Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant drug with highly addictive properties. Meth is produced and distributed illegally in the US, whether smuggled into the country or created in makeshift laboratories. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about two million people over the age of 12 reported using meth in the last year. Meth use causes many adverse health effects, but those suffering from addiction can find the path to healing and live fulfilling lives in recovery.
What Causes Meth Addiction?
Meth acts on the central nervous system, increasing energy levels while flooding the brain with dopamine, creating a strong sense of euphoria. Because the feeling of euphoria is so intense, meth users are compelled to seek more of the drug to achieve the same high. Meth use creates a cycle of extreme highs and lows that push an individual into addictive behavior.
Here are a few things you should know about meth use:
Meth Can Change Your Brain Chemistry. Meth alters the dopamine system in the brain, impairing cognition, emotion, and memory. While the brain may heal over time in recovery, meth users are at risk of long-term cognitive problems and a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
Withdrawal Symptoms Perpetuate Addiction. A person using meth is not just chasing a high — he or she is running from withdrawal symptoms. Those symptoms can be severe, including anxiety, fatigue, intense depression, psychosis, and strong drug cravings. Without assistance, meth users may easily fall deeper into the pattern of addiction.
Overdose Risk Remains High. Though meth is a stimulant, not a depressant, the risk of overdose is still high. High doses of meth can cause overheating, a heart attack, or a stroke. Meth may be cut with other drugs such as opioids, which affect the respiratory system.
For those addicted to meth, it’s important to get help as soon as possible. Therapies Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help individuals learn to respond to situations differently and develop healthier thinking patterns. People using drugs like meth are often seeking relief from pain, trauma, or mental distress (even undiagnosed mental health conditions). With treatment and support, they can find positive, alternative ways to cope.
What Does Meth Addiction Look Like?
How do you know if someone close to you is addicted to meth? Here are some of the warning signs of meth addiction:
Heightened energy levels
Fast breathing and rapid heartbeat
Increased body temperature
Easily agitated or aggressive
Increase in risk-taking behaviors
Suicidal thinking or actions
Intermittent fatigue and memory problems
A person addicted to meth may show a decreased interest in personal hygiene and self-care.
Individuals may be plagued with excessive itching and may end up creating sores from scratching. Their teeth may rot from lack of oral care, dry mouth, and acidic exposure.
Long-Term Effects of Meth Use
If left untreated, meth addiction can cause a number of physical and psychological consequences. According to DrugAbuse.gov, this may include the following:
Extreme weight loss
Changes in brain structure and function
Addiction to meth occurs more rapidly than addiction to cocaine, and research shows that meth users may continue drug-seeking behavior even when they are tolerant to the drug’s effects. Continuous meth use may cause job loss, broken relationships, financial troubles, and long-term damage to one’s health and well-being.
Many people addicted to drugs like meth don’t think they can recover. They feel ashamed to ask for help or deny that they have a problem. This is difficult for loved ones, but you don’t have to go through the process alone. At BeWell Network, we work with families to engage them in treatment and help them find their own healing. We teach loved ones how to create healthy boundaries and form a support system instead of feeling like they must enable or avoid the addicted individual.
People addicted to meth can recover and rediscover their authentic selves. At BeWell Network, we treat addiction and any underlying mental health conditions so that individuals can thrive again. We are highly experienced, compassionate, and ready to welcome you to a new chapter of your life.
Help for Meth Addiction and Mental Health Issues at BeWell Network
BeWell Network is a family of evidence-based treatment centers. We help individuals suffering from addiction find the path to recovery, offering customized treatment experiences for the restoration of the mind, body, and spirit. If you or a loved one is seeking help for meth addiction or mental health issues, please get in touch with our team today. We can assess your situation and recommend treatment options, verifying your benefits for free. We have a no-hassle billing process and are committed to providing treatment designed especially for you.