The Crisis of Meth Addiction Among Gay Men
What Is Meth?
Meth is a central nervous system stimulant drug that causes feelings of euphoria, energy, and well-being, increasing your level of outgoingness and talkativeness, with decreased appetite and increased activity. It is smoked or injected for an intense, brief rush of pleasurable feelings, and it can also be ingested or snorted, which will produce euphoric effects within minutes. It is a potent drug that can lead to rapid physical dependency when abused, much more powerful than other amphetamines as more of the drug can pass through the blood-brain barrier at one time. This rapidly raises dopamine levels in the reward centers of the brain. Still, these effects only last momentarily, so many users will repeatedly take the drug in one session, staying up for several days, foregoing sleep, food, and life’s responsibilities for the drug. Soon a physical dependence is formed, and withdrawal symptoms will appear if the person tries to stop using meth, leading to addiction. Unfortunately, meth addiction among gay men is on the rise, but addiction treatment is available.
Long-term Effects of Meth Use
Long-term meth abuse can seriously harm the body and change the brain over time. Some effects of long-term meth use include:
- Damage to brain cells and memory loss
- Anxiety and insomnia
- Violent mood swings and violent or aggressive behavior
- Sores and track marks on the skin from injection
- Increased risk of infectious disease through sharing needles
- Nasal issues from snorting meth, including chronic irritation, perforated septum, and nosebleeds
- Malnutrition and extreme weight loss
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Liver or kidney damage
- Increased risk of suffering a stroke
- Severe dental problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, and loss of teeth
- Lung issues from smoking meth like pneumonia or bronchitis
- Cardiovascular issues like irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, heart attack, and cardiac arrest
- Mental health issues including psychosis and chronic anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure)
Signs of Meth Addiction
Some signs of meth addiction include:
- Changes in eating habits with extreme weight loss
- Changes in sleeping habits, being unable to sleep
- Mood swings with significant behavioral changes happening quickly
- Aggressive or chaotic behavior
- Fast, rambling speech
- Talking or moving more than usual with excessive energy
- Dilated pupils
- Burns on fingers or lips
- Track marks or sores on the skin from scratching
- New, unusual friend groups
- Isolation from friends and family members
How Is Meth Disproportionately Affecting the Gay Community?
Regarding meth addiction among gay men, statistics show that since the late 1990s, especially in central city areas, meth has caused incredible damage to the gay population of America. Gay men generally report higher drug use and addiction levels than their straight counterparts, and the gay community is the largest consumer of “party drugs.” Meth is also used as part of a “speedball” when heroin or a sedative is dangerously combined with meth. This practice highly increases the risk of death by overdose, as one drug can mask the overdose symptoms of the other until it is too late.
Parties involving sex and drugs are nothing new, but meth parties are becoming increasingly common, with gay and bisexual men and teens using the drug as an aphrodisiac to enhance their sexual experiences. As meth raises dopamine in the brain, this may be a short-term pleasure enhancer, but using meth in this way can cause long-term damage to sexual performance and pleasure. Because meth can be used intravenously (by injection), and drug use can promote risky behavior, there is also a correlation between infectious diseases like HIV and meth use.
Meth addiction among gay men is reaching a crisis level. If you or a loved one is experiencing symptoms of meth addiction or has been using meth or other party drugs regularly and is now unable to quit or cut back without experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it may be time to speak with an addiction professional, counselor, or your doctor to find out what your options are. Drug rehab does not need to be traumatic or scary, and there are plenty of gay-friendly rehab centers around the Los Angeles area that can help you.
When trying to overcome meth addiction among gay men, it is important to have medical oversight when detoxing from meth to ensure you remain safe and healthy. The “crash” from coming down off meth can last between a couple of days and several weeks. You may feel symptoms like:
- Excessive sweating
At Muse Treatment, we offer a Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for detoxing from meth, in which you will move into our facility for the duration of your detox. This process will allow our medical team to be there for you, providing treatments like tailored prescription medications to help with discomfort and rest and ensuring your body can heal safely from the dehydration and malnutrition that often comes with meth abuse.
MAT programs take a “whole patient” approach to wellness. Also, they include dual diagnosis treatments to begin to deal with any co-occurring mental health issues that exist alongside the addiction. This may consist of meth-induced psychosis and underlying conditions that caused the addiction in the first place, like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. Every patient is unique, and we will work with you to help you get to the root of your addiction.
We also provide therapy and counseling within the first few days of detoxing so you have the full spectrum of support and care you need to ensure that the process is not traumatizing, and you have help dealing with any difficult emotions and thoughts as the drugs leave your body.
Meth Inpatient Rehab
Once you have completed your detox program, it is recommended that you move directly into an inpatient meth rehab program. At Muse Treatment, we offer a 30-to-90-day residential inpatient rehab program that includes 24-hour care as you live alongside peers in our safe and sober rehab center.
During inpatient rehab, you will address the underlying issues that play a part in drug addiction, including mental health issues, trauma, and social and family issues. In rehab, you can dig deep, getting to the cause of your addiction through treatments like:
- Individual therapy
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Educational programs
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Art therapy
- 12-step programs
- Life skills training
Inpatient rehab is especially beneficial as it removes you from the usual places, people, and triggers that may encourage a relapse after detoxing. You will move into a 100% sober facility full-time, away from temptation and stress, focusing entirely on your recovery and health. This way, you can genuinely work toward sobriety without distraction, learning healthy coping mechanisms and new skills that will aid in long-term recovery.
Meth Outpatient Rehab
We also offer outpatient programs for drug rehab, including our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) and our Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). Outpatient programs are excellent for transitioning back to your everyday life after inpatient rehab, as you can move back home or into a sober living facility but still receive treatments and support.
- The PHP at Muse Treatment is a program that includes full days of treatment, so you can live at home and commute in to receive the complete guidance and support you need, with therapy, groups, education, and more.
- Our IOP encompasses a broad spectrum of flexible options, as we can work with you to determine how much treatment your individual situation requires. IOP treatment is usually a few days per week in the evenings or on weekends, so you can return to your job or school and take care of your family as you rehabilitate.
All our outpatient programs at Muse Treatment include three main facets:
- Case management
- 12-step integration
If you are motivated, have a sober-friendly place to live, and a strong support group, an outpatient program may be right for you.
Gay-Friendly Drug Rehab in Los Angeles
For gay-friendly drug rehab in Los Angeles, look no further than Muse Treatment. At our meth rehab, we welcome all people and are LGBTQ+ friendly. We have a welcoming community with caring staff members who use trauma-informed care in all they do. We will never make you do anything you don’t want to do, and we believe in gaining informed consent before providing any treatment. Open communication is essential, and we will ensure you feel safe in our care.
With our open hearts, our commitment to care, and our fully integrated spectrum of treatments from detox to inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, and beyond, we can help you stop using meth, reframe your life, and learn the behaviors, skills, and recovery tools you will need to move forward in your life as a drug-free individual. Our outpatient care can be extended to last as long as you need, and we will connect you with a sober community you can count on long-term. Call us at (800) 426-1818 today to find out more about our gay-friendly drug rehab in Los Angeles and how we can help you stop using meth for good.