Comprehensive Treatment Options for Methamphetamine Addiction in Maryland

In 2021, approximately 2.5 million people used methamphetamines. Methamphetamine deaths in Maryland increased 85% from 2019-2020 and 83% of these deaths were in combination with opioids.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that produces a rush of dopamine, which affects the central nervous system and is highly addictive. Methamphetamine is ingested by smoking, swallowing a pill form, snorting or injecting. Originally prescribed as a decongestant and available in tablet form, the FDA restricted and regulated it once it was revealed that many people were misusing the drug for its psychosomatic effects.

Meth is particularly addictive for two reasons. The high it creates starts and stops quickly, resulting in people often taking repeated doses in rapid succession, and the methamphetamine high targets the reward centers of the brain as the drug causes a fast release of dopamine, creating a feeling of elation and hyperactivity. Even with small amounts, short-term effects of meth are:

  • Increased wakefulness and physical activity
  • Decreased appetite
  • Faster breathing
  • Rapid and/or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure and body temperature

Long-Term Use and Dangers

Smoking or injecting methamphetamine can produce a rush that increases heart rate and blood pressure. Because of the “binge and crash” cycle of methamphetamine use (quick, repetitive dosing), people who use meth often stay awake for multiple days in a row and can get dangerously fatigued.

Injecting the drug can lead to collapsed veins, and the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and hepatitis increases if needles are shared. Snorting meth can damage sinus cavities and overwhelm the cardiovascular system, leading to seizures, strokes and heart attacks.

Long-term effects of meth include:

  • extreme weight loss
  • severe dental problems
  • intense itching, leading to skin sores or infection from scratching
  • anxiety
  • changes in brain structure and function
  • confusion
  • memory loss
  • sleeping problems
  • violent behavior
  • paranoia
  • hallucinations

Long-term methamphetamine use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system, affecting coordination and verbal learning. It can also affect emotion, memory and create cognitive problems. These changes may reverse after prolonged sobriety, though some changes may be permanent.

Methamphetamine Withdrawal and Detox

If someone has become physically dependent on methamphetamine, medically-monitored detox is often required because of severe and lengthy withdrawal symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of withdrawal can include:

  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Fever
  • Hallucinations

The methamphetamine withdrawal process can be difficult and typically lasts around 2-3 weeks, if not longer. After the detoxification process, a long-term plan for recovery is usually needed, as the brain and nervous system need time to relearn how to function without methamphetamine use. Most people recovering from meth misuse enter a residential treatment after detox.

Pyramid Healthcare Treatment Centers in Maryland

If you or someone you know is ready to take the first step in the journey to recovery, Pyramid Healthcare is here to help. Explore our Maryland locations to find which program is right for you or call our 24/7 admissions team.

 Our Maryland locations accept Delaware and Maryland Medicaid, and we also accept most commercial insurance as well as self-pay.

California Outpatient Treatment Center

California Drug & Alcohol Residential Treatment Center

Charlotte Hall Drug & Alcohol Residential Treatment Center

Harford County Detox and Residential Treatment Center