Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, speed, or ice, can be highly addictive and dangerous to your health.
It’s also been shown to lead to weight loss in some people who use it chronically or at high doses.
National surveys show that meth and amphetamine substance use sometimes appeal to people looking to drop pounds without dieting or exercising.
But it’s not as simple as it sounds on the surface. Meth-related weight loss can signal a meth addiction, which comes with its own set of side effects to the body, and gaining weight is difficult to nearly impossible with an active addiction.
Fortunately, treatment can help address both meth use and the side effects of meth.
How Meth Use Leads To Weight Loss
Here’s why the stimulant drug meth causes a person to lose weight:
Loss Of Appetite
Physiological cues, such as blood sugar levels, play a significant role in appetite regulation.
The prefrontal cortex in your brain and stria get hunger signals when the stomach is empty, or the body needs nourishment.
Neurotransmitters communicate differently when levels of dopamine are dysregulated.
Fat And Muscle Loss
Methamphetamine use may make a person eat less. And if there is insufficient nourishment, the body will use muscle and fat to source energy.
The body will use calories from fat reserves as an energy source. If a person loses a lot of fat and stops eating, the body will use muscle and protein stored in the body as fuel.
That causes a loss of lean muscle mass and a decrease in body mass.
Crystal meth may also cause you to engage in excessive physical activity. Because fat and muscle are burned off quickly, this may result in weight loss.
When a person is high on meth, they may be more active than usual. This activity can lead to extreme weight loss because it burns off extra calories.
A person who is on meth may experience extreme hyperactivity (usually accompanied by irregular body temperature and heart rate).
They may be awake for days at a time and engage in exercise, which burns calories.
Tooth Decay (Meth Mouth)
When a person is on meth, they may not brush their teeth or eat properly. That can lead to tooth decay. Continued dental problems can lead to meth mouth or dry mouth, which can cause infection.
Weight loss can be attributed to food aversion due to difficulties chewing and discomfort in the mouth.
Inflammatory substances released into your system when your body responds to a long-term gum infection can affect your body’s ability to use and store fat.
Reversing Meth-Related Weight Loss
For people looking to reverse meth-related weight loss, replacing heavy stimulants with a healthy diet can help.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends foods high in fat, carbohydrates, and protein, such as beef and poultry.
Vegetables like broccoli and spinach are also rich in vitamins and minerals to replace nutrients lost due to drug use. You can also visit your dentist to treat any dental problems.
However, the best way to treat the effects of meth is to address the underlying issue: meth addiction.
Behavioral Health Treatments For Meth Addiction
Psychotherapy and medication options are available at addiction treatment centers to help address behavioral health disorders stemming from methamphetamine abuse.
People with a meth addiction often have co-occurring psychiatric disorders like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety, or psychosis.
Meth use can also lead to high blood pressure and Parkinson’s disease. Some of these problems may be severe enough to necessitate treatment on their own.
Health providers may also recommend psychosocial therapy methods, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT).
Meth treatment programs may help people effectively manage mental health and withdrawal symptoms as they detoxify and begin recovery.
Find Addiction Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center
If you’re considering meth addiction treatment, it’s important to find a treatment center like Bedrock Recovery Center that offers a state-of-the-art facility and effective treatment methods.
We use evidence-based drug addiction therapy to deliver comprehensive care while keeping our clients close to their loved ones through family programs.
Speak with the experts at Bedrock Recovery Center for assistance with meth-related weight loss and recovery from methamphetamine addiction.
Bedrock Recovery Editorial Team
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This page does not provide medical advice.