Meth Addiction

It's too easy to get addicted to meth.

Meth is a stimulant that increases activity in the pleasure centers of the brain. The first time people use meth they often feel joyful and excited. Some addicts report that they became hooked the first time they used meth. An occasional meth user can quickly become an addict.

Meth addicts who are on a binge may stay awake for several days before falling into an exhausted sleep that can also last for days. The lack of sleep causes users to become extremely paranoid and unpredictable. Some meth addicts become aggressive and violent. The need to obtain and use meth becomes the focus of the addict's life.

Long-term meth use scrambles the user's brain chemistry and can cause severe side effects like hallucinations. Meth can also cause health problems like loss of bone mass, and deterioration of the user's teeth. Using meth can even kill you.

Meth is a hard drug to kick. Treatment for meth addiction is a long-term process.

Addicts often commit crimes to get meth. To satisfy their cravings, some addicts make the drug in dangerous homemade labs. Meth has many street names including "crank" and "ice." It can be smoked, snorted, eaten or injected. Meth's effects typically last 10 to 12 hours - longer than cocaine, which wears off in less than an hour.

Treatment for Addicts

Getting off of meth is hard, and it's a long–term process.

Recovering meth addicts are not able to experience pleasure, sometimes for months. Combined with meth's strong psychological addiction, this often leads to relapses.

The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction are designed to help addicts change their thinking and behavior. They learn new ways to cope with stress. Treatment that involves the addict's entire family is most successful, and support groups are helpful when used to supplement this treatment.

Many experts believe the MATRIX model is the most effective way to treat meth addiction. In this method of outpatient therapy, patients learn about their addiction and how to manage cravings and avoid risky activities that could trigger using meth again. The MATRIX method also uses family therapy, drug testing and a 12-step process.