Why Is Meth Addictive?
Around 2.6 million people reported using meth in 2020. Of those, approximately 1.5 million reported addiction to their meth use. Arizona’s historical data shows a serious problem, with no less than 700 individuals being admitted to state-funded addiction treatment centers every year since the late 1990s. Additionally, employers report thousands of meth-positive drug tests of their employees each year. But why is methamphetamine so addictive?
Meth releases large amounts of dopamine when used. Many people use meth as one of their coping strategies for dealing with co-occurring problems. Since dopamine makes you feel happy (or even euphoric), people who struggle with mental health could use it to “feel normal.” Meth is also often used alongside other addictions, like alcohol use disorder.
The first few times someone uses meth, it’s of their own free will. Eventually, however, the brain craves the euphoric sensation the drug gives them and use becomes involuntary. This means a person will crave meth and take larger doses to achieve the initial high they received. Unfortunately, since the body builds a tolerance to meth and other substances, that initial high isn’t possible, and larger quantities place you at risk of overdosing.
The wiring in the brain changes to eventually depend on methamphetamine. Our treatment center can still help those who battle involuntary meth usage. However, it can take several years of substance abuse treatment and sobriety for a person to feel normal after reaching this point. With personalized treatment, treating stimulant addiction is possible.
Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction
Addiction treatment can’t begin until a person recognizes they have a problem. Meth abuse symptoms can vary based on whether there is a co-occurring disorder, such as a mental health issue or other substance abuse. However, a few of the most common signs and symptoms to watch for include:
Treatment for Meth Addiction
Drug rehab is the best option for meth addiction because it’s notoriously hard to get sober alone. An intensive inpatient drug rehab program, beginning with drug detoxification, is recommended as a starting treatment for all substance abuse issues.
Detoxing is a crucial part of meth treatment in which the person allows all of the substance to leave their system. With time, rest and fluids, all traces of meth will eventually leave the system. However, some will need medication-assisted treatment to help them withdraw safely. During this time, meth withdrawal symptoms will be at their worst. Another reason to use inpatient treatment is that it allows you the support necessary to become sober during an extremely difficult withdrawal process.
Withdrawal symptoms are different for everyone but may include:
- Feeling fatigued or excessively sleepy
- Episodes of jitteriness
- Increased appetite, with or without dry mouth
- Extreme meth cravings
- Paranoia, delusions or hallucinations
- Depression, with or without thoughts of suicide
- Agitation, irritation or feelings of anger
- Excessive sweating (including cold sweats)
- Red, itchy eyes
- Nausea and severe stomachache, with or without vomiting
An addiction specialist will work with you to find the best ways to cope with your withdrawal symptoms. Calming activities like yoga or meditation may be helpful alongside medical interventions.