Help and support those with or who have recently beat a crystal meth addiction

Methamphetamine, also referred to as crystal methamphetamine, is a white, odorless, bitter tasting crystalline powder that acts as a powerfully addictive stimulant dramatically affecting many areas of the central nervous system. The immediate “high”, or expected and desired meth side effects (or symptoms of meth use) include euphoria, increased energy and attentiveness, diarrhea, nausea, excessive sweating, loss of appetite, insomnia, jaw clenching, tremors, agitation, compulsive fascination with repetitive tasks, talkativeness, irritability, panic, increased libido or sexual desire and dilated pupils. Health conditions associated with meth abuse include memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behavior, heart damage, neurological damage, weight loss, rapid tooth decay (“meth mouth”), meningitis, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, severe headaches, skin sensations, compulsive picking, skin infections, muscle tissue breakdown, kidney failure and increased occurrence of communicable diseases such as HIV, AIDS and hepatitis. Street names for methamphetamine include: meth, crystal meth, speed, chalk, ice, crystal, crank and glass. Different street names are used depending on how methamphetamine is used or taken. It can be taken swallowed, snorted, smoked, injected (with or without being dissolved in water), as well as inserted anally and into the urethra. Between 1994 and 2002, the country experienced a 113% (more than double) increase in emergency room visits associated with methamphetamine and similar stimulants. While originally primarily used on the West Coast (San Diego has long been considered the crystal meth capital), meth labs began appearing all over the country and its use is now widespread. To date there are no pharmacologic agents developed or proven to be effective in treating crystal meth addiction and current treatment methods available to the meth addict consist largely of behavioral interventions and have been disappointing.
The most effective means for dramatically impacting meth use is prevention strategies aimed at local communities. In general, prevention program should start early, be comprehensive and repetitive. Family-focused prevention efforts have been found to have a greater impact than strategies that focus on parents or children/adolescents only.

Withdrawal from methamphetamine is typically characterized by intense drug cravings, depression, insomnia, and increased appetite.

Several cognitive behavioral interventions designed to help modify the patient’s thinking and behaviors, and to increase coping skills related to various life stressors are considered promising when conducted long term. Due to the degenerative effects on the brain, and the slow readjustment and compensation efforts of the brain following cessation of use, most short term treatment strategies have yielded little if any results.

There are no medications available to treat addiction or overdose to methamphetamine.

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