Methamphetamine Addiction in Chattanooga, TN
Methamphetamine addiction in Chattanooga is a major public health concern. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Tennessee is a known transit area for illicit street drugs bound for other states and also for distribution to smaller communities within the state.
The three primary illicit drugs transported through the state are methamphetamine, marijuana and cocaine. To a lesser extent, heroin is also shifted through Tennessee.
Nashville is the primary city of concern in terms of illicit drug transit, followed closely by Knoxville and Chattanooga. However, the number of meth labs located around the city contributes strongly to the rate of methamphetamine addiction in Chattanooga.
According to a report from the Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force, there were 302 meth lab seizures reported in Chattanooga in the first 9 months of 2016. While it seems like a large figure, it represents a 35.33% decrease in the number of labs seized throughout 2015.
Yet, despite the number of meth labs being found and seized in the local area, the rate of methamphetamine addiction in Chattanooga and the surrounding counties is still increasing.
What is Methamphetamine Addiction?
Methamphetamine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug. It can be used as a white powder or in crystal form that appears somewhat like glass fragments or whitish-blue rocks. When a user takes meth, the brain is artificially stimulated to release a massive surge of dopamine into the system.
At the same time, meth also inhibits the brain’s ability to recycle the amount of dopamine already in the system. The result is that the user experiences a massive rush of euphoria, followed by a boost of energy and alertness.
While the person is feeling so invincible under the drug’s effects, it’s common for users to push the body further than it was intended to go. The result can be that the body’s natural feelings of hunger are staved, causing extreme weight loss in a short period of time.
The effects of the drug wear off quickly and, users experience a ‘crash’ that can be so severe that many will take more in an effort to recapture the initial high they felt. Unfortunately, the brain adapts quickly to the drug’s effects, so the user feels the need to take higher doses more frequently. Building a level of tolerance to the drug drastically increases the risk of accidental overdose and addiction.
Users who give in to the binge-crash cycle give up sleep and food in order to continue taking more of the drug. Many affected users can stay awake for several days until the body eventually depletes all resources and crashes completely. At this point, the user is likely to sleep for days before beginning the cycle again.
Continued use of the drug causes the brain to stop producing dopamine naturally, unless it receives more meth. If the user stops taking the drug suddenly, the physical symptoms of withdrawal can be unpleasant. However, the psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be severe enough to be potentially life-threatening in some instances.
How is Meth Used?
Meth can be sniffed into the nasal passage, or snorted when it’s in powdered form, although some users may choose to dissolve it in water and inject it directly into the veins. Crystal meth in rock form is more commonly burned to produce vapor that can be inhaled.
Dangers of Methamphetamine Use
Even taking small amount of meth can cause some problematic health effects, including faster breathing rate, rapid or irregular heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, increased body temperature, erratic and sometimes violent behavior, psychosis, convulsions, and seizures.
When a user stops taking meth after using for an extended period of time, other serious effects may emerge, including insomnia, extreme mood swings, hallucinations, anxiety, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, and profound depression.
Long-term use can produce serious health complications, including liver and kidney failure, lung damage, severe dental problems, malnutrition, permanent damage to the blood vessels in the heart, profound depression and suicidal tendencies, stroke, seizures, epilepsy, and damage to the brain consistent with Alzheimer’s
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released figures that show Tennessee as having statistically higher drug overdose rates in 2015 as compared to the prior year.
Methamphetamine Addiction Signs and Symptoms
The common signs and symptoms of methamphetamine addiction include:
- Cravings: A meth addict’s brain becomes unable to cope without the continued stimulus of more drugs. As the brain stops producing dopamine naturally, the user experiences cravings that are so severe that the person will do almost anything to get more of the drug.
- Loss of control: Addiction is characterized by the inability to control the amount or frequency of drug use.
- Tolerance: As the brain adapts to the presence of the drug in the system, the user needs to take higher doses more frequently in order to achieve the same effects that used to be reached with smaller amounts.
- Withdrawal symptoms: If intake of meth stops suddenly, the user experiences severe psychological withdrawal symptoms.
- Physical dependency: When a person needs to continue taking meth just to feel ‘normal’ or to avoid the onset of withdrawal symptoms, the user is considered physically dependent on the drug.
Treating Meth Addiction
Anyone struggling to break free from a cycle of methamphetamine addiction requires specialist treatment at our rehab facility in Chattanooga. There is no prescription medication available to treat meth addiction, but the staff at our methamphetamine addiction rehab facility can administer prescription medications to help treat any symptoms associated with withdrawal. For example, some patients may require anticonvulsants and antidepressants throughout the recovery process.
Treating methamphetamine addiction in Chattanooga successfully can be challenging, as the relapse rate can be as high as 90% after successful completion of a rehab program. Yet people going through methamphetamine addiction recovery need to understand that relapse does not mean treatment has failed. Instead, relapse simply means that relapse prevention strategies need to be adjusted to suit the person’s needs. Our relapse prevention programs in Chattanooga can help addicts build coping mechanisms to decrease their chances of relapse after treatment.
The key to any successful addiction treatment program is discovering the right combination of behavioral therapies, individual counseling, and group support programs to help the recovering addict along the road to recovery. We place great merit on this and we will do everything that we can to help you recover. Call Chattanooga Drug Rehab Centers now at (423) 799-4292 to learn more about our treatment options.