Tag: meth treatment

Would You Let Someone Erase Your Memories to Save You From Relapsing?

Seriously, This Drug Can ERASE Your Meth Memories

It’s kind of an insane question, right? Would you let a doctor literally erase memories if they promised it would help prevent relapse and they’d only erase memories associated with meth use?

Start coming up with an answer because, according to top scientists, there’s a real possibility this type of treatment may soon be coming to a drug rehab near you.

An article published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry in early August explored how scientists in Florida are working to create a “meth memory eraser” and how they’re gearing up to start running human trails.

Without going into a bunch of technical jargon (don’t worry, that’s below), researchers at The Scripps Research Institute have been studying how memories and addiction interact for a number of years. Then, in 2013, they made a breakthrough.

They found that by blocking a common protein called actin they could actually erase memories associated with meth use in mice while, at the same time, leaving other memories untouched.

This project is the brainchild of Courtney A. Miller. Miller is an Associate Professor of Neuroscience at Scripps. She’s been exploring the intersection of substance abuse and memory for the past 15 years.

In a recent interview, Professor Miller stated,

“The idea is that someone would go into a rehab program with the typical abstinence therapies and while they are in the treatment program they would receive this medication one time and it should remove all of the associations with the drug…It’s exciting” (The Washington Post).

Learn exactly how this meth memory erasure works – and whether it’s safe for humans to try – below!

How Drug Memories Are Formed

In 2013, while conducting research that involved giving lab mice copious amounts of methamphetamine, Miller discovered something groundbreaking. No, it wasn’t that mice love meth – memories involving meth and “normal memories” are physically different, according to Miller.

To explain the difference, it’s important to explore how memories are formed. Although this is pretty scientific and dense stuff, The Washington Post explained it in pretty straightforward language.

Basically, our memories are nothing more than electric and chemical connections in our brains. In other words – our memories are made up of neurons and the connections between them.

The actual connections are named dendritic spines. They “held up” by that protein actin we mentioned above. It acts as support and framework for the dendritic spines spanning our brain.

what our memory neurons look like
this is what our memories actually look like

Once we experience something – anything – actin stabilizes around new dendritic spines. After a few minutes, it’s stable and the memory is cemented into our minds.

When it comes to meth, though, this isn’t what happens. Rather than stabilize around the dendrite, actin actually remains instable.

This leads the memory to behave differently than a normal memory and may, scientists believe, account for the euphoric recall associated with meth addiction.

This also may have something to do with anhedonia, or the inability to feel pleasure that many recovering meth addicts experience in early-sobriety.

Okay, so scientists now know how meth memories are different than regular memories. They know how they’re formed and how to selectively target, disrupt, and effectively erase them.

Sounds pretty good, right? Well, there’s a bit of a problem.

Actin is one of the most prevalent proteins in the human body. It’s responsible for a host of necessary functions, including “…how muscles contract, [how] the heart works, [how] cells divide…So if we inhibited actin it would probably kill a person” (The Washington Post).

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Is There a Way to Erase Memories Without Killing Us?

That, readers, is the billion-dollar question.

Well, Miller and her team at Scripps weren’t ready to give up. They went back to the drawing board and tried out some new ideas. After a year of hard work, they believe they’ve come up with a way to erase meth memories without also killing someone.

Instead of targeting actin itself, they’ve switched their focus to something called blebbistatin. This is a chemical that inhibits something called a nonmuscle myosin II (also known as a NMII). NMIIs support memory formation and by blocking them Miller was also able to block meth memories from being formed in mice.

meth causes intense drug cravings
meth? what’s meth?

Don’t worry if you don’t get exactly what that means. I’ve been reading scientific studies about NMIIs and blebbistatin all day and still don’t understand exactly how they work!

What matters here is the practical implication of Miller and her team’s research. After injecting mice with one dose of blebbistatin, they were able to block meth memories from being formed for 30 days. At the same time, the mice’s other memories were left untouched and intact.

That sounds like a win to me!

There’s one major thing to remember though. These tests have only been performed on mice. It remains to be seen whether the effect will be the same in humans. Miller and The Scripps Institute are in the process of applying for federal grants and hope to start human trails within the next five years.

When asked about her research, Professor Miller remained hopeful. She said,

“We now have a viable target and by blocking that target, we can disrupt, and potentially erase, drug memories, leaving other memories intact…The hope is that, when combined with traditional rehabilitation and abstinence therapies, we can reduce or eliminate relapse for meth users after a single treatment by taking away the power of an individual’s triggers” (Gizmag).

What do you think? Let us know on social media!

The Deadliest Addiction: Meth Withdrawal

Meth Withdrawal

If cocaine is a hell of a drug, then methamphetamine is the devil himself. Meth addiction has the highest relapse rate of any drug. Some statistics put it as high as 88%. Give that number a moment to sink in.

meth withdrawal
image via Wikimedia Commons

Okay, you’ve digested that 88% relapse rate? Well, it’s not all doom and gloom. In fact, here’s some good news – we absolutely can recover from meth! Thousands of men and women are living proof of this. The one thing they all have in common, besides being shining examples of sobriety, is that they endured meth withdrawal.

Meth withdrawal, among other things, is a grueling psychological process of depression, drug cravings, and reframing our thoughts. Look, it’s not a pleasant experience. That much is obvious. But recovery from meth is possible and within reach of everyone!

So, what are common meth withdrawal symptoms? More to the point, how do we get through this time without going off the walls crazy? Fortunately, Lighthouse Recovery Institute believes knowledge is power.

Sit back and learn various meth withdrawal symptoms and how to endure detox. Sit back and learn how to move from active addiction to a life beyond our wildest dreams!

Learn true meth facts and statistics

Meth Withdrawal Symptoms

Many people think that meth withdrawal doesn’t exist. This is because, unlike opioids or benzo’s, recovery from methamphetamine doesn’t require a physical detox.

What these people don’t realize, though, is the incredibly difficult psychological process of meth detox. To help combat the false belief that there’s no such thing as meth withdrawal symptoms, find a list of common ones below:

• Shaking

• Nausea & Vomiting

• Irritability

• Extreme Depression & Anxiety

• Hot & Cold Sweats

• Exhaustion

• Sleeping for Extended Periods

• Intense & Overwhelming Drug Cravings

These meth withdrawal symptoms make clear how grueling a process methamphetamine detox is. In fact, some of the above symptoms are ever physical! How can people argue that meth doesn’t produce a physical dependence when users detoxing experience exhaustion, sweats, and nausea?

Okay, so the above meth withdrawal symptoms don’t sound too pleasant. What should someone looking to kick a meth habit do? That’s where the professional step in!

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There’s Hope For Recovery!

While meth withdrawal can be done cold turkey, it isn’t recommended. In fact, it’s strongly discouraged. Remember, meth has an 88% relapse rate. Do you want to chance relapse on a drug as dangerous as meth?

methamphetamine withdrawal
image via Wikimedia Commons

Not to mention, drug and alcohol rehabs offer some wonderful services for those suffering from methamphetamine withdrawal. Many treatment centers offer nutritional support. Taking vitamins and eating right (whole grain foods rich in fiber) can help to mitigate some meth withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment centers also offer a safe place to detox and recover from meth addiction. They’re a place where addicts are physically unable to get drugs or booze. So, when an intense craving hits, as it surely will, recovering addicts are safe and protected in rehab.

If you or a loved one have experienced any of the above meth withdrawal symptoms, call Lighthouse Recovery Institute today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015 We’re here to offer our hand during a tough time. We’re here to guide you to a brighter tomorrow.

Which drug is considered legal meth?

Meth Addiction Facts: What’s True and What’s False?

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Meth Addiction Facts and Statistics

Meth addiction is one of the fastest growing drug trend in America. In fact, meth is a quintessentially an American drug. It’s gives the user energy and a feeling of confidence. Think your morning cup of coffee times a thousand. Over the last ten years, meth abuse and addiction can safely be called THE drug epidemic in America.

Meth Addiction Facts

There’s a ton of information out there about meth and meth addiction. However, these meth addiction facts are often overblown. It’s easy to forget the forest because the trees are ugly. Learn the truth about meth addiction facts today!

How do halfway houses help in early-sobriety?

Meth Addiction Facts

Find nine meth addiction facts below:

• Meth, in its pure form, is an odorless, clear crystal. The color and smell of meth is caused by impurities in the cooking process and by the household products used to make it. So, the blue meth from Breaking Bad wasn’t actually that pure.

• The high from meth is produced by a surge of dopamine in the brain. However, over time, meth actually destroys the brain’s dopamine receptors. The receptors heal, but it takes them about three years to return to the level they were before being introduced to meth. This means that meth addicts are unable to feel pleasure for their early-sobriety.

• Meth causes approximately twelve times more dopamine to release than food or sex.

• There’s a common misconception that meth is instantly addictive and one hit will make you hooked for life. This simply isn’t true. Most meth addicts report it taking weeks, months, or even years for their addiction to become full fledged.

• Pharmaceutical grade methamphetamine is prescribed in the United States under the brand name Desoxyn. It’s used to treat ADHD, severe obesity, and narcolepsy.

•The U.S. government passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act in 1971. This reclassified methamphetamine, and regular amphetamine, as Schedule II drugs. Prior to this law, meth had been a Schedule III drug and was widely prescribed.

•Illicit production of meth involves a host of dangerous chemicals. These include: anhydrous ammonia, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid, red phosphorous, lithium, sodium metal, iodine, and toluene.

•Meth producers in the U.S. now use “smurfs” to gather precursor chemicals. Smurfs are meth addicts who, in exchange for going to multiple pharmacies and buying the maximum amount of pseudoephedrine, are paid in meth.

• Long-term meth use produces a condition known as Rhabdomyolysis. This is the breakdown of skeletal muscle tissues.

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Meth Addiction Statistics

Like meth addiction facts, the statistics surrounding meth are often overblown and untrue. Find nine accurate meth addiction statistics below.

• Large-scale Mexican labs produce 85% of the meth used by Americans. Only 15% is produced in U.S. based labs.

• However, meth labs have been discovered in all fifty of the states. Missouri leads the country, with over 8,000 labs seized during a two-year period.

• In 2004, upward of 3,000 children were removed from meth labs throughout the U.S.

•The cost of cleaning up meth labs in the United States has risen over 1000% since 1995. In 1995, the cost of cleaning up meth labs was approximately two million dollars. By 2006, this number rose again to approximately twenty-four million dollars.

• Each year, there are approximately 14,000 Internet searches for “meth” and 12,000 for “crystal meth addiction.”

•The United States methamphetamine market is valued at between three and eight billion dollars annually.

• Between 1995 and 2002, emergency rooms throughout the country reported a more than fifty percent spike in meth related visits. This translates to roughly 73,000 total visits, or 4% of all drug related visits.

• Treatment centers also report a spike of meth related admissions. In 1992, there were about 21,000 admissions where meth was the drug of choice. In 2004, this number jumped to more than 150,000. This translates to 8% of all treatment center admissions.

•In 2012, there were approximately 440,000 current meth users. This translates to roughly .2% of the population.

Learn about different types of eating disorders and how they interact with meth

What Do These Meth Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

That’s a good question. Meth addiction can mean different things to different people. Think about the stereotypical meth addict – a country bumpkin, homeless and panhandling for change. This accounts for some meth addicts, though certainly not all of them. If nothing else, these meth addiction facts and statistics mean that meth is a growing problem. It affects more and more people and not only those you’d think.

The good news (remember, there’s always good news!) these meth addiction facts show is that there are more treatment centers than ever before. There are residential rehabs, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, even full hospitalization programs. There are treatment centers devoted to nothing besides fighting meth addiction. There are support groups and twelve-step fellowships. There’s even Crystal Meth Anonymous, a twelve-step fellowship devoted solely to meth.

Is Ritalin really “meth-lite?”

Meth addiction is a complicated and often misunderstood disorder. Quality meth treatment requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach. Fortunately, that’s where Lighthouse Recovery Institute steps in.

We offer Comprehensive Addiction Treatment at a variety of levels. Call us today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015 to find out about our individualized and inclusive substance abuse programs.

Recovery is possible for anyone and everyone. Learn how we help you or a loved one take the first step towards a new life.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Guiding You to a Brighter Tomorrow

We are here to support you during your time of need and help you make the best decision for yourself or your loved one. Click below to speak to a member of our staff directly.