ADOLESCENT METHAMPHETAMINE (METH) USE TREATMENT PROGRAM
Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant drug that boosts brain activity. There are many forms of methamphetamine, ranging from the “street” version crystal meth to prescription medications for narcolepsy, ADHD, and weight loss. It’s important to note that even the medical versions of these drugs can be dangerous and addictive when misused or for a long time. If your child has a prescription for a drug like Desoxyn, be sure it is taken as directed and always inform your doctor if you notice any worrisome behavior changes. If taken incorrectly and misused, seek help from Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center’s adolescent methamphetamine (meth) use treatment program as soon as possible.
It’s possible to build a tolerance to these drugs. If your adolescent requires increasingly higher doses of prescription medication to maintain the effects, you may need to consider teen substance use treatment programs to prevent them from becoming too dependent on methamphetamine (meth).
In addition to the derivatives of methamphetamine that might be prescribed by a physician, there are street forms of methamphetamine that mimic the stimulant attributes of these drugs. The street version is typically called meth or crystal meth and usually appears as a rock-like substance. It is produced in illegal labs and often smoked, which allows the drug to more quickly enter the bloodstream and communicate with the brain. Street meth is incredibly dangerous because there is no way to know who created the drug or what it contains. It is also very powerful and highly addictive. Adolescents who have previously used prescription stimulants — including medications like Adderall or Ritalin — may be at a higher risk for trying meth, due to misconceptions that these drugs are very similar.
Between prescription stimulants and crystal meth, an estimated 86,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 were affected by dependence on methamphetamine and similar drugs in 2017 alone. These numbers, supplied by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, suggest an ongoing problem with adolescent meth use in the United States that must be addressed. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers adolescent substance use treatment programs to confront the growing problem of meth use.
HOW METHAMPHETAMINE (METH) DEPENDENCE WORKS
Methamphetamine (meth) causes over-stimulation of certain pathways in the brain that regulate energy, focus, and mood. The result is an artificially produced rush of alertness and euphoria that can make individuals feel happier, more outgoing, and less apprehensive of their surroundings or their actions. The result is a high that makes people more likely to engage in risky, impulse-driven behaviors, including underage drinking, unprotected sex, or physical fights.
Methamphetamine (meth) also interferes with the brain’s dopamine receptors. These receptors appear on specific brain cells, and when meth binds to them, it tricks the brain into releasing more dopamine than usual. Dopamine plays an essential role in rewards pathways — dopamine is usually released when you do something pleasurable or good, and it trains your brain and body to want to do things that produce these effects. But sometimes the things that feel good aren’t things that are good for you — like meth. When adolescents take this drug, the repercussions on their still-developing brains and bodies are immediate and substantial, with a high risk for long-term damage.
The high point or “rush” from methamphetamine (meth) typically peaks minutes after taking it, but the residual high can last for up to 12 full hours. Because the peak high quickly ebbs after the initial rush of euphoria, users often take more of the drug within a single session, creating a “binge” habit necessary to extend the high. But keeping the high going in this manner also results in a more drastic “come down” once the drug’s effects finally wear off (usually when the user simply runs out of drugs for the time being). The contrast between the extreme high and extreme low when taking meth only serves to strengthen the dependence and the perceived need to keep using the drug. After meth detox, substance use treatment programs within our adolescent methamphetamine (meth) use treatment program can help you achieve healthy feelings of joy.
SIGNS OF METHAMPHETAMINE (METH) USE
Meth is not an easy drug habit to hide. Many residents’ stories show individuals who believed they were getting through their days successfully, but from the outside, their loved ones or acquaintances clearly knew something was wrong. The mental and physical effects of this drug are often severe and lead to a rapid decline in health and behavior. The extreme highs and lows usually result in obvious and uncharacteristic moods, as well as irritability or denial when the problem is confronted.
If you start to see any signs of drug use in your adolescent and you suspect it might be a meth problem, you should always seek professional help from our boys’ substance use treatment center as quickly as possible. Some indications that your adolescent might be using meth include:
- High-level mood swings
- Violent behavior
- Inability to retain memory
- Unnatural weight loss and lowered appetite
- Sleep disruption
- Elevated body temperature
- Periodic hallucinations
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Injection site “track marks”
- Intense tooth decay
- Acne and other skin conditions
- Acute signs of premature aging