About Meth Addiction
Meth, or methamphetamine, is a white crystal-like drug that is made and sold illegally. It is as powerful as cocaine and heroin, and is often referred to as a club drug because of its popularity at raves and nightclubs. Meth is smoked, snorted, swallowed and injected. Many dealing with meth addiction report that from the first experience, their lives began to quickly unravel.
Meth is exceedingly addictive and potent no matter how it is taken. It quickly enters the bloodstream and crosses the blood-brain barrier. Strong, intense feelings of happiness, security, and energy quickly result. These sensations can last anywhere from six to twenty-four hours following use.
Meth addiction begins with the first use of the drug, as it is so dangerous and concentrated, it quickly creates dependence. Meth is extremely addictive and hooks users, keeping them craving and seeking more methamphetamines to feed their dependence and addiction.
Meth addiction causes severe damage to the internal organs of it’s users, including the brain. The results can be devastating and will often make the individual almost unrecognizable to their friends and family. Sold on the street under the manes meth, crank, speed and chalk, meth addiction has exploded over the past two decades, destroying lives and tearing families apart. At Coastline, we have meth rehab for our Southern California clients.
Meth Addiction affects Brain Function
Meth usage causes the a surge in dopamine release, creating an intense pleasurable sensation for the user. This surge of brain chemicals alters the brain’s own ability to regulate and release dopamine and other brain chemicals, eventually greatly reducing the individuals ability to make and release dopamine without the help of meth. Because this creates a craving for pleasure, or even normal happy emotions, the meth addict seeks out more of the drug in order to obtain pleasure at all.
Methamphetamines have become the scourge of many cities across the nation as the rates of meth addiction have exploded in recent years. This has created a huge demand in inpatient meth rehab centers as cities are trying to keep up with rising number of addicts. Some recent studies show that almost 1.5 million individuals within the United States are abusing meth, although that number rises almost daily. Meth addiction used to be associated with rural, blue-collar areas, but it has roared into cities and white-collar neighborhoods, taking a major foothold with men and women of all ages and backgrounds.
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Risk Factors for Meth Addiction
Many have asked what feeds meth addiction rates across America. The exact answer to this question is hard to pinpoint, as meth addiction appears to be a multi-faceted disease. There are several risk factors associated with any drug addiction, which also hold true for meth addicts. Some of these risk factors include the following:
Environmental Risk Factors
Every individual carries risk factors for some sort of disease, like the disease of addiction, but not all become disease ridden. It is said that the environmental risk factors of working as a police officer in downtown LA make it more likely that domestic violence, gun violence, and traffic accidents might negatively impact the lives of those serving their communities. Such is the case with meth addiction. The time spent exposed through family members, friends and work peers can greatly increase the likelihood that an individual will experiment with drugs or alcohol abuse.
Growing up in neighborhoods and homes where drug abuse and alcoholism are part of daily life has been proven to greatly impact the chances of an individual turning to illicit drugs and alcohol for escape or entertainment, leading to meth addiction or heroin addiction that requires drug detox, inpatient meth rehab, and heroin recovery programs.
Genetic Risk Factors
There appear to be some genetic risk factors to meth addiction. Several studies of families, and especially those with twins and siblings, have provided results that point to the idea that addiction can be linked to genes. Some of these studies indicate that an individual is nearly twice as likely to become addicted to some sort of substance over the course of their lifetime if they have addiction in the family. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact genes responsible for this increase in risk, but just as families have certain increased risk for cancers or other diseases, addiction seems to be a family risk factor.
Psychological Risk Factors
It is fairly well recognized that certain mental illnesses feed into addiction, but the opposite is also the case. It appears that meth addiction can cause biological brain changes that can in turn feed into mental illness. Many meth addicts turn to other drugs as a way to deal with their psychological issues. There have been many cases where meth addicts trace back drug addiction to traumatic events or physical illnesses, sometimes as far back as childhood. There appears to be an increase in risk that an individual will experiment with drugs when there is a history of sexual abuse, or neglect. Some other contributing factors of drug addiction are the existence of poor coping skills and delayed social skills. The risk is high in teenagers for whom the desire to fit in can and perform well can push individuals with traumatic histories to start using substances.