Meth Myths. Can Meth Addicts Really Recover?
edited: Thursday, May 03, 2012
By Joe Herzanek
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Saturday, November 29, 2008
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"Meth . . . the Devil's Drug." No matter what a person's spiritual belief may be, I'm sure we can all agree that Meth has to be one of the most sinister concoctions ever created.
Can meth addicts really recover?
by Joe Herzanek
This is by far, the most dangerous drug on planet Earth. In a very short time, it is capable of devestating anyone's life who is foolish enough to start using it. What starts out as a "love at first sight, dream come true " soon becomes a "nightmare from Hell" experience.
The intense pleasure that lures someone to keep using soon fades and turns into a compulsion to use larger and larger quantities just to feel "normal." People who use this drug often become very paranoid and are prone to violent and bizarre behavior.
Meth is sometimes called "The Walkaway Drug", as men and women will walk away from everything that once was important to them--jobs, families, spouses, and children are all sacrificed for this drug.
One of the myths about Meth is that people can't or won't quit using it. I'm not saying that it's easy, but just the same--many people do quit. It happens all the time.
Methamphetamine is much different from regular amphetamine pills. Without going into a chemistry lesson, meth is simply a more refined or condensed form of amphetamine. It is much more powerful than what most people might think of as diet pills or speed. It produces both an intense feeling of energy and strong euphoric pleasure at the same time. Some of the intensity depends on how quickly it gets into the system. This drug in pill form, taken orally, is slow to produce this effect. Injecting it or smoking it is a completely different experience. By smoking meth, large amounts of the drug can be dumped into the bloodstream, which is carried to the brain in a matter of seconds.
What does this feel like to the user? In the real world, for most people, sex is perhaps the most pleasurable feeling one can have. Several recovering meth users have told me that it is like having one hundred orgasms all at once. I can only imagine.
Developed in the late 1800s in Germany, the chemical make-up of
methamphetamine has changed a few times over the years. Meth is an amphetamine drug that is prescribed for use in nasal decongestants and bronchial inhalers, treating narcolepsy, attention deficit disorder, and obesity. Prescribed under the name Desoxyn, this drug suppresses the appetite and increases energy levels, causing increased activity. For some people suffering from ADD, it has the opposite effect--slowing them down. Both legal and illegal use of this drug has been with us for many years.
Amphetamines or speed was common back when I was using. Meth was more difficult to be found. During those years, cocaine was the drug of choice. When I used meth in pill form, I could definitely tell that it was not a typical form of speed. The effect was also much longer lasting. I do know one thing for certain. If there had been a smokeable form of meth back then, I would not have hesitated for a second to use it. Smoking cigarettes, smoking pot, smoking anything was considered no big deal.
Chasing the High
Before anyone runs out to try this, let me tell you more about it. With this drug, use turns to abuse, which turns to addiction very quickly. It's almost impossible to get that initial feeling of intense pleasure to happen more than a few times. We often hear the term chasing the high, meaning that once the user has this almost unbelievable experience, they want to repeat it. This is like trying to catch up to something that is always right in front of you, but never in reach. Chasing, running faster, and trying harder doesn't work--yet the user doesn't stop trying. Chasing that first euphoric experience can continue for a long time. In fact, some will die trying to catch it.
This particular drug also has some devastating effects--both on the
body and mind. It is not uncommon for users to stay awake and active for days at a time. After being up for several days, users will start to hallucinate, seeing what is referred to as "shadow people"--a type of hallucination that seems to be unique to users of this drug. People high on meth will often become paranoid and obsessive, thinking the police are watching them. One user told me he became so obsessed with the color black that he painted the entire interior of his house that color.
Another woman told me she thought her car radio was talking to her personally, and if a helicopter flew overhead she believed the people in it were watching her. Another man, who visited online chat rooms to arrange meetings for anonymous sex, said that the Internet is loaded with meth addicts looking for the same thing.
The physical consequences of meth use are more obvious: it eats
away the enamel of the teeth and produces skin lesions. Lack of sleep and food for long periods of time will take its toll on the body and bring it to the point where it just can't function any longer. The drug will eventually stop working and the user may crash and sleep for days.
Does this sound like fun or what? I mean, why would you want all
this to stop?
Recovery from Meth Addiction
Do people really recover from meth addiction? Can they recover?
You may have heard the myth, People cannot recover from addiction to meth. Why has the myth evolved? It is probably because meth use has exploded over the past decade. Meth labs and meth-driven crimes receive a lot of press coverage, so there is a general assumption that addiction to methamphetamine is out of control and there is no hope of recovery.
People become addicted to meth more quickly than to various other drugs, and because of this, many are led to believe that nobody can get off this stuff. However, just because we have more and more people addicted to this drug does not mean that they can't recover. People recover from this drug very frequently. In fact, the recovery rates for meth addiction are about the same as for other drugs such as cocaine, alcohol, and heroin.
Is meth use a big problem? Yes! Do people do some crazy things
when they are high on this drug? Yes. Is this impacting the crime rate? Yes. Do people become violent and unpredictable on this drug? Yes. But another "yes" is that people can and do recover from addiction to meth. It may require a longer period of treatment for recovery, and some of the physical damage from the drug may take longer to heal, but nonetheless people frequently get off this drug.
Recovery rates from addiction are about the same, regardless of the drug of choice. Heroin, alcohol, tobacco, painkillers, and meth all have one thing in common: If the "want to" is there, users can recover. This may sound simplistic or trite, but it is true . In fact, a former meth addict who is in long-term recovery once told me, "No one's case is special or unique. Those who want to quit badly enough can recover."
But what if a person doesn't want to? They may say they don't, because they can't imagine what life would be like without the drug, and they don't believe they could live without it. Sometimes they need to be coerced to seek help, and the "want to" comes much later, after a period of time in treatment. Treatment works for these people as well.
Don't let anyone tell you it doesn't.
* Have you “tried everything?” Learn about affordable phone counseling for family members dealing with addiction.
This article is excerpted from Chapter 18 of Joe's book
"Why Don't They Just QUIT?"
to learn more about
the book and companion DVD
"Why Don't They Just QUIT?"
MORE ASK JOE:
> Is a relapse—failure?
> If someone can stop using drugs or alcohol for weeks at a time, they “aren’t an addict—correct?
>Chronic Pain Management & Pain Pill Addiction: What to do?
>How can I know if my addicted friend or loved one is telling the truth?
>”I need help because I’m not able to deal with my live-in Fiance’s need to get drunk every night.”
>Should my husband “back off?”
>Gambling vs. Drug Addiction? What is your opinion?
>How can I tell if someone is an addict/alcoholic or just a heavy user?
>What is Methadone? What is Harm Reduction?
> Self-Tests: Codependence
> Self-Tests: Alcohol and Drug Addiction
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|Reviewed by Kelli Haines (Reader)
|Keri is kidding herself. If she is indeed a meth addict, it will catch up with her. I see addicts day-in and day-out who think they are better than the rest of the world, that it won't kill them. The damage it has already done to the inside yet just isn't reflected in the mirror yet, or she is in denial.|
|Reviewed by Joe Herzanek
|We have been fielding comments about this article and comment from Keri. Here is a sampling of the responses:
"I don't think she is an addict, i think she is a recreational user if she has a job and can pay her bills. I'm not too familiar with meth, but I'm pretty sure she won't be able to stay a recreational user. I don't know how you can educate yourself and continue to want to do it and think you will come out of it OK. Basically she is lying or lying to herself."
"She's what you call a functioning addict, some ppl can go for years like that but one day it catches up with them. When I first started using pain pills, I worked, took care of my disabled husband, took care of my two kids, my home was never dirty, we always had money but after about a yr and a half it caught up with me. Anyone that thinks they can control something like crystal meth isn't fooling anyone but themselves, she may have it under control right now, but soon it will have control of her."
|Reviewed by Keri Broen (Reader)
|I am not saying that I am different from anybody else that is a user, but I am always confused by the stories of how people act when they are on meth. Seeing things and being paranoid. I know the long term affects of this drug and also familiarize myself on the health issues that it can cause. I have been a user for almost a year now and haven't seen shadow people or think the police are watching me. I hold down a job and pay my bills. Don't steal from family members and don't lie to cover my tracks. I eat well and take supplements to help replenish what is lost from the drugs. I try and educate myself on these things even though I know most people think that it is stupid to educate themselves on something that is going to hurt them anyway. Even though these stories my have happened. They make it sound like it happens to everyone who uses. Just curious?