Mephedrone Addiction- Symptoms, Side Effects, How to Get Treatment & Rehab
If you suffer from a Mephedrone addiction and need to act now, call 0203 955 7700 to speak to one of our experts for immediate help or to find a rehab center.
Mephadrone is a relative newcomer to the illegal drugs scene. Classified as illegal in 2010 in the UK, mephedrone was initially marketed as a plant fertiliser or bath salts. However, the substance cannot be sold legally for any purpose because it has no legitimate medical uses.
Users describe mephadrone as having a similar effect to a combination of speed, ecstasy and cocaine. The drug works similarly to other amphetamines, giving people who take it a sense of boundless energy, focus and euphoria. The desired effects of mephadrone do not last long – up to an hour – which is why many people take multiple doses in succession, upping the risk of changes to brain chemistry.
People usually take mephadrone in the form of a pill or capsule. Abusers also snort the substance in its pure, powder form. Some people swallow it in powder form using a liquid, like water or alcoholic beverage.
Mephedrone goes by several street names, including 4-MMT, MCAT, bubbles and drone. According to some medical experts, mephadrone does not have any physically addictive properties, however many people develop a psychological dependence on the drug, meaning that it is easy to form a habit around this substance.
Is Mephedrone Addictive?
The extent to which mephedrone is addictive remains a topic of scientific contention. Due to its relatively recent appearance on the illicit drug market, scientists have yet to conduct rigorous studies to investigate its long-term effects.
Currently, the consensus seems to be to treat mephedrone in a similar way to other drugs in its category, like MDMA and cocaine. All these drugs have a similar chemical structure and may exert similar influences on the brain. If they do, then it would suggest that mephedrone is highly addictive, both physically and psychologically. In the interest of the reduction of harm, many health professionals take a cautionary approach, recommending that people avoid mephedrone until they know more about how it interacts with the body.
How Addictive Is Mephedrone?
Anecdotal evidence currently points towards the notion that mephedrone may be quite addictive. Rehab clinic medical professionals report that cravings for mephedrone can be extreme and that people can develop a tolerance to the drug, both of which are hallmarks of other addictive substances. Medical professionals also point out that the custom of consuming mephadrone with other addictive and illegal drugs increases the risk of problematic interactions. While the impact of mephedrone alone is limited, the combination of this substance with others could produce unwanted addictive properties.
Why Is Mephedrone Addictive?
The short-lived nature of the drug may be a factor in explaining why mephedrone is addictive. Given that people may take hit after hit in long succession, there is a chance that users may ingest more of the drug than they intend, leading to issues in the future. Medical professionals need more evidence to determine how addictive the drug is. It is a synthetic drug with a chemical structure that is significantly different from other amphetamine-like substances.
As discussed, mephedrone is a relative newcomer on the recreational drug scene. According to data from The Psychonaut Research Project, mephedrone first became available in Europe in 2007. Internet archives reveal that this was the first year in which people discussed obtaining the drug on internet forums. The first seizure of the substance was in 2007 by French police who mistakenly believed it to be a batch of heroin.
Scientists first synthesised mephedrone in 1929 under a different chemical name. It was originally intended for other purposes and took people a long time to figure out that it had psychotropic properties. Israel initially led the charge to make the drug illegal, outlawing it in 2008. A ban later went into force in the US in 2011 and was made permanent by the Senate in 2012 as a schedule 1 controlled substance. The substance provoked the passage of the Synthetic Drug Abuse Prevention Act.
Mephedrone Addictive Properties
Mephedrone’s addictive properties are believed to stem from the drug’s ability to act similarly to amphetamines. Just like amphetamines, the drug appears to stimulate the central nervous system and alter the brain’s chemistry. The active ingredient, cathinone seems to behave like amphetamines in the body, achieving temporary “highs” and then causing the user to crash. As with amphetamines, people often find themselves compelled to seek out their next hit to avoid the lows that come with going cold turkey.
What Causes Mephedrone Addiction
The causes of mephedrone addiction are varied and not yet well understood. However, part of the reason some researchers believe that the drug might be addictive is because of the psychological effect that it has on the abuser. Mephedrone is able to produce a high similar to MDMA, amphetamines and cocaine. It makes people feel energetic and excited – something which depressed people may not experience in their regular lives. Mephedrone, therefore, offers a chemical route out of day-to-day negative feelings, which may be why people go back to it time and time again.
Signs Of Mephedrone Addiction
Mephedrone is a purely recreational drug. Because of this, taking it is automatically considered abuse. The drug cannot be obtained legally in the UK under any circumstance, even from a doctor.
The signs of mephedrone addiction are many.
- Headaches. People who use mephedrone are usually highly active and easy to distract. This level of activity can lead a person to experience intense headaches following a trip,
- Rapid heartbeat. Like many amphetamine-like drugs, mephedrone can cause changes to the body’s respiratory system. People who use the drug may experience elevated blood pressure and an irregular heartbeat. In people who are at risk, these episodes can lead to heart attacks and strokes, underscoring why it is so important to avoid this drug.
- Reduction in appetite. Mephedrone appears to act as a temporary appetite suppressant. People who regularly use the drug may suffer from otherwise unexplained weight loss. Over time, weight loss can be extreme, leading to further complications, such as a compromised immune system and infertility.
- Shaking. Mephedrone appears to induce shakiness of vibrating vision in certain people which can be disorientating.
- Trouble breathing. Trouble breathing is a potentially harmful sign of mephedrone addiction. If you are experiencing trouble breathing following the use of mephedrone, speak with a medical professional immediately.
- Highly distractable. Because mephedrone induces an effect similar to cocaine and speed, people who take it can be highly distractable, unable to focus on a single thing for more than a few seconds. Although being highly distractable is a feature of many drugs, it is something that is also seen after consumption of mephedrone.
- Clenching teeth. Why mephedrone leads to clenching of teeth is unclear. However, chronic teeth clenching can damage both the teeth and jaw.
- Being overly concerned with the feelings of others. Mephedrone may affect the part of the brain involved in empathising with others. People on the drug often display increased concern for those around them. It can appear disconcerting/
- Speaking rapidly. As a stimulant, mephedrone can induce episodes of extreme hyperactivity where a person speaks at high speed to those around them. Increased energy levels increase the rate at which the brain produces new ideas, encouraging people to communicate at a much faster pace.
- Increased energy levels. Mephedrone is a stimulant. People who are currently experiencing the effects may seem to have higher energy levels and capacity for physical exertion. This increased energy is temporary but also a sign that a person may be under the influence of drugs.
- Appearing uncharacteristically happy or content. Mephedrone can produce feelings of happiness and euphoria for a short time. Its ability to do this is one of the reasons why the drug might be psychologically addictive. People learn that when they take the drug, they feel “normal” and “just like everyone else.” If a person you know seems uncharacteristically happy and they are exhibiting some of the other signs mentioned here, then it could be an indication that they have begun using illicit substances, like mephedrone.
- Dilated pupils. Dilated pupils are a sign that somebody might be medicating with mephedrone (or other similar substances, like amphetamines).
Mephedrone Addiction Symptoms
When it comes to mephedrone addiction, the jury is still out. However, research has uncovered several factors which could indicate possible symptoms of mephedrone addiction.
The initial effects of mephedrone are well documented. Initially, people feel a sense of self-confidence, a buzzing high and sometimes dizziness. As with similar drugs like cocaine, there’s a loss of concentration and impaired memory, as well as a general sense of well-being, ease, and possibly euphoria.
The effects of mephedrone are energising. People who take the drug often neglect to sleep during sessions, thanks to the powerful psychological effects of the drug. Studies of mephedrone users reveal that most people take around 100mg of the drug orally, once per hour. Average consumption runs at about 500mg, and sessions last around six hours, usually before sleep.
People have tried injected mephedrone, but usually with dire consequences. Most people take a sixty-minute break between doses.
The other less-discussed effect of the drug is its role as an entactogen. Medications classified as entactogens are those that generate a profound sense of communion and “oneness” with others in those who take them. Mephedrone helps to activate the empathic centres of the brain, giving abusers the sense that they better understand the feelings and needs of the people around them.
Although the internal sensation is one of empathy, sympathy and emotional openness, the effect of the drug can be disconcerting for people close to the abuser – something that the user themselves can fail to detect while experiencing a high. Friends and family of mephedrone users can feel uncomfortable with the way that the user behaves while exhibiting the effects of the drug, negating the notion that the substance helps people to feel genuinely and authentically more connected. It is a mirage.
What about mephedrone cravings? It appears, like many amphetamine-like drugs, that mephedrone induces cravings. Users report experiencing cravings while using the drug as they look forward to their next hit. But they also say that they experience more intense cravings while sober. The feelings of “wanting mephedrone” were enhanced when users were actively thinking about their next hit.
Am I Addicted To Mephedrone?
A study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found in 2014 that mephedrone may induce more significant changes in the brain than ecstasy. Mephedrone appears to cause a higher release of neurotransmitters, leading to intense withdrawal symptoms.
Changes in brain chemistry can lead to profound changes in the psychology of users. The brains of people who take mephedrone can become accustomed to higher-than-normal levels of neurotransmitters while on a high. When this happens, the brain down regulates the expression of neurotransmitter receptors – the small structures on the surface of neurons that capture and make use of the brain’s chemical messengers. When the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain return to normal, there are fewer receptors to take up these chemicals, leading to negative emotional states.
People who suddenly stop using the drug, therefore, tend to feel anxiety or depression. There aren’t enough receptors left in the brain to take up feel-good chemicals and produce an overall sensation of wellbeing.
As discussed above, whether a person can become addicted to mephedrone remains a topic of contention. It appears to induce dramatic changes in the brain, like other similar addictive substances (such as MDMA), but it has a short duration in the body. Many people can clear all mephedrone from their systems in just a couple of days. What’s more, the effects of the drug are short-lived, leading some researchers to speculate that there is not enough time for the drug to exert effects that will lead to fundamental changes in the structure of the brain.
The main concern has to do with the short duration of the “hit.” A high from mephedrone only lasts about an hour, which means that people taking the drug can easily become preoccupied with when they should have their next round of the drug. Mephedrone’s effects usually kick in after around 15 to 45 minutes. The high can last for longer than an hour (sometimes up to three), but the desired effects such as inhibition and excitement may only last for ten minutes. This can lead to the compulsive taking of the drug and the consumption of high quantities – up to a gram in a single session. The high rate at which the body metabolises the drug can lead to regular “slumps” encouraging the repeated taking of the drug for many hours. Over time, the brain can fail to make sufficient dopamine, leading to problems with feeling content or happy without regular hits.
How To Beat Mephedrone Addiction
If you think that you might have a mephedrone addiction, you may be tempted to deny that you have a problem. When people confront you about your possible dependence on the substance, you may react with anger, rage and frustration, and you may tell them that you only use it recreationally, or deny that you use it at all.
The good news is that you can beat mephedrone addiction and continue to live your life healthily, free from dependence on any substance. Part of beating a mephedrone addiction involves coming forward and telling friends and family about your predicament. However, you may also want to speak to a professional interventionist. A professional interventionist is a medical professional with special training that teaches them how to approach a person who may be suffering from drug addiction and encourage them to get treatment.
Going through intervention can be a challenging experience for all involved. It may be difficult for the person suffering from drug addiction to admit that they have a problem. And the people around them might find it difficult to confront them for a host of interpersonal reasons.
Mephedrone Addiction Treatment
After the intervention, the person addicted to mephedrone usually enters rehab immediately so they can get a drug detox. Rehab facilities ensure that patients can no longer get access to harmful substances, and provide a safe and secure environment, designed to facilitate recovery. Mephedrone addiction treatment usually involves going cold turkey overnight.
Mephedrone Addiction Treatment Methods
Because mephedrone is a relatively new, many rehab centres are still working out the best way to help people come off the drug. Mephedrone contains active compounds called cathinones. Most of the knowledge that rehab centres have about mephedrone comes from information on the effects of this general class of chemicals on the bodies of people and animals. Scientific studies are ongoing, but much of what rehab centres do to treat people with mephedrone addiction is based on anecdotal evidence of what works and what doesn’t.
Coming off mephedrone can be a challenge, especially if you have been on the substance for a long time. Withdrawal symptoms are usually at their worst on days two and three after coming off the drug, with withdrawal usually running its course by day seven.
How To Overcome Mephedrone Addiction
Overcoming mephedrone addiction is a multifaceted process. The most important part of the process is removing the patient from the environment which makes accessing mephedrone easy. This requires that the patient accept that they have a problem for which they need professional support. The next step is for the patient to be able to surround themselves with supportive and compassionate people who are on their side and who understand the difficulties of dealing with a dependency. Being around sympathetic people can help make the process of recovery much more effective and long-lasting.
People in mephedrone rehab may experience several psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms. The main psychological symptoms include tiredness, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression. Many people describe the aftermath of using mephedrone as similar to a hangover following alcohol consumption. It’s a general state of unease and feelings of tiredness combined with negative emotional states.
The physical symptoms may include nasal congestion, shaking, problems with the bowel, and overeating. Because the effects of coming off mephedrone are highly unpredictable, medical professionals strongly advise that those who have abused the substance check themselves in for supervised medical attention in a rehab centre.
Mephedrone Rehab Process
At present, there are no particular medications that clinics regularly prescribe to patients during the throes of withdrawal. However, there is a range of treatments that professionals have been known to give when patients become agitated or uncomfortable. Some doctors prescribe medication in small doses for psychological disturbances, designed to calm patients through the most challenging phases of the rehabilitation process.
Besides physical care, people entering rehab for mephedrone addiction are also likely to receive some kind of talk therapy designed to get to the root of why they are choosing to use drugs in the way that they are. Many people begin using mephedrone as a way of coping with life’s challenges. Mephedrone allows them to feel “normal” once again, just like everyone else. The effects of drugs are transient and fleeting, but they may provide certain individuals with a sense of power or charm that they do not experience in their regular drug-free life. Getting to the bottom of these issues can help make relapse less likely.
Mephedrone Rehab Programs
Mephedrone rehab programs can be split into two distinct parts: one physical and the other behavioural. People undergoing mephedrone rehab will receive direct medical attention during the detoxification process to ensure that they remain in good health over the withdrawal process.
Second, rehab clinics will provide talk therapies and behavioral support. Many rehab clinics use cognitive behavioural therapy to help individuals consciously interrupt the thought patterns which lead to abuse. Cognitive behavioural treatment gives individuals the ability to overcome the destructive habits that put them in situations where they are more likely to abuse substances.
Finally, family therapy can help to eliminate any enabling behaviours of people close to those with drug problems. By including the family in the therapy process, rehab centres can put support structures in place to help patients once they leave the facility. Families are a great tool to help prevent the continued use of illicit substances.
Mephedrone Rehab Cost
Typically, residential rehab clinics in the UK charge around £1,000 per week. For many patients, this represents excellent value. They can finally get off the drugs that are causing health, financial and relationship problems in their lives, and improve their long-term chances of success.
Find A Mephedrone Rehab Center
Entering a mephedrone rehab centre is the first step towards eliminating dependence on this dangerous and harmful drug. With help from Help4Addiction, you can find the right rehab centre for yourself or somebody you know who is currently suffering from mephedrone addiction. We search through dozens of rehab centres in your area and provide you with information and contact details for those that are suitable for your individual needs.
Today, there are many places where you can get help for mephedrone addiction. Rehab centres offer a holistic service. Not only do they help patients navigate the difficult initial stages of withdrawal and detox, but they also provide an impressive array of aftercare, ensuring that people stay off drugs for the long-term. Preventing relapse is a primary consideration and motivation for the vast majority of clinics.
Where To Get Help For Mephedrone Addiction
Finding the right clinic can be a challenge, especially if you are currently dealing with issues with mephedrone or you don’t know much about the services that rehab centres offer. With Help4Addiction, you can get bespoke, easy-to-understand advice and recommendations. You can also get information on how much mephedrone rehab costs and the financing options available.
Rehab offers a safe, medically-supervised environment in which to get better. It takes a person out of their usual context and ensures that they can recover with medical professionals ready to manage withdrawals symptoms.
How To Get Help For Mephedrone Addiction
Getting help for mephedrone addiction is one of the most critical decisions that you’ll ever make. Despite the costs, it represents excellent value. People who go to rehab not only feel better than when they are on drugs, but they can also ensure that they are productive at work and have better relationships with people around them. Getting help for mephedrone addiction is easy with help from Help4Addiction. We can help you find the right rehab clinic for you or your loved one, and provide you with a range of bespoke advice for your particular case. Going for rehab could be one of the best decisions that you ever make, so get in touch with Help4Addiction today to find out more about rehab services in your area. You’ll be glad you did.