Abusing methamphetamine has many consequences, including chronic and compulsive behaviors that effect the user and their loved ones. It is a serious addiction that can have lasting effects on the brain and body, which is why professional treatment is an imperative measure for those who suffer from its use. At Genesis Recovery San Diego, we work with men who are addicted to methamphetamine and implement comprehensive and spiritual treatment models that reinforce sober living.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a man-made substance that mimics the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for reward-seeking behavior. Its effects are very powerful, highly addictive, and long-lasting, which is why many people seek out the drug as opposed to other, more fleeting stimulants. Meth can be abused in a variety of ways, either by smoking, injecting, snorting or oral consumption. Smoking and injecting methamphetamine is the preferred method of choice for many users, as it releases the drug into the blood stream at a faster rate than other methods.
The drug was originally produced as an antidote for nasal decongestion, but its highly addictive nature has made it a mostly illegal substance. A small dose of the drug can produce a much more potent and harmful reaction in users, leading to many short and long-term health problems if the drug is abused. Today, methamphetamine production includes various hazardous chemicals like lithium, fertilizer and pseudoephedrine (commonly found in cold medicine).
Why is Meth So Addictive?
Like most stimulants, meth targets levels of dopamine in the brain, but whereas a drug like cocaine is quickly metabolized into the body, methamphetamine remains in the brain much longer. The nerves in the brain respond differently when meth is consumed, meaning that the drug increases the levels of dopamine while also blocking its re-uptake. The result is a much higher concentration in the brain, leading to a more intense high that lasts for up to 12 hours instead of 1 hour.
Because of the high levels of dopamine in the brain, users feel an intense euphoria that they want to maintain, but as with most drugs, the body begins to create a natural tolerance to its effects, causing users to increase their dosage. Methamphetamine also produces incredible withdrawal symptoms including severe depression, paranoia and intense cravings, causing users to incessantly search for the drug.
The Effects of Methamphetamine Use
When smoked or injected, methamphetamine can create an immediate and incredibly pleasurable high that results in heightened attention, increased activity, rapid heartbeat, decreased appetite and continuous talking. These rewarding effects are caused by the increase in dopamine, but also lead to detrimental short-term effects, like depression and severe irritability, once the drug wears off.
With continued use, methamphetamine use can lead to:
- Psychosis and hallucinations
- Memory loss
- Aggressive behavior
- Changes in brain structure
- Poor motor skills
- Dental problems
- Inhibited thinking
Researchers believe that meth impacts the microglia cell, which actively works to defend the brain against infections and remove damaged neurons. Using meth overstimulates these cells, causing the microglia to attack healthy neurons and induce many of the negative behaviors associated with meth use. Although much of the damage caused by methamphetamine is permanent, some effects are reversible with professional rehabilitation.
Addiction Treatment at Genesis Recovery
At Genesis Recovery, our desire is to help men suffering from addictive disorders find a path toward fulfillment and sobriety. We use comprehensive treatment models that include faith- based experiences, clinical therapy and the 12-step program to support our residents through each step of their recovery. More specifically, our facility is licensed and credentialed to treat methamphetamine abuse using our Spiritually Therapeutic Treatment Experience.
The experience as a whole will focus on using our belief in a higher power as a catalyst for lasting recovery. We develop our spirituality by engaging in prayer, meditation, bible studies and weekly church services, which are activities designed to improve our relationship with God and find recovery.
Our clinical methodology is implemented by our Christian counselors who have experience working with individuals across various backgrounds and addictions. We practice both group and individual counseling services combined with community and recovery-related activities to create a moderately intense treatment schedule.
Additionally, our residents will be guided through a 12-step program, which relies on stories and experiences shared by other members of the community who have suffered from addiction. Many members who participate in the 12-step program share their own recovery stories in order to help current residents find the endurance they need to achieve sobriety.
If you or a loved one is suffering from methamphetamine addiction and are ready to seek treatment, contact Genesis Recovery and get started on a path that is free from suffering. Our goal is to restore life back into those afflicted with addiction; give us a call for more information.