Using methamphetamine, or meth, over a long period of time can cause severe, potentially fatal mental and physical health issues. However, many users are conflicted and wrestle to overcome their addiction. Pursuing professional assistance for meth addiction may be difficult but it could potentially save your life or a loved one's life. Dr. Daniel Bober is a board-certified psychiatrist in Hollywood, FL, who understands the addictive qualities of methamphetamine and the proper methods required to treat stimulant use disorder. By coordinating with other mental health professionals, such as counselors, he can help patients achieve a successful recovery.
How Meth Affects Users
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed, is a man-made drug that can be used as a powder or pill. Crystal methamphetamine is a particular form of the drug which resembles shards of glass1. Meth may be consumed by inhaling, snorting, ingesting, or injecting the substance.
The drug is typically used in binging episodes with effects lasting as long as eight to 12 hours. Once the drug is consumed, high levels of dopamine are rapidly released1. This response is typically not found in most rewarding activities and creates a feeling of unmatched euphoria. While cocaine has similar effects, meth remains in the body longer and has longer-lasting effects2. However, once the feeling fades, users typically experience a crash that drives them to use again. For these reasons, meth is highly addictive. As reported in a 2014 study, nearly 569,000 individuals in the U.S. had used methamphetamines within the last month3.
Understanding Stimulant Use Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5®), categorizes methamphetamines as stimulants. Stimulants are characterized by several distinct qualities and produce3:
- Increased alertness
- Elevated blood pressure
- Increased attention
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased energy
- Elevated respiration
Stimulant use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of amphetamine-type substance, cocaine, or other stimulant use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, manifested by at least two of the substance use disorder criteria within a 12-month period. These include cravings, development of a tolerance, and experiencing withdrawal symptoms3.
Consequences of Meth Abuse
Continued use of meth can have substantial negative consequences on your health. Over time, meth use can cause changes in the brain, including the dopamine system and the areas of the brain that manage emotion and memory. Other implications may include severe weight loss, anxiety, and serious oral health issues1.
Several therapies have been proven highly effective in treating meth addiction.
Meth users also commonly experience psychotic symptoms such as paranoia, delusions of persecution, and hallucinations. This can often lead to violent behavior4. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 26 and 46 percent of those suffering from meth dependence experience psychotic symptoms4. Additionally, users who inject the drug are at especially high risk of contracting infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis B and C1.
How Is Meth Addiction Treated?
Unlike many other substance abuse disorders, no government-approved medications are available for treating meth addiction but there is extensive research underway. Therapies have proven highly effective for many patients suffering from meth addiction. It is also recommended that patients incorporate a support program, engage in non-drug related activities, and have family members involved in their recovery5.
Common therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM) interventions5. CBT is a solution-based approach which focuses on identifying and changing behaviors6. This includes building skills for managing drug withdrawals and cravings. CM interventions are driven by providing tangible rewards for positive behaviors such as abstaining from meth use7.
Dr. Bober is dedicated to erasing the stigma of addiction and helping patients overcome their dependence on harmful substances. He can help you begin the process by evaluating your condition and recommending the best steps to restore your quality of life.
Protect Your Health
Seeking treatment for addiction can be difficult, however, it is imperative to protect your mental and physical health. Call Dr. Bober's office at (954) 967-6776 to schedule your consultation.
- Methamphetamine explained - National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Meth has longer-lasting effects than cocaine - National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Stimulant use disorder definition - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)
- Psychotic symptoms of meth addiction - National Institutes of Health
- Treatments for meth addiction - National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Cognitive behavioral therapy - National Institute on Drug Abuse
- Contingency management interventions - National Institute on Drug Abuse