The Devastating Effects of Meth
Many people are aware that there is an addiction epidemic in the United States. What many people don’t realize is that crystal meth addiction is a big part of the equation. While the country has been slowly addressing the opioid epidemic, it’s once again battling problems with newer, stronger versions of the drug.
Although methamphetamine has been around, its popularity had dropped during the years of the opioid epidemic. Quietly, meth use has surged in the past few years with a potent new formula that police departments have dubbed meth 2.0. This stronger, crystallized form is also called Ice. Stronger and more addictive, the drug is more dangerous than previous renditions. It also sometimes comes laced with drugs such as fentanyl, which could cause deaths.
Effects of Meth on the Body
On television in the past few years, there have been many fictionalized characters addicted to meth. While some shows glamorize drug use, eventually, the characters do horrible things to themselves and other people due to meth addiction.
Addiction and the lifestyle that goes along with meth use can turn a person into somewhat of a shadow of who they once were. Not all people addicted to meth become violent, but many of them commit crimes to stay in the supply of their drug of choice. People become addicted quickly after using the drug just a few times. Addiction changes a person’s thinking. Because their thinking has changed, and so have their priorities. This is why many medical specialists recognize addiction as a disorder of the brain.
Here are some of the other physical changes that methamphetamine use can cause:
- Elevated body temperature. If a user forgets to drink water or is already experiencing heat due to the weather, this can kill them.
- Insomnia due to the “upper” effect of the drug, which can cause sleep loss for days.
- Dry mouth and stained or rotting teeth. Methamphetamine causes dry mouth problems, and addiction to meth can cause a person to neglect their hygiene. This combination can wreak havoc on oral health.
- Skin issues. People with an addiction to meth often have open sores. They often itch and pick.
- Headache, high blood pressure, and heavy sweating. These can also be signs of an overdose.
- Vision problems such as blurry vision.
- Exhaustion, dehydration, and malnutrition. Meth can make people look anorexic, and when high, users may forget or neglect to eat.
Addiction to meth is never pretty. Many people who are addicted to change physically and rather quickly. The change is dramatic and scary; meth can eat holes in your teeth and cause them to out. Users can lose their hair, becoming malnutrition and sickly looking. They often lose a lot of weight. Some people who are addicted to meth act like they are schizophrenic, paranoid, or delusion. There is a danger of meth psychosis.
Emotional and Mental Effects of Meth
One of the most devastating effects of crystal meth is an addiction. It’s a drug that can cause physical and psychological addiction after using it just a few times. This is because of the changes it causes in the brain. When a person uses methamphetamine, their brain over-produces dopamine, giving them a euphoric high that can last twelve hours or more. Once the high is over, the brain has usually depleted its dopamine and has trouble making more. This can cause anxiety and severe depression until the user uses again, creating a cycle of addiction.
Other emotional effects of meth include:
- Anxiety, sleeplessness, and mood swings.
- Depression after coming down from the drug.
- Lowered inhibitions and poor decision-making ability.
- Delusions and paranoia. This can also lead to meth psychosis, which we’ll cover in detail next.
- Intense drug cravings and anxiety related to drug use.
Psychosis is probably one of the most troubling and alarming problems that can arise out of meth use. Delusions, paranoia, a propensity for violence, self-harm, or other scary behaviors can quickly occur in meth users. The drug itself makes changes in the head. Loss of sleep can also cause the effects of meth on a person’s mental health to be exacerbated.
Methamphetamine can affect the same neurotransmitter that has problems when a person has schizophrenia or other disorders that can cause psychosis. This means a person will exhibit many symptoms of the mental illness schizophrenia, but once they have gone to “sleep it off” or detox entirely, they will slowly shift back to reality.
For a family member or loved one, this effect of meth can be terrifying. For the user, it can be terrifying, as well. Hallucinations cause them to lose their grip on reality, and they may want to harm themselves or others because their delusions make them feel unsafe. Some people who have meth-induced psychosis may believe that their skin is itchy because of bugs or parasites, causing them to tear at their skin.
Meth Psychosis and Mental Illness
Meth-induced psychosis is common among those who may have pre-existing mental health problems, such as anxiety or bipolar disorder. However, meth addiction is most common in people who have personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder (BPD); there is a high prevalence of meth psychosis.
People with mental health disorders are at risk of brain damage when it comes to meth. People with BPD have poor impulse control and tend to self-medicate. This makes them more vulnerable to overdose and other dangerous side effects. Many personality disorders also cause people to have destructive tendencies and use drugs like meth because they also have an eating disorder. Meth can make it, so a person doesn’t sleep for days.
There is a chance that a person who has drug-induced psychosis will detox from the drug completely but still exhibit symptoms of psychosis. As mentioned earlier, meth can cause brain damage. Changes in the brain are slow to recover. Some people with underlying susceptibility to mental health issues may have to learn to live with them.
Researchers still don’t know if people who use meth are more prone to mental health disorders because of the drug, or if they are more prone to use it because of the disorder. In any case, both meth addiction and mental health disorders can be treated at the same time with the help of addiction recovery professionals.
Recovery from addiction is possible no matter what or how much you used. Don’t give up! People can live strong, healthy lives in recovery even while treating their mental health disorder, too.
Considering Home-Based Detox?
Many people find that home-based detox is the best solution for their first step in recovery. We can help you with licensed and trained clinical staff. At home, we’ll help you stay as comfortable as possible and maintain a safe, compassionate environment. Give us a call at 888.592.8541 to learn more about how we can help.