Methamphetamine is a harmful recreational drug that can cause highly functional individuals to develop a serious addiction that harms their health and overall well-being. This review discusses just how addictive methamphetamine is. Although it is very addictive, recovery from methamphetamine use is very possible with the help of a strong peer and family support system and professional counseling.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug that affects the body’s central nervous system. It is known by many names, such as meth, crystal and ice.
This drug can be consumed in a variety of ways, including in pill form, smoking, snorting and injection. It is similar in nature to amphetamine, which is used for some legal medicinal purposes (i.e. ADHD treatment). However, methamphetamine is different, as it goes to the brain much more quickly and intensely.
It is often abused recreationally as an illegal drug, and is commonly altered with additional harmful elements which are added for stronger psychological effects.
The Addictive Nature of Methamphetamine
The key chemical that causes methamphetamine to be addictive is dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for sending messages between nerve cells, a chemical messenger, playing a role in the way we experience pleasure.
Dopamine also reinforces the behavior that caused the dopamine spike. The use of methamphetamine can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain.
This is what causes individuals to become addicted and want to continually repeat the experience despite it being harmful to their health and overall well-being.
The short-term effects of methamphetamine are somewhat similar to other stimulants such as cocaine, although methamphetamine is often far more detrimental both in the short term and long term.
The short-term side effects of methamphetamine use may include increased alertness and a desire for physical activity, rapid breathing and heartbeat, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, elevated body temperature and a decrease in appetite. Overdose of methamphetamine is very possible if too much of the toxins are consumed at once.
Due to the highly addictive nature of methamphetamine, there are notable withdrawal symptoms. Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms include but are not limited to:
- Increased anxiety
- Severe fatigue
- A depressed mood
- Increase in appetite
- Methamphetamine cravings
Due to the severity of withdrawal from methamphetamine, many health professionals recommend inpatient drug abuse recovery programs where the patient can be properly monitored during detoxification.
Why is Methamphetamine So Addictive?
As discussed, the release of dopamine is the primary reason patients become addicted to methamphetamine.
There are other reasons why a patient may find it challenging (or impossible) to stop the use of methamphetamine without professional assistance and monitoring:
Meth is a High-Potent Drug
Even just a small “hit” of methamphetamine can result in feeling very “high.” This leads to users building a high tolerance for the drug in a relatively short amount of time.
Each time a person uses methamphetamine, it may require them to use more of the drug to achieve the desired effect, which leads them to consistently “chase” the high.
Also, the effects of methamphetamine do not often last long, leading to the need to continually use more to maintain the high.
The Withdrawal Symptoms can Become Severe
Many who use methamphetamine long-term fully understand how detrimental it is to their physical and mental health. Subsequently, many users try and quit numerous times and have a strong desire to not use the drug.
However, most who try to quit on their own, without professional help, are not successful. This is largely due to the severity of the withdrawal symptoms and the strong desire to use the drug throughout the withdrawal stages.
The Psychological and Physical Dependency
The reason the desire to use the drug is so strong is largely due to the fact that the body is telling itself that it needs the methamphetamine.
This leads to dependency and makes quitting without professional help very challenging. People who experience uncontrollable cravings often require professional assistance to ensure they are able to overcome the addiction.
Many who use methamphetamine long-term make poor life choices as a result of the side effects of meth (i.e. hallucinations, delusion, etc.).
This often puts people in legal trouble, causes problems with relationships and creates financial challenges.
Dealing with these concerns can become difficult for the person to do sober, which contributes to drug abuse in many instances.
This is why cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other types of individual therapy are often recommended along with detox treatment.
Contact Aquila Recovery Clinic to Start The Journey to Recovery
Are you or a loved one struggling to quit the use of methamphetamine and/or other substances? If so, then consult with our friendly and professional team at Aquila Recovery Clinic.
We offer methamphetamine addiction recovery and rehab, helping our patients throughout the entire rehabilitation process from detoxification to maintaining sobriety long-term.