Effects of Methamphetamines on the Family
The use of methamphetamines has a detrimental effect on not only the user but the family members; however, family members may unknowingly partake in enabling the user and themselves. Methamphetamine abuse has torn my family apart. While methamphetamine abuse has classically been seen as a problem of the individual, their lives are not the only ones at risk. All too often, the addict lives in a family setting. ”Studies show that 12 million Americans have tried the drug, with 1.5 million described as regular users” (Denee, 2014). Methamphetamine abuse is usually associated with child abuse, neglect, and domestic violence; it can also lead to the breakdown of a marriage and/or family. Family members who have to deal with the user will often start to reject the user. It is a long and hard road. For the many people who tell you just to leave and move on, it would be nice if it were that simple. Reducing negative impact and harm done to the family is a vital step for the family members.
Effects of Methamphetamines
“Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug that is similar in structure to amphetamine.” (The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction, 2012). There are many street names for this drug: meth, crystal meth, speed and ice are just a few. There are many acute and long-term health effects that go along with using this drug.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has described the symptoms as followed: enhanced mood, increased heart rate, blood pressure, decreased appetite, dry mouth, increased sexuality, and jaw-clenching. The long term effects include addiction, weight loss, impaired cognition, insomnia, paranoia, aggression, mood disturbances, violent behavior, liver and kidney damage, severe dental problems, cardiac and neurological damage, HIV, Hepatitis (The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction, 2012).
Many individuals will put all this aside just to satisfy their cravings. Nothing else matters to them. The hard truth for family members to understand is that the drug is so powerful that regardless of the damages it can do it does not matter to the user.
Signs of Methamphetamines
Knowing the signs of meth is a crucial step. There are many warning signs to a meth addict; they are obsessive with picking at their skin. Meth users do this because they have the sensation of skin crawling. This sensation is known as formication. They have severe tooth decay that is commonly known as "meth mouth." Many will have hair loss, and significant amount of weight loss is also attributed to meth usage due to the lack of nutrients in the body. Meth user's personalities change as well. They become paranoid and delusional. Increased talkativeness and aggression are also associated with meth usage.
Not all meth users show the same signs. Some meth users can trick the family into thinking they have cleaned up their act by showing signs of improvement, when they actually just found newer ways of hiding their habit.
Impacts of Methamphetamines on the Family Members
The effects of meth on the individual’s health are devastating, but what about the innocent family involved in the life of the user? How are they affected in the user’s destruction?
The children in the homes of meth users have no control of the situation. They are caught in the middle of the storm with no way out.
“Children living in homes where meth is produced are at high risk of poisoning, homicides, and accidental deaths and burns due to meth lab fires and explosions. Not only are the children exposed to their parents’ chaotic and drug-focused lifestyles, but they are also exposed to the psychoactive stimulant and toxic chemicals of the drug. One study shows that 55% of children removed from the homes tested positive due to toxic levels of chemicals in their bodies” (Nena Messa, 2011). "Unstable and inconsistent family