Why is Meth So Addictive?

Methamphetamine, or meth, is an illegal stimulant drug that rockets users between feelings of intense pleasure and dark holes of depression when the effects dissipate. The drug is considered so dangerous that it is classified as a Schedule II drug due to its potential for abuse and extreme health dangers. In fact, meth is regarded as one of the world’s most addictive substances.

Here is why meth is so addictive, what this drug does to your body and mind, and a path to recovery for meth addicts who want help.

The Addictive Properties of Meth

Meth produces feelings so powerful in the user that they have often been described as the “Superman” effect because users feel as if they can do anything. When meth hits the bloodstream, it creates an artificial pleasure sensation by sending pleasure impulses to the brain. Dopamine is the body’s ultimate “feel good” chemical. With sex, dopamine levels jump to about 200 and cocaine use causes them to reach 350. Several researchers, however, report that met use spikes these levels to 1,250 units.

Even from the first time someone uses meth, the high is significant, and the brain registers that experience as a “hard-coded” memory. From that moment on, the brain tries to recapture those same positive feelings that were experienced with the first use, which is often impossible.

Your brain adapts to meth use almost immediately, which means that more and more of the drug is required each time to “chase” that initial high. This chase leads to severe meth addiction, which has some startling and horrifying effects on your body and mind.

The Effects of Meth Abuse Over Time

Once you begin using meth repeatedly, your brain chemistry becomes altered. Where you were once able to release dopamine naturally, this now becomes virtually impossible as the brain now relies on meth as its sole source of pleasure. The effects of meth on your mind and body vary depending on such factors as age, amount consumed, how the drug is ingested, and any pre-existing psychiatric or physical disorders.

Effects of meth abuse over time can be quite serious and some are even irreversible. These include:

  • “Meth Mouth” (extreme tooth decay)
  • Seizures
  • Impaired Memory
  • Psychosis and Violent Behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart Damage
  • Kidney Failure
  • STDs
  • Coma
  • Death

Fortunately, not all damage from meth abuse is permanent. A paper, published by Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), shows that some of the damage in the brain caused by meth can be reversed after six to nine months of abstinence from the drug. This is just one reason to seek treatment with one of the addiction recovery centers that can help you overcome this powerful addiction.

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Getting Help for Meth Addiction

While quitting meth is not easy, it is certainly possible. What began as an extreme high for most addicts quickly turns into a life filled with losses, illness, and feelings of anxiety, depression, and despair. If you or a loved one are trapped in the cycle of meth addiction, getting help becomes critical. Some addiction recovery centers have developed particular expertise in treating meth addiction, which is just one of the reasons we are confident in our ability to help.

Are you or loved one struggling with meth addiction and looking for a way out? Contact us to learn more about our meth addiction treatment program.

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.