What Is Meth Addiction?
For example, meth could be causing you legal and financial problems as well as conflicts in your personal relationships. When you still can’t stop taking it, it may mean an addiction.
Meth addiction often includes physical dependence, though not always. When you use it repeatedly, your body builds a tolerance to meth. You need to keep upping doses to get the pleasurable effects of the drug. At the same time, your body gets used to functioning with meth in its system, so when you suddenly stop using it, your body can’t function correctly. This causes uncomfortable withdrawals.
Effects of Meth Addiction
Meth addiction can affect many aspects of your life. There are a number of physical, mental and behavioral symptoms.
Physically, meth addiction often causes unhealthy weight loss, skin sores and dental problems due to teeth grinding—called “meth mouth.” Additionally, if meth addiction includes physical dependence, it can cause withdrawals such as:
- Severe cravings for meth
- Lack of motivation
- Increased appetite
- Vivid or lucid dreams
Meth addiction also changes the chemistry and structure of the brain leading to severe mental symptoms. These include anxiety, confusion and possibly violent behavior. Some people even experience psychosis and symptoms like paranoia and hallucinations. This can last for months after someone has quit taking meth.
More shockingly, these changes to brain systems can reduce verbal and motor skills and cause emotional and memory problems. This actually reinforces the addiction by causing distress and trauma that people cope with using meth. It may also cause impulsive and addictive behavior that leads to meth use.
Causes of Meth Addiction
Meth releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. When the drug wears off, so do these effects. This quickly creates a cycle where your brain associates meth with the reward of the high, causing you to crave it.
Certain factors can increase the impact of this reward pathway in the brain. For example, depression and anxiety can make the high of meth that much more rewarding because it’s an escape. As a result, conditions like poverty and abuse that cause stress, anxiety and depression are risk factors for meth abuse.
Genetics play a big role, too. Specifically, several genes are expressed in the nervous system and affect the brain’s reward pathways. Repeated drug use can even cause these genes to become more expressed, creating a cycle of addiction. Since genes are inherited from your parents, a family history of addiction puts you at risk as well.
Finally, many high-risk situations can cause meth addiction. This includes peer pressure and having close relationships with other people suffering from meth addiction.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
For those suffering from meth addiction, there is hope in the form of professional meth addiction treatment. Because the causes of meth addiction are so complex, you need experts up to date on the newest, most effective treatment methods to help you work through past trauma and learn coping skills to combat your addiction. These include programs like the 12 Steps and Medication Assisted Treatment as well as techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and internal family systems therapy. Studies have found that these methods lead to more success in abstaining from drugs and living in recovery.
At Northeast Addictions Treatment Center, you can do this all on an outpatient basis. You and your counselors will design a customized program that works around your schedule. Call Northeast Addictions Treatment Center today to get started on your personalized plan.