Methamphetamine, or meth, is a highly addictive stimulant. While it was once used to treat medical conditions, widespread abuse of this drug became a problem in the 1960s. That’s why the US began restricting its use more than ever in 1971.
Despite it being illegal to take recreationally, many people still use it. 774,000 said they had used it in the past month. And about 964,000 people over age 12 reported a problem with meth abuse in 2017 alone.
If you’re among those people or think you know someone who is, it’s important to learn about meth dependence. More specifically, you should learn the most common causes of meth abuse. You should also find out more about the physical and social effects of meth, and how to get treatment for this problem.
Are You Addicted to Meth?
Meth is very addictive. In fact, some people become addicted to it the first time they try it. This is why medical experts advise against anyone using meth even once. So whether you’ve used this drug only a few times or on a regular basis for years, you could be battling a physical and psychological addiction to meth.
If you’re unsure if you or someone you love may be addicted, take a look at the most common physical and mental signs of meth addiction:
- Sores on the body
- Facial acne
- Rotting teeth (known as meth mouth)
- Very thin, frail looking body
- Severe urge to scratch skin
- Droopy looking facial skin
- Decreased appetite
- More energy
- Increased body temperature
- High heart rate
Behavioral signs of meth addiction
- Lying about meth use
- Hiding meth stashes around the house or car
- Job loss due to meth use
- Withdrawal from friends and hobbies in order to use meth more
- Meth related social problems & legal issues
- Reckless behavior and actions
- Violent or criminal behavior
- Sudden need for cash, even stealing to get it
If you or someone you know displays these behaviors, it’s time for help from a meth addiction counselor. Getting a meth intervention and the right treatment from caring professionals—such as those at Bedrock Recovery Center—can save your life.
You don’t even have to display all these symptoms to be someone with a physical and psychological dependence on meth. If even just half of these symptoms sound like you, you might be a functioning addict who has simply gotten good at hiding your drug abuse from friends, family, and work.
Maybe you consider yourself a social meth user. This means you only use it once in a while around certain friends. Or maybe you think you have your drug use under control just because you’ve never had a meth blackout or other serious incident with this substance.
But meth statistics and studies show that even occasional use can lead to long-term issues related to meth. Brain damage, seizures, coma, and death are just some major issues you might face if you remain addicted to this drug.
That’s why it’s important to understand meth psychology. This includes the reasons behind this addiction, long-term effects, and how to get treatment.
Common Causes of Meth Abuse
If you suspect you’re addicted to meth, you probably have some questions about why and how that it is. Is drug addiction genetic? If not, how did you end up with a biological dependence on meth? Check out the main causes of meth abuse to understand how your addiction may have gotten to this point.
The first thing to know about meth is that the reason it’s so addictive is how it affects the brain. In particular, it pushes the brain to release a surge of dopamine. This leads to euphoria that can last up to an hour. It’s usually followed by a period of increased energy for up to 24 hours.
As with any other drug, the more you use meth, the higher your tolerance gets. This means you need to use more to keep getting the euphoria you’re looking for. Couple this with intense cravings, and you can see why you can easily get addicted to meth even after a few uses.
While anyone can develop an addiction to meth, some people are more likely to do so than others. For example, many people use meth as a way to cope with mental illness. In fact, a study found that more than 60% of youth getting treatment for drug abuse met the criteria to be diagnosed with mental illness.
There’s also a genetic component to drug addiction. So if your parents, siblings, or other family members are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’re more likely to be addicted, too.
Of course, your environment also plays a role. If you lead a stressful life, you might be tempted to turn to drugs to let loose. This may be the case even though the long-term effects of meth on the brain and body are anything but positive or fun! And for some people, the promise of extra energy and euphoria sounds attractive if they’re low on energy or are depressed.
Finally, some people only try meth due to peer pressure. So if your friends, relatives, or roommates use meth, you may be more likely to try it. As a result, you could become addicted.
In general, these factors may make some people more likely to use meth than others:
- Mental illness
- History of traumatic events
- Eating disorders
- Family history of drug addiction
- Stressful lifestyle
- Lack of energy
- Addiction to other substances
If any of these common causes of meth abuse sound familiar, you should get treatment. When you talk to professionals about your drug use, you’ll learn the basics of the biological theory of addiction. You’ll also be able to talk about why you’ve become addicted, what treatments are best for you, and more.
Effects of Meth Addiction
If it’s clear that you’re addicted to meth, it’s time to arrange for treatment. After all, spending even one more day addicted to this dangerous drug can affect your health. The physical and psychological effects of meth could not only hurt you, but they could also be deadly.
While some of the short-term effects may feel pleasant at first—like euphoria and more energy—there are also negative effects that you might not notice while you’re high. They include decreased appetite, faster breathing, faster heartbeat, and higher body temperature.
The long-term effects are even worse for your health. They often include:
- Memory loss
- Mood swings
- Extreme weight loss
- Rotting teeth
- Less focus
- Slower thinking
- Risk of stroke
- Brain damage
And of course, there’s a risk of overdose any time you use meth. This is often deadly. For this reason, getting treatment for your addiction is critical.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
When you seek treatment for your meth addiction, you’ll have to start by detoxing from the drug. Once you quit meth, you’ll have to go through about a week of meth withdrawal symptoms. They often include the following:
- Stomach cramps
- Muscle aches
- Increased appetite
- Shaking (known as the meth shakes)
You’ll also have intense cravings for the drug, and you might even have suicidal thoughts. But when you choose a treatment center like Bedrock Recovery Center for the detox and treatment you need, you’ll have a caring, experienced team to support you. Shortly after you begin your stay here, your symptoms will subside and you’ll start to see why treatment is the right path for you.
So if you’re ready to quit your dependence on meth, come to Bedrock Recovery Center for help. We have a variety of treatment options available to you as soon as you decide to get sober. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer!
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.