Understanding Meth Addiction

methamphetamine addiction

Methamphetamine (also known as “meth”) is an addictive substance that gives a euphoric and intense high to those who use it. Sadly, prolonged methamphetamine uses actually changes your brain chemistry, which can cause you to lose interest in other aspects of your life.

As addiction professionals, we have witnessed the pain that meth brings to individuals, families and entire communities. Many of the staff at our facility are in recovery ourselves so we understand feeling hopeless and alone. However, the truth is that you are far from alone. Recovery has been possible for many people before you, and it is possible for you.

The Effects of Methamphetamine on the Brain

Meth impacts your brain’s reward centers, causing your brain to release a tremendous amount of dopamine, the “feel good” chemical. This is exponentially more dopamine that you receive from normal pleasurable activities like sex or eating. As you use meth more and more, your brain gets used to receiving exponentially high doses of dopamine, and it becomes difficult to feel pleasure from anything except methamphetamine.

There are many dangers of methamphetamine abuse. Meth use may cause damage to organs like the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, skin and brain. An overdose of methamphetamine can even be fatal.

Long-term methamphetamine abuse can affect the brain so much that it actually causes a reduction in cognitive capacity as well as memory loss. Fortunately, recent studies have proven that remaining abstinent from methamphetamine for two years can lead to full recovery for your brain.

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Meth addiction causes many physical and emotional symptoms. The physical effects can often be visible to family and friends. If you suffer from meth addiction, you may notice:

  • Dry skin
  • Acne
  • Decreased appetite that leads to weight loss
  • Scratches, scabs and sores on the body
  • Trouble breathing
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Aged appearance
  • Pale skin due to blood vessel constriction
  • Poor hygiene
  • Increased libido when high

In addition to the physical effects, meth addiction causes many emotional symptoms. Prolonged meth abuse can cause damage to your mental health. Meth abuse may lead to emotional symptoms like:

  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Insomnia
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Lack of desire to engage in other activities

Meth Withdrawal and Detox

The effects of methamphetamine can last up to eight hours. Once the substance begins to wear off, there are comedown effects that can cause someone to feel horrible. A comedown is different from a withdrawal, and it’s similar to a hangover from alcohol. The symptoms of a meth comedown can include:

  • Sadness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Decreased appetite
  • Hopelessness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lack of motivation
  • Insomnia in spite of exhaustion
  • Muscle pain, especially in the jaw
  • Headache from dehydration

Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms are primarily emotional or psychological. While the withdrawal process from methamphetamine is not dangerous or potentially fatal (as with alcohol or benzodiazepines), but it can still be an extremely uncomfortable time.

The most dangerous symptoms of meth withdrawal are severe depression as well as the potential to develop psychosis. Methamphetamine withdrawal does not typically require medical detox. However, inpatient treatment programs may be the best route to take. With 24/7 supervision from addiction specialists and healthcare professionals, you will be able to take the time you need to heal and begin your path to recovery.

Meth Addiction Treatment

The Recovery Village Ridgefield may be the best place for you to undergo meth addiction treatment. Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington are both about 30 minutes away, and Seattle, Washington is only three hours away. Although our facility is convenient to these cities, our serene campus doesn’t have the distractions associated with urban life.

Our campus is tucked away in the Cascade Mountains, offering a secluded and quiet place for you to begin your path to recovery. Patients at The Recovery Village Ridgefield also enjoy hotel-like accommodations and amenities.

We understand how hard it can be to take that first step to ask for help, but once you do, your life will change for the better. We are here to talk to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us today, and begin your path to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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