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Methamphetamine is an odorless, white, bitter-tasting synthetic stimulant that comes in crystalline powder form. It is also called meth, ice, chalk, speed, among other nicknames. Just like other stimulants, meth mimics the effect of some chemicals produced by the human brain and sends out signals of pleasure to its reward center, making it highly addictive.

Meth Addiction
One can blame the artificial pleasure brought about by meth. Meth addiction produces such stimulation by mimicking the messenger chemicals produced by the brain.

In a way, methamphetamine tricks your body that it is doing something good to it despite not having any beneficial effects. It short-circuits your system chemically making you confident about its rewards and making you veer away from the normal way of life.

Initial consumption of the substance by snorting, smoking, injecting, or swallowing it can give one that sense of euphoria or a high. Most users prefer smoking or injecting meth as the effects are more immediate but since this intense euphoria is only brief, they take it repeatedly.

After a moment of high, the brain tries to correct the levels of chemicals and the meth user goes into a low and this makes one crave for more of the substance that gives that pleasurable feeling. This becomes a cycle, an addiction.

Effects of meth on the body
Meth addiction happens on two levels. There is the physical dependence and the psychological dependence.

As meth brings that pleasurable high, a user addicted to the drug will put more weight on people and activities linked to using meth compared to the real reward system of normal life. Those that are not linked to using meth, will be pushed aside and be considered not important.

Later on, as the body depends more on the substance to get that high, the natural chemistry becomes more suppressed thus survival kicks in. A user will experience more pleasure with the use of meth and sets the mind that meth is needed for survival.

Aside from the physical and psychological dependence on meth, the list of its bad effects of the body goes on. The drug brings increased wakefulness, increased respiration, increased heart rate (possibly irregular heartbeat), increased blood pressure, and higher body temperature.

Chronic use of the drug may lead to thinning of the heart lining and for those who inject the drug, lead to damaged blood vessels. Users may also have episodes of erratic and violent behavior while others display anxiety, confusion, and paranoia.

Exposure of a fetus to the drug results to prenatal complications and higher probability of premature delivery. Congenital deformities are also common with meth abuse.

In the long run using the drug can lead to meth mouth or severe dental issues, skins sores, and extreme loss of weight. It also ups the risk of HIV and hepatitis due to possible unsafe sex and sharing of infected needles.

There are also cases of lead poisoning on meth users. This is primarily blamed on manufacturing errors where lead acetate is used as reagent.

Meth addiction treatment
Drug addiction is a very complex illness. There will be moments of uncontrollable craving and persistent use discounting any devastating effects or consequences.

There are different approaches to treat meth addiction and among the most effective ones include behavioral therapies. There are various models that may be implemented and they primarily focus on providing tangible rewards in exchange for abstinence from meth.

At the moment, there are no effective medications proven to counter the effects of meth or something that may help prolong abstinence from the drug.

Along the way, a meth user trying to abstain from the drug will experience withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, craving for meth, depression, sleeping disorder, palpitation, hyperventilation, among others. These symptoms make medical guidance necessary during rehabilitation.

Meth rehab will never be simple for meth addiction given that there are many facets of life affected. The primary goal of any treatment is for the user to stop using the drug, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and be a productive and functioning member of the family and society. Sustained abstinence can only be achieved through long-term treatment and effective approaches that address specific aspect of the illness

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