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Desoxyn (Methamphetamine) Addiction and Treatment Options

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

February 1, 2019

When people abuse Desoxyn (methamphetamine), they experience a heightened rush, or sense of euphoria, similar to a surge of adrenaline. These highs are incredibly intense which often fosters addiction. Desoxyn is a dangerous drug, which may result in horrible consequences for those who abuse it, including the possibility of overdose or death.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is a stimulant drug that has highly addictive properties. Named for its similarity in composition to amphetamines, meth has been around since the late 1800s. It has been used for many different reasons through the decades, including for treating obesity in the 1950s. Though it was banned for most uses in the U.S. in the 1970s, it became popular again in the 1990s, and is still recreationally abused today, including both illicitly-manufactured versions and prescribed ones.

First created in the 1940’s, Desoxyn is a prescription form of methamphetamine that is used in rare instances to treat ADHD and certain weight loss concerns. Street names for the drug are chalk, crystal, glass, ice, speed, and tina. Desoxyn may be administered orally, smoked, snorted, or by injection.

People affected by Desoxyn abuse seek use of it for the euphoric feeling it produces or the “rush.” Though this rush only lasts approximately five to 30 minutes, it is intense and gives a sense of well-being. Other desired side effects can last up to six to 12 hours, such as increased activity and lack of appetite. Because of the limited initial rush, those affected by abuse may take frequent and increased doses in an attempt to keep a continuous high. This increases the risk of side effects and overdose.

Meth Side Effects

Because the initial rush is small, but side effects can be long-lasting, people abusing Desoxyn and taking sequential doses (binging) may experience prolonged side effects. These include staying up for multiple days with no sleep due to increased energy.

Other side effects may be:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Changes in mood
  • Headache
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased perspiration
  • Increased respiration
  • Involuntary and uncontrolled jaw clenching
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Pupil dilation
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia)
  • Violent behavior

Long-term binges may also increase the risk of severe adverse health effects, such as:

  • Hyperthermia, or increased body temperature, which may cause fainting
  • Severe itching, known as “crawling” for the feeling produced under the skin
  • A condition known as “meth mouth,” which may include broken or cracked teeth and dry mouth
  • Cognitive problems with thoughts and memory

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How Does Methamphetamine Work In The Brain?

The Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) explains that, “methamphetamine is a very strong psychomotor stimulant that mimics the actions of certain neurotransmitters that affect mood and movement.” It works by releasing the pleasure chemicals dopamine and serotonin, which produce the euphoric feeling and sense of well-being. Even after the effects of Desoxyn have worn off, the brain remains in a high-activity state, which is responsible for the prolonged state of alertness. However, once the side effects are gone, the brain lacks dopamine, which results in a feeling of depression. In fact, the “low” feeling is as horrible an experience to the person abusing Desoxyn as the “high” is intensely powerful—it tends to be the reason most people continue to abuse meth or Desoxyn. People seek the high to avoid the depressive state.

Unfortunately, the drug may also have neurotoxic effects, damaging the brain and causing changes in thinking or memory loss. It may also destroy brain cells which contain dopamine and serotonin. Further, with prolonged abuse, Desoxyn may also cause the brain to produce decreased levels of dopamine overall. This decrease may cause the affected individual to develop health conditions with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. Because it is a stimulant, Desoxyn stimulates, or enhances, reflexes and movement. It may also produce compulsive, repetitive behaviors which have come to be associated with meth abuse, such as twitching and scratching or picking at skin.

What Are The Long-Term Health Effects Of Meth Abuse?

In addition to changes in the brain, methamphetamine may have long-term psychological and physiological effects as well. For example, as CESAR explains, “higher doses or chronic use have been associated with increased nervousness, irritability, paranoia, and occasionally violent behavior.” Prolonged abuse may lead to psychosis with characteristics similar to that of schizophrenia. Some psychotic symptoms may include self-absorption and hallucinations. Perhaps the most dangerous stage of abuse comes with “tweaking,” or the stage that comes after a binge of several subsequent days. Those who are tweaking experience extreme irritability and paranoia and may seek constant use of the drug.

What Types Of Drug Addiction Treatment Are Available?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), cognitive behavioral therapy and contingency-management intervention have been effective in treating meth abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches addicted individuals to form lifestyle behaviors which are free from substance abuse. Contingency-management interventions “provide tangible incentives in exchange for engaging in treatment and maintaining abstinence.”

However, the treatment plan shown to be most effective in treating Desoxyn abuse tends to a comprehensive one. In other words, treatment plans should cover many necessary aspects of treatment. One such plan is the Matrix Model, which utilizes behavioral therapy, family education, counseling at the individual level, participation in a 12-step program, substance testing, and encouragement for and support of substance-free lifestyles.

Another method is Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). It is often used in combination with other forms of therapy including behavioral and counseling. Medication may help lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms. It can also help replace a person’s substance use with a lower, safer dose of a prescribed drug, tapering dosage of the drug until the person being treated no longer needs it. This type of treatment requires close monitorization and professional administration; some medications can be addictive, so it is important that medication for treatment is followed as prescribed.

Finally, many people find the most successful treatment programs stem from a residential environment, as is offered in an inpatient drug rehab center. In a rehabilitation facility, addicted individuals can heal in an environment free from the influence of substance abuse. They will receive professional support and care 24 hours a day, help with medication, and have access to all the resources they need for their specialized treatment plan, such as therapy, counseling, and medication. As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains, “these programs focus on helping individuals change their behaviors in a highly structured setting.” Ultimately, rehab facilities aid addicted individuals in long-term treatment goals and in preparation for return to their communities.

Begin Treatment For Methamphetamine Abuse

Desoxyn is a dangerously addictive prescription drug that can be fatal to those suffering from chronic abuse. Not everyone suffering from addiction will make it into treatment and receive the help they need to recover. However, if you are struggling today, and are ready to make that change in your life, or if you would like to get help for someone, we can help.

Contact us today at to find out about possible treatment plans and to learn about treatment facilities that will best fit your needs.

Center For Substance Abuse Research - Methamphetamine

Drug-Free World - How Methamphetamine Affects People’s Lives

National Institute On Drug Abuse - DrugFacts: Methamphetamine

National Institute On Drug Abuse - Methamphetamine: Research Report Series

U.S. National Library Of Medicine - Methamphetamine

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