Meth addiction

If you’re struggling to control your meth use, it’s normal to feel like the substance is at the root of your problem. However, meth addiction usually stems from underlying emotional and mental health issues. Here we learn what the dangers of meth addiction are and how to spot the signs of one developing.

Meth addiction - pile of methamphetamine

What Is meth?

Meth, short for methamphetamine, is a powerful stimulant that acts on the central nervous system. It can make you feel alert and energetic. Crystal meth is an even more potent form of the drug and can lead to addiction very quickly.

All methods of taking meth are dangerous, but smoking or injecting it can be especially risky because the drug quickly reaches your brain, producing an intense high.

How Do people take meth?

There are several different ways that you can take meth, including:

  • snorting
  • smoking
  • swallowing
  • dissolving the powder and then injecting it

It’s dangerous to take meth in any form, but smoking and injecting the substance can be especially risky. When you smoke or inject meth, it reaches your brain very quickly, producing a quick and very intense high. Injecting the drug also comes with additional risks from sharing needles, such as transferring HIV and hepatitis.

Meth addiction - smoking methamphetamine

What Is meth addiction?

Meth addiction is when you continue to seek and use meth despite the negative consequences. You may feel out of control and unable to stop taking the drug.

However, having an addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. Addiction involves physical changes in the brain that make it very difficult to stop using meth alone. Most people need professional, long-term support to break free from meth abuse. It’s important to be compassionate toward ourselves and others, focusing on treatment and recovery rather than judgement or blame.

How does meth addiction develop?

Meth addiction develops because of the drug’s interactions with the brain’s reward pathway. Whenever you do something pleasurable, your brain releases a small amount of a chemical messenger called dopamine. This affects how your brain cells connect along the reward pathway and motivates you to do that activity again.

Meth addiction involves physical changes in the brain that make it very difficult to quit by yourself. Taking meth floods the brain with dopamine – much more than your body naturally releases. Repeated meth use leads to significant and long-lasting changes in the reward system, producing strong urges to use meth again. These urges, known as cravings, may feel hard -or even impossible – to resist by yourself; however, with professional support, you can develop the skills to manage and overcome them.

What are the signs and symptoms of meth addiction?

If you can’t control your meth use, it’s likely that you have an addiction. Some other signs and symptoms of meth addiction include:

  • Seeking or using meth becoming the priority in your life
  • Neglecting home and work responsibilities because of meth use
  • Often using more meth than you want to
  • Experiencing relationship problems because of meth
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Continuing to take meth despite any negative consequences
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop taking meth

The sooner you receive treatment, the less harm meth addiction can cause you.

What are the dangers of meth abuse?

Meth is a powerful drug that can cause serious harm to your mental and physical health, both in the short term and the long term.

Short-term term dangers include:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Meth overdose, resulting in seizures or organ failure

Meth addiction - rapid heart rate

If you continue to use meth for a long time, you might also develop long-term health issues such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Dental problems (meth mouth)
  • Intense itching
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Meth addiction can also be life-threatening. Government figures for 2018 suggest that amphetamines, including meth, were involved in at least 100 deaths in England and Wales and a further 46 in Scotland.

While these effects can seem scary, addiction treatment can halt and even reverse the damage meth has caused. Leaving meth abuse behind is the only way to avoid the serious consequences and risks it comes with.

What are the causes of meth addiction?

Addiction is a complex condition, and there is no single reason why it develops. Certain risk factors make developing an addiction more likely. These include:

  • Genetics
  • Early life adversity, such as childhood neglect or trauma
  • Exposure to substances in adolescence
  • Growing up in a home with alcohol or drug abuse

Taking the next step

Here at Linwood House, we know how complex meth addiction can be. That’s why we treat the whole person, not just the addiction. If you are worried about meth addiction, contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.

Frequently asked questions

Why are meth and crystal meth so addictive?
Both meth and crystal meth can produce very powerful highs but also lead to tolerance building. This means people need to take more and more just to get the same effects. Meth also affects the brain, and studies have shown that it can impair the brain’s ability to control negative habitual behaviours. A combination of these factors makes meth and crystal meth highly addictive.
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