The devastating effects of crystal meth use and addiction are all over the media. Everywhere you look, people’s lives and families are unraveling. If meth addiction has impacted your life in some way, the more you know, the more you are empowered to do something about it.
How Crystal Meth Addiction HappensCrystal Meth is a psychostimulant that alters the body’s production of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.1 As these levels change in the body, the individual feels different and often acts differently.
Even though crystal meth isn’t physically addictive, it can have long-reaching effects on a person’s body. Meth overstimulates the brain’s release of dopamine, so the individual feels great pleasure because dopamine is part of the body’s reward system. After just a few uses, most people become all-consumed with acquiring more meth. This is the beginning stage of a meth addiction. After meth use, the individual starts to have health problems such as poor dental health, emotional problems, severe itching, and other illness.2 When an individual discontinues use, withdrawal symptoms can occur. Some common symptoms include anxiety, fatigue, severe depression, psychosis, and intense drug cravings.3
Detox Is Primarily For Psychological Withdrawal
Detox is used primarily to help a recovering meth addict cope with the emotional symptoms. But make no mistake–the human brain is very powerful. Emotional regulation is so important to a person’s well-being, and the lack of pleasure during meth detox can be very tough to deal with.
Stimulants tend to depress a person’s appetite and reduce their ability to sleep. This is not surprising since many over-the-counter diet and energy pills use these side effects to their advantage. However, meth is much more powerful than the ordinary diet pill and is a very serious matter.
The Challenges Of Drug Detox
Meth artificially spikes the body’s reward system, and this change renders a person virtually unable to sense pleasure for the first several months of their recovery. The most dramatic drop in pleasure is usually in the initial detox period when meth has just left their system. It can take a couple of years for the body’s natural reward system to restore itself to natural levels. When an individual goes through detox, he needs support, supervision, and sometimes medication. Some people develop depression. No matter how it starts, depression is a serious mental health issue. Depression can even be one of the triggers that leads to drug relapse.
“I am happy and I enjoy the little things in life again,” writes Amy J. for Heroes in Recovery. “Thank God for another chance! I did feel pretty bad for 22 days, but in the grand scheme of life that is really nothing compared to a life free of addiction!”
If you have a drug problem, please call our helpline so we can help. Drug detox is an important first step in addiction recovery. If you have any questions or need more information, please speak to one of our admissions coordinators by calling 760-548-4032 today.
1 Scharff, Constance. Ph.D., “Update on Methamphetamine Addiction.” Psychology Today. 2 September 2014. Accessed 7 November 2017.
2 “Methamphetamine.” U.S. National Library of Medicine/Medline Plus. N.d. Accessed 7 November 2017.
3 “What is Methamphetamine?” National Institutes of Health. February 2017. Accessed 7 November 2017.