised detox program. Addicts in withdrawal may experience intense drug cravings, anxiety, severe depression, fatigue, and even psychosis, so the care of an experienced treatment team is vital. At Tree House Recovery PDX, we are dedicated to your complete and lasting recovery. Our eight interconnected treatment modalities revolve around healing you as a whole person, not just addressing the symptoms of addiction. Our highly adaptive program is designed so that each person is provided with a recovery plan to suit their individual needs. If you or a loved one is struggling with a methamphetamine addiction, call us today at 503-850-2474 and let us help you take the first step towards recovery.

Understanding meth addiction

In order to help a child or friend who may be using meth, it is important to understand the addiction. Being familiar with the paraphernalia, street names, and signs of meth use can help you determine if someone close to you is using. If you suspect that a loved one is struggling with meth, please contact us at 503-850-2474.

Meth street names

Batu, Chach, Christina, Crank, Crunk, Crystal, Gak, Glass, Go, Ice, Shards, Speed, Tina, Twack, Tweak, Walk

Smoking meth

Meth is often smoked. Look for the characteristic meth pipe, burnt tinfoil, and hollowed-out lightbulbs.

injecting meth

Meth can also be used intravenously (injected). Signs of this include missing spoons and needle marks.

Snorting meth

Snorting meth is a common method of abuse. Look for hollowed-out pens, straws, rolled-up bills, and mirrors.

Oral meth use

Meth can be taken orally. The drug is often dissolved in water or simply eaten.

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