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An instant flooding of the nervous system paired with a burst of energy leaves people who try meth for the first time thinking about where they’ll get their next fix as soon as the high fades. Meth is an incredibly addictive drug that can have long-term consequences on both the brain and the body.1
For many people, meth, or methamphetamine, sparks addiction at first use. Using meth can damage the brain instantly, affecting receptors in the brain and making it impossible for users to feel good without using meth.
Methamphetamine is classified as a Schedule II drug by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.2 The drug is available in a legal prescription form to treat ADHD and obesity. Typically, methamphetamine is prescribed at a much lower dose than that which is used to create a high.
To understand how meth works, it’s key to understand the role that dopamine plays in the brain. This neurotransmitter provides the brain with a sense of accomplishment for a job well done. Social connections, sex, affection, love, good food, and exercise are all-natural ways to boost the dopamine output of the brain.
When a person uses meth, the brain releases an abnormal amount of dopamine. Since the brain can’t release the same amount of dopamine naturally, many users find themselves constantly thinking about using meth, since they aren’t able to recreate the same level of good feelings in any other way.
Meth doesn’t just act by allowing the brain to release dopamine – over time, it also destroys the brain’s dopamine receptors, making it impossible for people who use meth to experience pleasure through other means. Many people who use meth find that over time, their work/school performance diminishes, their relationships become troubled, and they find themselves in extreme financial duress.
Meth comes as a pill or powder and may be altered into crystals (known as crystal meth) for illegal use.3 Crystal meth looks like small shards of glass and is created by altering the prescription form of the drug by cooking it with over-the-counter drugs.
Common street names for methamphetamine include:
There are several ways that users consume crystal meth. Meth can be taken as a powder or a pill, or it may be injected, snorted, or smoked. Some users may vary the way that they take meth to intensify the drug’s effects.
Many people who try crystal meth become addicted after the first use. Each time they begin to come down from the high, they may seek out more of the drug, before eventually falling asleep/crashing.
Immediate effects of meth may include:4
What Are The Physical Signs and Symptoms of Addiction to Methamphetamine?
While the mental and psychological effects of meth addiction are intense, the drug also affects the body in several ways.
Short-term physical effects of methamphetamine use include:
Long-term physical effects of methamphetamine include:4
Not everyone experiences addiction in the same way, and while some people experience many of these effects, some will only experience a few. The number of physical and psychological effects experienced doesn’t necessarily indicate the degree to which a person is addicted to a drug.
Meth addiction sets in fast. As stated, many people are hooked after the first time they try the drug. During the first time using meth, many people find that they feel a sense of euphoria and hyperactivity for up to 12 hours. While they feel great, their brain is changing from minute to minute. During the first use of meth, the brain’s reward pathways change quickly.
Healthy activities that release dopamine leave the brain with memories, much like a fingerprint left behind after someone has spent time in a room. Drugs like methamphetamine figuratively crush the brain’s reward systems. Research has shown that the dopamine produced by the brain after a hit of meth up to 1,250 times the amount of dopamine produced by the brain during sex.5
A user’s first experience with meth is always the most intense. Many users spend the rest of their lives “chasing the dragon.” This term refers to the relentless pursuit of the same sensation experienced during the first use. It’s impossible to recreate the initial flood of dopamine experienced at the start of meth use, and sadly, many people die trying.
People who suffer from anhedonia struggle or are unable to experience pleasure.6 Activities that the brain once perceived as pleasurable no longer register in the same way. Meth addiction can cause anhedonia due to its effect on the brain’s dopamine receptors and may cause additional similar issues such as hopelessness, fatigue, and loneliness. Anhedonia is a key factor in relapse for many people who suffer from meth addiction. A recovery plan with a strong social support network can be helpful for people who suffer from this condition as a result of addiction.
Research has shown that many people who are working to get off of meth experience psychosis as a part of their withdrawal.7 While these symptoms passed within about a week), this time can be difficult for people who are suffering from meth addiction to get through without professional and social support.
If you’re searching for more information on treatment for meth addiction, you likely feel anxious, scared, and like you’re in over your head. At LA Wellness Center, we understand, and we’re here to help.
We offer a non-judgemental safe place for you to begin the healing process, and we’ll be with you every step of the way as you work to get well. We know that change happens one healthy decision at a time, and we’ll support you as you begin the path to sobriety.
You deserve a healthy and happy life, and we want to help. Reach out to us today to talk with one of our intake staff members about how our programming can help you begin your recovery.
1National Institute on Drug Abuse. Methamphetamine Research Report.
2U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Drugs of Abuse.
3Drug Enforcement Agency. Methamphetamine.
4Foundation For a Drug-Free World. The Truth About Crystal Meth and Methamphetamine.
5Frontline. How Meth Destroys the Body.
6Gorwood, P. (2008). Neurobiological mechanisms of anhedonia. Dialogues in clinical neuroscience.
7Zorick, T., Nestor, L., Miotto, K. (2011). Withdrawal symptoms in abstinent methamphetamine-dependent subjects. Addiction.
Whether you live in Southern California or a different state, there are benefits to receiving treatment at a meth rehab center in Los Angeles.
Those who already reside in the L.A. area may find staying local to be more comfortable. Committing to enter treatment for meth addiction can be intimidating.
To be successful, you’ll have to change almost everything in your life. Being in a familiar place may lower your stress. Also, family members can participate in family therapy sessions more easily if they don’t have to worry about the expense of travel.
However, coming to a meth rehab center in Los Angeles also offers advantages to people who live in other states. It can be easier to focus fully on your health when you are far away from triggers and distractions.
The passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 has made accessing mental health care easier for millions of people in the U.S. Major insurance carriers are now required to pay at least a portion of the costs of mental health treatment, including addiction treatments, such as crystal meth rehab in Los Angeles.
LA Wellness Home accepts all major insurances. We are in-network with several companies. Being in-network means customers of that company receive the lowest possible prices for services.
Even if we are not in-network with your insurance company, they will still cover some costs, depending on your individual policy.
To learn more about your insurance coverage and potential out-of-pocket costs, fill out the insurance verification form on our website. The verification service is free and confidential.
We understand that the process of getting into rehab can feel overwhelming. You are being asked to give up your lifestyle and say goodbye to friends and loved ones while you undergo meth treatment in Los Angeles. It’s our goal to make the transition into rehab as easy as possible, including streamlining the admissions process.
After speaking to one of our admissions counselors, the next step is to have a comprehensive assessment from one of our healthcare professionals. The purpose of the assessment is to evaluate your physical and mental health needs.
If you have a co-occurring disorder or medical issues related to meth use, your wellness team will include that care in your individualized treatment plan.
The exact length of meth addiction treatment in Los Angeles depends on several factors. Most programs last 30, 60, or 90 days or more. If you have co-occurring conditions or severe and prolonged addiction, a longer course of treatment will be recommended.
After completing treatment, you may opt to remain in sober living for several weeks or months.
Theoretically, the answer is yes, but recovering from meth addiction without professional support is almost impossible. Going through meth withdrawals can be severe and uncomfortable. Some symptoms of withdrawal are even life-threatening.
Our treatment program teaches you how to recognize and avoid triggers so you can handle everyday stress without turning to substances for comfort.
Treatment is also an opportunity to treat the underlying causes of meth addiction. Without addressing the reasons why you began misusing drugs in the first place, it is unlikely you will be able to maintain long-term sobriety.
The exact costs of meth addiction rehab in Los Angeles vary according to several factors. The length of your program and the individual services you need play a major role in the overall cost. On average, expect to pay anywhere between $5,000 and $80,000 per month for a residential program.
Yes, LA Wellness Home offers medically supervised meth detox. Supervised detox is the best way to keep clients safe and comfortable as they go through the withdrawal process.
We use a program designed to help clients recognize and avoid relapse signs. By learning new coping skills, including important methods of self-care, clients are better prepared to prevent relapse and take positive steps if relapse should occur.
Charming, safe, and secure LA Wellness Home, this is the place to get better!