I think my daughter is using Meth, what should I do?
Methamphetamine is an illegal drug used as a stimulant. It is composed of a chemical that is highly addictive, which prompts the body to burn up its resources rapidly by triggering neurotransmitters. People with addictive tendencies can get hooked almost immediately. The effects of this drug can’t be emphasized enough. There is nothing “recreational” about it. People use Meth to increase mood and enhance energy levels. But eventually it traps them into a vicious and devastating cycle that can lead to psychosis, heart attacks, strokes and other perilous conditions.
According to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 1.2 million people (0.4 percent of the population) reported using methamphetamine in the past year, and 440,000 (0.2 percent) reported using it in the past month. 11 million people have reported using it at one time.
When you realize that a family member is using Meth, you can be tempted to take dramatic measures on your own to try to make them quit. However, stopping someone from using Meth, or any drug, is not easy. In fact, it’s safe to say it’s impossible.
You need to understand first and foremost how powerful addiction is to the body. Drug addiction goes beyond a moral choice. At New Life Spirit Recovery, we treat addiction as a spiritual disease, but understand it’s also deeply impacts the brain and body. If you don’t understand the drug itself, you can make careless statements such as “you need to stop using drugs, what is wrong with you?” Or “I can’t believe you can’t just quit. Why are you so weak?” Unless you personally felt the effects of heroine, you have no way of understanding its intense and overwhelming addictive effect.
What Meth Looks Like and How It’s Used
Methamphetamine usually comes in the form of a crystalline white powder that is odorless, bitter-tasting and dissolves easily in water or alcohol. It can be cooked and turned to what is known as “ice,” a highly addictive form of this substance. It can also come as a pill. Meth can be snorted, smoked or injected by a needle. This drug is found on the street, and therefore it always runs a risk of being cut with horrible chemicals that could cause dangerous side effects, including death.
The symptoms of Meth users are somewhat obvious to someone who is aware of them, but it can easily be covered by those who are ignorant to its effects. People initially using Meth can actually seem healthier. Since it is a stimulant, it can prompt people to perform more tasks, do more physical activity and seemingly have overall more energy. But while it may appear that way at first, eventually it will create unthinkable damage. If you suspect someone in your life in using Meth, you might recognize elevated energy followed by extreme fatigue, irritability and depression.
Some of the symptoms of Meth use include:
- Increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature that shows up in a person being “hyper”
- Dilation of pupils
- Disturbed sleep patterns or unable to sleep at all
- Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior
- Panic and psychosis
- Convulsions, seizures and death from high doses
- Permanent damage to blood vessels leading to heart attacks, strokes and death
- Liver, kidney and lung damage
- Respiratory (breathing) problems if smoked
- Infectious diseases and abscesses if injected
- Malnutrition, weight loss
- Severe tooth decay
- Disorientation, apathy, confused exhaustion
- Strong psychological dependence
- Damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy
At New Life Spirit Recovery, we treat Meth addiction each day. In treatment, we recognize drugs are a systemic problem in a person’s life. They aren’t the cause, but rather then effect of deeper rooted issues. While the nature of Meth addiction must be understood, the freedom lies in relationship with God, self and others. Whatever benefits Meth had, the benefits of sobriety must outweigh them.
Detox from Meth can be difficult like any drug, and can lead to sickness. While in a medically supported detox setting, the goal is usually to cause the patient to be calmed and relaxed in order to rest. Meth usually takes a significant blow to physical health, and thus other medical help may be important.
Long-term, the brain can continue to feel the effects of Meth for at least a year. This is why seeking solid treatment and recovery is vital. The “low” felt in sobriety is usually caused by the neurotransmitters being unable to function properly. Diet, exercise, rest and spiritual support are critical in long-term growth. Finding a sponsor to walk through the first year and beyond can make or break long-term progress.
In treatment, clients process through the emotional, spiritual and relational facets of life. They are also given the opportunity to learn to care for and nourish their physical health. Some vitamins may be recommended to accelerate the body’s healing process.
Usually people enter program broken by Meth’s unthinkable destruction. Those that recover do so because they address their inner issues and secure their foundation in their identity in Christ. They never downplay the lure and potential for relapse. They live “one day at a time” trusting God moment and moment, and surround themselves with people and and an environment free from heroine.
Christian Families in Recovery
Learn about addiction, intervention and how it affects everyone involved.