The problem of methamphetamine addiction in America most recently came to prominence with the popularity of the show Breaking Bad. Filled with violence, tension and myriad choices-gone-wrong, this fictional program does a good job of showcasing the negative effects of methamphetamine. However, it doesn’t tell the whole tale.
Teenage substance abuse continues to grow as a social problem in the United States. Meth addiction is one of the most difficult and laborious addictions to treat. The road back from meth addiction is hard, but it is possible. Adolescent Growth is committed to helping teens through the entire treatment process, which means we’re here to support them long after they return home drug-free.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (meth) is known on the street by a number of different names, including crystal, ice and speed. It is a stimulant, similar to cocaine, but the long term effects of meth use are much harsher. Someone who uses meth does not feel the need to eat or sleep, and often they do neither. Teens on meth feel energetic and euphoric when they first use. These good feelings lead the teen to continue to want to take this drug.
Upon ingestion meth goes directly to the brain. The effect is similar to cocaine, causing the brain to release dopamine, a type of chemical that affects our sense of pleasure. However, a meth high lasts much longer and is much more unpredictable.
When a person continues to use meth they quickly build up a tolerance. This means that they need to use more and more each time to get the same high. The brain actually changes chemically, and it begins to respond differently. Long-term users who have never received treatment for their addiction usually begin to suffer from anhedonia, or an inability to experience pleasure. They have serious memory problems and with continued use, these memory problems can become permanent. Some of the long term effects of methamphetamine abuse include:
- Permanent damage to blood vessels of the heart and brain
- High blood pressure leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Destruction of tissues in nose
- Respiratory problems
- Infectious diseases and abscesses
- Weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation and apathy
- Severe Depression
- Permanent brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease
When the meth high wears off, the user begins to crash. They have severe mood swings, tremors and often become violent and unpredictable. They also often suffer from depression, severe anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.
Is it Meth?
Meth looks like a white crystallized powder, or brownish or white small rocks, or pieces of broken glass. The powder is sniffed into the lungs (snorted). The rocks can be broken up, heated and then the vapors inhaled. Other meth users create a liquid from the meth and inject it directly into their veins.
When a teen is using meth, in addition to personality changes, parents may find drug use paraphernalia such as glass pipes, small pieces of foil, empty ink-pen cases, or small bags with powder residue.
Help is Here
At Adolescent Growth we have dedicated ourselves to working with twelve to seventeen year olds who suffer from addiction and substance abuse. Families are an important part of our teen treatment programs.
We develop individualized treatment plans for each and every teen that is placed under our care. This is done by collecting a detailed history including a drug and alcohol assessment, a pre assessment interview with the parent or guardian, a medical exam, information we receive from hospitals and other treatment providers, and of course from the teen themselves.
It is often the case that a teen requires detoxification before they enter our program. Detox is a medically assisted way of safely coming down off of drug highs and they are usually carried out under the supervision of a doctor, and sometimes they are done on an inpatient basis either at a hospital or a detox center. If your child requires a medical detox before they enter treatment with us, we will work closely with detox specialists to ease your child’s transition into treatment.
Methamphetamine Addiction Treatment at Adolescent Growth
Teens who struggle with methamphetamine addiction are invited to find a safe haven at our caring, warm and empathetic treatment centers that specialize in treating adolescents who struggle with substance abuse. Our treatment approach is a holistic one that treats your child physically, mentally and spiritually.
Helping teens regain mental and physical health without drugs is the core mission of Adolescent Growth. Each staff member is dedicated to the teens and families that they work with and they have the professional training, expertise and passion required to achieve this goal.
Adolescent Growth counselors and support staff are here for you.