Methamphetamine Detox in Kokomo, Indiana
Meth detox is a lifesaving process that more people should know about, including what happens if a person hooked on methamphetamine does not get into it. Methamphetamine is an immensely addictive stimulant that is among the most widely abused substances today. In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that at least 4.9% of Americans aged 12 and older had used methamphetamine at some point in their life. Also known as meth, methamphetamine is so addictive that many have gotten hooked on it even from just a single use.
As the number of meth users went up, so did the incidents of meth-related overdose deaths. The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) revealed that in 2020, there are at least 24,576 meth-related overdose deaths in the US alone. This number went up the following year, as in 2021, 32,856 were reported to have died from meth-related overdose.
Why is Methamphetamine so Addictive?
Meth is a substance that affects the central nervous system directly. As such, meth addiction could affect the production and release of certain chemicals in the body that would normally warrant the appropriate scenario before being released. One such chemical is the neurotransmitter known as dopamine.
Dopamine is linked to the action of the brain’s pleasure centers. Typically, the pleasure centers of the brain react to specific stimuli to allow the person to feel euphoric sensations, such as seeing a loved one, getting a sense of achievement, and other similar things.
Stimulants coax the pleasure centers of the brain to release dopamine even without the events or scenarios that typically trigger the natural release. With so many people suffering from melancholy, depression, anxiety, and stress, it really is no wonder why so many would risk addiction if only to experience the feelings of euphoria and well-being given by stimulants like methamphetamine.
What are the Dangers of Using Meth?
As with any abused substance, there are specific dangers for anyone using methamphetamine, regardless if it happens to be irregular use, chronic, or even few and far in between. Meth targets the central nervous system to change the natural release of chemicals, and this in itself is already a massive danger, since it disrupts the normal process of the central nervous system.
The dangers that come from using substances like meth are in the side effects that are attributed to it. Some of these side effects could be temporary, although there are a few that tend to linger in the body. This is particularly true for those with a chronic habit or those who binge on the substance when they can.
One of the biggest dangers is organ failure, as the continued use of substances alters the natural balance in the body and puts a massive strain on the filtration system which removes toxins in the system.
One of the most outstanding sensations felt when using meth is the impression of being unbelievably energetic. This seeming increase in energy necessarily leads to other symptoms, including:
The energized feeling brought on by meth also stimulates certain base emotions associated with the increased ability to engage in physicality, including the desire to engage in sex. This willingness to engage in sexual acts, however, tends to be the one consuming thought when it hits people who take meth, which is why inhibitions that would normally prevent people from unnecessary risks are also forgotten. There are numerous incidents of sex offenders being on meth when they engage in criminal activity.
There are also those who seemingly could not stop speaking once they do when they are on meth. One common characteristic among those who speak excessively while on meth is incoherence. Most would just say the first thing that comes to mind, without giving it much thought, or any filtering at all. This is why many who are on meth often just babble nonsensically. Combined with an unfocused, wild-eyed stare, people on meth are often mistaken for being mentally unbalanced.
The hyperexcited state that meth produces also leads people to breathe rapidly. This inability to breathe normally or even draw a deep breath often creates a scenario where a person high on meth is unable to get enough oxygen into them. Combined with their frantic and unthinking actions, this lack of oxygen often causes them to pass out from their frenzied state.
When people get into an excited state, their heart rate also increases accordingly. This state, however, is not something that a person should be in for extended periods of time, or in quick succession, which is usually the case for chronic meth users. The rapid fluctuations in heart rate put an unnecessary and dangerous strain on the heart after some time.
People who are in a hyperexcited state also tend to be quite irritable. This is why many chronic meth users, when in their hyperexcited state, also tend to be quite belligerent, as they will take any excuse to become aggressive. This aggression also extends into whatever they do while on meth, such as sex. It is not uncommon for people who use meth to be involved in cases of sexual assault.
There are also many incidents of domestic violence attributed to meth use. The hyperexcited state the meth user is in will magnify even the slightest feelings of resentment and dislike into severe agitation and aggression, which the person will then take out on whoever is in close proximity to them.
What Other Side Effects Does Meth Have?
The symptoms attributed to the excessively energetic state produced by meth are not the only side effects experienced by those who abuse the substance. There are numerous other side effects brought on by chronic meth use as it continues to disrupt the natural processes of the body.
These symptoms include:
- High blood pressure
- Increased body core temperature
- Increased wakefulness
- Decreased appetite
- Severe anxiety
- Significant restlessness
- Inability to sit still
- Racing thoughts
- Severe depression (once the “high” ends)
- Violent mood swings
- Delusions of power
- Acne breakouts
- Severely dry skin
- Severe tooth decay (meth mouth)
- Immune system dysfunction
- Brain damage
- Increasing preference for isolation
- Increased willingness to engage in risks
- Marked weight loss
- Inability of the body to repair damaged tissues
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Constriction of the blood vessels in the body
- Respiratory problems
- Liver damage
- Marked confusion
- Memory loss
- Severe paranoia
- Vivid hallucinations
- Disengagement from reality
Will Meth Use Aggravate Mental Issues?
Co-occurring conditions are also a major concern when it comes to methamphetamine. As it affects the central nervous system, it also largely affects the cognitive functions and behavioral patterns of the person as well. This has led to speculation if methamphetamine aggravates or actually initiates the onset of mental conditions as a co-occurring disorder.
New users of stimulants claim one of the benefits of using the substance is that it allows them to maintain a greater focus on what they are doing by increasing their ability to concentrate. This, however, is a rather short-lived benefit, as chronic use of stimulants will actually cause severe confusion in the person by overstimulating their senses. The person is then unable to deal with the magnified sensory input.
This is similar to the plight of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), where overstimulation removes their ability to concentrate and keep their attention on one single thing.
People who have been using meth for quite some time shift from moments of being hyper and conscious of everything around them to suddenly being distant and immensely withdrawn. There is also the matter of being easily irritated at times and being completely detached from reality the next moment.
This reflects what a person with a severe mood disorder goes through. In many cases, the mood shift is sudden and random, without needing a trigger to cause the change.
Practically everyone who has ever tried using a stimulant claims that at the onset of their use, they have never felt more alive. To many, this would have been the solution to the depression they suffer from, as the energetic feeling brings with it a sense of euphoria that they are unable to feel naturally.
The problem with this is that even people who do not suffer from depression tend to feel a severe drop in mood when the euphoric effect of meth dies down. This effect is actually compounded the longer a person takes meth, which is also the reason why they take meth more frequently and in greater amounts, just to maintain the feeling of being alive and stave off the depression that follows.
Will a Meth Detox Solve All the Problems Brought on by Meth Abuse?
For starters, a meth detox will most likely help ensure that whatever damage the meth habit did is mitigated to a point where medical care could help in the recovery. There are instances where the damage is simply too severe and no amount of medical care would make a difference. For the vast majority of people with a meth habit, however, meth detox is the only way to ensure that they have a chance at survival and recovery.
Calling meth detox a lifesaver for those with a meth habit is not an exaggeration or an oversimplification of what the process could do for people hooked on meth. The detoxification process is the start of a comprehensive program designed to not only help a person kick the habit, but also ensure that they stay away from one of the most addictive substances to ever be abused.
Meth is not a substance that people quit on their own. Not only is the substance nearly impossible to kick, but the damage it does to the body will definitely require people to be in a medical facility once they stop taking meth. A meth detox facility is properly equipped to handle such medical emergencies, and the attending staff has the benefit of experience in helping people through the worst parts of withdrawal.
A meth detox is not a generic procedure similar to other practices intended to get people to quit using substances. It is closely linked to an entire program dedicated to getting a person to safely and effectively quit using meth, and also equip the person with the necessary mindset and knowledge to stay away from it even when the urges hit them.
The cravings that come during meth detox are among the most severe that a person could ever experience, mainly due to the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine. This is why meth detox facilities are able to offer medication-assisted treatment to help curb the massive urge to use meth once more. The medication used is also essential in helping mitigate some of the more severe withdrawal symptoms that people go through while in detox.
Let First City Help You Back to Recovery from Meth Addiction
There could be no greater freedom than to not be completely dependent on something just to go about your daily life. For many who have a substance abuse disorder, particularly those who have a meth habit, the substance is the end-all and be-all of life. This is the nature of addiction, as it takes away a person’s freedom to choose not to be dependent on anything.
This is something that we here at First City Recovery are intimately familiar with. We know how strong the hold of dependence is on a person with an addiction, and we know how best to deal with it. It is a painstaking process, but we have the experience needed in order to help a person through the worst of it. We understand that it is immensely difficult, but we also know that it is quite possible. Talk to us now.
Dr. Vahid Osman, MD is a psychiatry specialist in Indianapolis, IN.
Dr. Osman completed a residency at Austin State Hospital. He has over 32 years of experience in Psychiatry & Behavioral Health. He is board certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.