Sobriety Home Foundation

Methamphetamine Addiction

Sobriety Home Foundation remains one of the best drug addiction treatment facilities in Canada. Located in the idyllic countryside, we provide individuals struggling with substance use disorders a variety of evidence-based addiction services and addiction treatment options. At Sobriety Home Foundation, individuals living with methamphetamine addiction have access to individualized recovery programs with a comprehensive rehabilitation plan. It is our goal to provide our patients with individualized evidence-based addiction treatments to move towards living a meth-free life. Patients at Sobriety Home Foundation can look forward to the following:

  • Detoxification
  • Treatment in a residential setting
  • Methamphetamine intervention
  • Rehabilitation
  • SMART Recovery

Methamphetamine – What is it?

This photo depicts a pile of crystal meth arranged in a campfire-like structure. Each shard is a translucent white and the pile is sitting on top of a brown marble-like background.

Methamphetamine (aka: meth) is closely related to amphetamine in terms of its chemical structure and its pharmacokinetic properties. Furthermore, its constituents are like that of ecstasy, however, it lacks the empathy and love-inducing effects. Additionally, meth lacks the mild hallucinogenic effects of ecstasy. Generally, it does provide a burst of energy and confidence which can be accompanied by subsequent paranoia and delusions.

Meth was first synthesized in the early 1900s and was used in a medical context to heighten an individual’s fight-or-flight response thereby increasing focus, alertness and oxygen consumption. This was advantageous for treating individuals with asthma, breathing difficulties, narcolepsy, and attention disorders. During the second world war, it was given to troops as a stimulant to aid in combat. Afterwards, they were put on the market as diet pills and were legally sold without a prescription. Consequently, they became widely used among truck drivers, students and other individuals who required sustained attention for long hours.

Use of methamphetamine spread rapidly and urgency was identified towards the late 50s. In response, governments mandated that a prescription be required to purchase the drug which led to an increase in illegal laboratories manufacturing meth. By the late 1980s, it was estimated that a half of a million people were using the drug.

Typically, methamphetamine is identified by its crystal-like structure which can be either white or blue- white being the purest form. However, meth can be disrupted in a tablet- or pill-like form or powder as well. As it happens, meth can be smoked (often when in crystal-form), injected, or ingested orally.

Methamphetamine Addiction – What does it look like?

Like many other drugs, addiction to meth is driven by symptoms of withdrawal and tolerance. Initially, an individual takes the drug which produces a state of euphoria, confidence, and energy. Once the high subsides, these effects begin to dissipate oftentimes leaving the individual in an emotional state worse than prior to taking the drug. This is a consequence of depleting the body of its naturally occurring neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine in one shot. In response, individuals will almost immediately begin to seek out the next dose of the drug to compensate for the symptoms of withdrawal (e.g., low mood, lack of energy). Unfortunately, this drive is further strengthened by tolerance. As it happens, no subsequent consumption of the drug will produce effects as potent as the first usage, and the individual will require more of the drug to achieve the same average effects overtime.

Short-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness
  • Excessive talking
  • Feelings of well-being
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Impaired vision
  • Heart palpitations
  • Vomiting
  • Increased confidence
  • Agitation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Tremours
  • Psychosis
  • Risk of heart attack or stroke
  • Hepatitis or HIV through injection
  • Overdose

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine

  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Dopaminergic and serotonergic system damage
  • Permanent psychological damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Liver damage
  • Organ failure
  • Overdose

Pharmacology

Once ingested, meth promotes the release of norepinephrine and dopamine throughout the body in excess quantities. As it happens, norepinephrine stimulates the flight-or-fight response (i.e., the mind and body) and dopamine provides feelings of pleasure in accommodation by activating the brain’s reward system.

The constituent N-methyl of methamphetamine gives it lipid soluble properties thereby allowing it to pass through the blood-brain barrier rapidly upon ingestion. Furthermore, the same constituent makes it difficult for the body to metabolize the substance thereby allowing it stay in the body longer. As a double-whammy, once the body is able to metabolize methamphetamine, amphetamine is produced as a by-product, creating secondary effects as a stimulant.

Typically, a methamphetamine high lasts 6 – 8 hours before the effects begin to decrease. Consequently, individuals then begin to feel tired and low as norepinephrine and dopamine levels decrease. This initiates the temptation to seek out another dose of the drug.