Over the past five years, OARS has primarily treated patients with opioid use disorder, however we have learned that many of our patients develop co-dependence on other substance use disorders as well.
Did you know that according to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 1.1 million Americans have a problem with methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system. Crystal meth is a form of the drug that looks like glass fragments or bluish, white rocks, and is chemically similar to amphetamine, which is used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.
Meth increases the amount of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is involved in motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. When taking meth, dopamine is rapidly increased in the brain which results in repeated use to continue the high.
In the short-term, meth use can result in:
- Increased wakefulness and physical activity
- Decreased appetite
- Faster breathing
- Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
- Increased blood pressure and body temperature
In the long-term, meth use can result in:
- Extreme weight loss
- Severe dental problems (meth mouth)
- Intense itching, leading to sores from scratching
- Changes in brain structure and function
- Memory loss
- Sleeping problems
- Violent behavior
The long-term effects of meth also include chemical changes in the brain’s dopamine system that result in reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning.
If you think your loved one has a dependency on methamphetamine, look for signs such as obsessively picking at hair or skin, loss of appetite and weight loss, dilated pupils and rapid eye movement, jerky, erratic movement, animated or exaggerated mannerisms, and constant talking, angry outbursts or mood swings, and psychotic behavior, such as paranoia and hallucinations. Seek treatment immediately.
Treatment for dependency on methamphetamines includes:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – CBT focuses on learning new and drug-free ways to cope with stress in life. It relies on recognizing reactions to environmental or emotional cues, stopping the negative impulsive response, and adapting with a healthy alternative.
- The Matrix Model – It combines behavioral therapy with family education, counseling, a 12-step component, drug testing, and promotion of non-drug-related activities.
- Off-label treatment
If you have any questions about our treatment options or want to learn more about getting into treatment at OARS, call us at 724-912-6277. We’re here to answer any questions you have to get help for you or your loved ones.