Methamphetamine, like Cocaine, is a stimulant. An “Upper”. It speeds you up, makes you feel invincible, and often makes your perspective more positive as a result. The Dopamine levels in your brain get a boost, creating an artificial reward for abusing the drug.
Meth is the most powerful stimulant out there and it’s one of the most popular, too.
The effects that you get from meth use can be very appealing at first, but it doesn’t take long for meth to start destroying your body. It’s a dangerous substance and one of the most addictive drugs out there.
The Effects of Methamphetamine
The National Institute on Drug Abuse says meth can take over brain chemistry. Dopamine levels shoot up and you feel an intense euphoria. You feel happier than you’ve ever felt before. Those feelings start immediately, and they can last for 12 hours or more, per the National Drug Intelligence Center. But these artificial reactions come at a cost.
The body and brain are damaged by methamphetamine use, even if you can’t feel the damage. A man interviewed for Vice magazine talks about what life was like early in his love affair with meth. He was using it at work because while he was high he felt more efficient. He felt more focused. The meth made it all seem easier. He felt was no fatigue and no boredom. With drugs, he felt like a better employee and he couldn’t feel the brain damage or the changes even though his addiction was beginning to pick up speed. His body and brain were paying the price.
What makes meth appealing is also what makes it dangerous – the intense and long-lasting energy burst. This high can make you feel like you can push yourself harder and longer, but your body is often not up to the challenge, even if you can’t feel it. You may not notice hunger or tiredness, but that doesn’t mean your body won’t be suffering from malnutrition and exhaustion. Just because you can’t feel something happening to your body doesn’t mean you’re healthy. The chemicals in meth make your brain believe you’re superhuman while your body is being run into the ground.
Plus, tolerance is always a variable when it comes to substance abuse. As you continue to use meth, your body builds up a tolerance that decreases the effectiveness of the drug. As a result, most people start using in larger quantities to achieve the original high they’re chasing. They start to need the drug in order to feel normal, nevermind the amount they need to feel superhuman again. It’s not about finding artificial joy anymore; it’s about finding your next fix and doing anything you can to avoid crashing after a binge.
The Consequences of Using Meth
Meth is downright toxic to a number of vital biological processes, especially in the brain. Every time you use meth, the brain is flooded with dopamine. Dopamine is usually a good thing, but too much of a good thing is exhausting for your brain. The result leads to you brain developing a tolerance to dopamine, and not responding to normal levels anymore. Prolonged meth use can make you physically and biochemically unable to feel happiness without abusing drugs.
When you get to this stage, the things that may have once brought you joy now leave you with no feeling at all. Honest and natural happiness has become elusive and impossible to obtain naturally.
Brain cells involved with behavior can also be damaged by meth use. And when that happens, per PBS, a person’s actions and reactions can become really strange.
People who take meth often can develop:
- Violent Behavior
Meth addicts might seem crazy. They talk to people who aren’t there. They worry about issues that don’t exist. They yell and scream at nothingness. They’re unable to stop the emptiness and the cravings, and they lose their sense of identity.
Psychosis can set in, making a meth user act differently. In a psychotic state, they exist in their own world. They’re seeing and hearing things that exist only in their mind. The fear or anger that they experience in this state may seem crazy to us, but to them, it’s very real. Someone you know and love can become violent and dangerous in this state and they don’t realize that what they’re doing is wrong. The drug, or the absence of it, wreaks havoc on their mind and body.
Meth is also very hard on your circulatory system and heart. Meth causes the little vessels (capillaries) that deliver blood to shrink. Tissues require nutrients, and when blood vessels are constricted, parts of the body don’t get what they need to function properly. This restricted blood flow is why meth abusers tend to physically age unnaturally fast. Their teeth fall out. They develop skin sores. Their body looks emaciated.
A person once full of life looks hollow and unrecognizable.
Addicts may not remember what things were like before their drug use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says meth can ruin parts of the brain that deal with reward, motivation, and pleasure (due to the decreased response to dopamine). Meth addicts may also have trouble learning, regulating their emotions, or even organizing and communicating their thoughts. Sobriety seems pointless in their eyes, which can make it difficult to encourage them to undergo addiction treatment for their meth problem.
What is “Crystal Meth”?
Methamphetamine is sold in two forms: one is powdered, and one is crystalline. The solid form is often known as crystal meth, and it tends to be a bit purer than the powdered form, according to Medical News Today. But that makes the drug even more potent. Even more addictive. And even more dangerous.
Multiple Meth Problems
Meth addiction can destroy finances. In South Carolina, for example, a pound of meth was worth an estimated $50,000 in 2015. That’s a lot of money. For someone not hooked on a deadly drug, that kind of money would go to a mortgage, or education, or saved for a rainy day. But to a person with an addiction, crystal meth is the only thing worth buying. Meth comes before an addict’s health. It comes before obligations. It comes before friendship. And it comes before family. Children of meth addicts often go without because to a parent with a meth addiction, the drug comes first instead of their child. Their addiction is so strong that it hijacks parental instinct. Meth has become more important than caring for a child. The drug is the only thing that matter to an addict. Finding it. Keeping it. Protecting it. And finding more of it.
Batches of meth you buy on the street aren’t made in pristine laboratories. There’s no quality control, no cleaning, no sterilizing. Instead, the drugs are made fast, and they’re made dirty. As an expert quoted by the Washington Post puts it, dirtier drugs make dealers more money. Dirty drugs don’t work as well. So the addict buys more, and someone hooked on meth will pay every time. So the dealers make more. Why would they make meth cleaner? They’d lose money.
So dealers often put additives in meth. These are products you normally wouldn’t ingest:
- Talcum powder
- Nail polish
- Drain cleaner
- Lighter fluid
- Other drugs
- Dirty water
Even if meth is considered “pure,” it’s far from safe. With chronic use, according to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, people can develop serious forms of brain damage. And it can be hard to find the bottom of that addiction. The changes caused by this addiction are knitted into the fabric of the brain. Meth hardwired you to want more meth. And that’s a hard cycle to break.
A man interviewed for the New York Daily News is a good example. This man tried to make meth in his car. He wasn’t a chemist. He just wanted to get high. But then everything caught fire. The man was irreparably burned. He was badly scarred. His life was ruined. And yet, he continued using the drug for another year before trying to get clean. He couldn’t stop. This life-changing fire and disfiguring accident wasn’t his bottom.
If someone in your life is showing signs of meth abuse, you might feel like nothing you’re saying or doing is helping. You might feel hopeless and helpless. But according to Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA), they suggest you learn more about what crystal meth is and why people take it. Learning about addiction is a good first step is to understand what’s happening to your loved one. From there, you can decide what kind of treatment your loved one may need.
We’d like to help. At Northbound, a meth addiction rehab center in Orange County, we offer oneEighty, our residential sub-acute detox to help with the immediate withdrawal and transition gently away from the using lifestyle. From there, we offer a full continuum of care for the meth addict. At our meth addiction treatment center in Orange County, we walk with our clients as they fight their addiction. With our In Vivo treatment at Northbound, we slowly introduce them back into the real world, and teach them how to live without any mind-altering chemicals. We even offer Collegebound, a program for those who want to pursue an education while in treatment. And then there’s Careerbound, for those who want to find a job and build a career while in treatment. We walk with our clients as they put down the pipe and pick up new life skills.
Get Treatment for Meth Addiction at Northbound
Meth Addiction doesn’t have to be the end. Addiction recovery is a beautiful new beginning. We’d love to help you or your loved one regain control and get a second chance at life through sobriety. Call us today to find out more.