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A significantly rising problem in the United States, methamphetamine use plagues the lives of millions of Americans cause severe health consequences, emotional trauma and untimely death. This powerful stimulants has the potential to literally devastate the user and, due to the nature of the drug and it’s production in clandestine labs, overdose and addiction are not only likely outcomes when methamphetamine is regularly abused—they become a reality for most users.
Risks of Methamphetamine Abuse
You think it’s safe to use meth once in a while? Think it’s ok to try it just here and there? Think again!
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive substance that can lead to a lifelong struggle of emotions. Even occasional use can quickly turn into a serious, potentially life-threatening addiction that requires treatment.
According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, use of methamphetamine imposes the following risks upon the user:
- Rapid changes in heartbeat and possible heart attack.
- Irregularities in heartbeat and potential for abnormal heart rhythm.
- High blood pressure which can lead to heart attack.
- Headaches and seizures.
- Extreme paranoia which can lead to manic outbursts that pose a serious threat to both the user and to others.
Repeat use of the drug, sustained use of crystal meth or excessive use can lead to other serious consequences and risks including:
- Heightened anxiety which is not easily treated with medication.
- Permanent mental health changes including mood disturbances and psychosis.
- Insomnia or other sleep challenges including nightmares.
- Addiction which requires professional counseling and treatment.
- Loss of sexual function or loss of inhibitions which could lead to dangerous sexual activity, STDs and other serious consequences.
- Skin lesions or infections that may lead to serious necropsy or the potential need for limb amputation.
Who’s Using Meth
After all the potential side effects and risks that come from this dangerous drug, who actually uses it? The sad truth is that millions of people, normal, everyday people, use meth. In fact, this drug has swept the nation quickly causing trauma in families from all socioeconomic status. What began as a very small scale problem in the 1980s has surged to include more than 5% of the population, according to the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
How Can We Recognize the Signs that someone May Need Help?
If you or someone you care about may be abusing methamphetamine, the first step to overcoming the problem is to recognize the possible signs of an addiction. Meth abuse, when left untreated, can quickly spiral out of control—but help can be the saving grace that prevents any further trauma associated with this terrible drug.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are some steps you can take to ensure that your loved one gets the help that he or she needs. These steps including recognizing the following symptoms of possible drug use early on and seeking professional help:
- Increases anxiety or irritability without specified cause or reason.
- Decreased appetite, weight loss or sudden changes in appearance.
- Rapid speaking or an increase in inability to sit still.
- Fast heart rate, rapid breathing or increased energy without explanation.
- Changes in hygiene such as a lack of caring for one’s self, picking at skin or having sores on the body.
- Marks on the arms, legs, neck or other areas of the body that signify potential intravenous substance abuse.
- Changes in sleep patterns to include very long periods of being awake followed by sustained periods of sleep.