Meth Addiction Causes & Effects

Learn About Meth Abuse

Learn About Meth Abuse & Treatment at Life Healing Center

Methamphetamines are one of the most highly addictive drugs in existence. Commonly referred to as meth, this lethal substance possesses the capability of damaging nearly every aspect of an individual’s life and can quickly lead to an addiction after even just one use. The intoxicating high that occurs after a person uses meth creates feelings of euphoria and a sense of detachment from one’s self and surroundings because of the release of dopamine within the brain. Prolonged abuse of this substance fosters tolerance for it and results in the onset of intense withdrawal symptoms should a person end his or her use of this drug.

Allowing a chemical dependency concern of this kind to continue can lead to several devastating effects that can also affect the user’s close friends and loved ones. Familial conflict, interaction with the legal system, and financial strife, for example, are known to happen when a person is an abuser of methamphetamines. Fortunately, there are viable treatment options that exist that can help these individuals break free from their addiction to meth and resume healthy and sober lives.

Statistics

Meth Abuse Statistics

The prevalence of methamphetamine abuse in the United States is alarming. Among all Americans, over one million people have reported using meth at some point in life, with approximately 600,000 of those individuals abusing this drug weekly. In the Midwestern part of the U.S., criminal cases involving methamphetamines account for ninety percent of all drug-related cases reported. With staggering numbers such as these, the meth epidemic in the United States is, sadly, an ongoing problem.tional Survey on Drug Use and Health (NS-DUH) reveals that nearly 9 percent of the U.S. population has abused an illicit substance in the past 30 days and that substance abuse is a contributing factor in more than two million emergency room visits every year. NS-DUH data also reveals that more than 17 million Americans abused alcohol in the past year and that that just fewer than seven million people abused an illicit substance over the same time period.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances costs the U.S. more than $700 billion every year due to crime, healthcare expenses, and lost productivity.

Causes & Risks

Causes and Risk Factors for Meth Abuse

The reasons why and how a person comes to abuse methamphetamines is reliant on a few factors. Genetic and environmental influences can greatly impact the inception of meth abuse. Consider the following elaborations, along with the listed risk factors, that explain how a person may be more vulnerable to abusing this perilous drug:

Genetic: A substantial amount of research supports the notion that a tendency to abuse substances, such a meth, can be tied to one’s genetics. If a person has a family history of addiction, there is a greater chance that that individual will eventually partake in recreational drug use or develop an addiction at some point in life as well.

Environmental: It is possible for a person’s environment to impact whether or not meth will be abused. For example, those who have been exposed to drug use, have easy access to meth, and have encountered exceedingly stressful environments or situations are likely to begin abusing methamphetamine. Furthermore, individuals with a personal history of trauma are at a heightened risk for abusing meth if the unresolved emotional turmoil that is associated with such experiences are not dealt with in a healthy manner.

Risk Factors:

  • Personal history of trauma exposure
  • Exposure to crime and/or chronic stress
  • Exposure to drug use
  • Easy access to methamphetamines
  • Family history of substance abuse and/or addiction
  • Personal history of abusing other substances
  • Personal history of mental illness
  • Family history of mental illness

Signs & Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Abuse

Depending on the severity of one’s addiction to meth, the telltale signs that someone is abusing this dangerous drug can vary. Additionally, the obviousness of a meth addiction can depend upon the length of time an individual has been abusing methamphetamine. To know if a loved one is battling this type of chemical dependency problem, it is a good idea to take note of any of the following signs and symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • No longer participating in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Excessive talking
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Possessing meth and other drug paraphernalia
  • Missing work
  • Change in peers
  • Social isolation
  • Erratic or aggressive behaviors
  • Failing to adhere to responsibilities

Physical symptoms:

  • Acne
  • Facial tics
  • Muscle spasms / twitching
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blood pressure changes
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Foul body odor
  • Development of sores on one’s skin

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Hindered decision-making capabilities
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Memory loss

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Low self-worth
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Drastic and fluctuating emotions
  • Irrational feelings of fear, worry, and dread
  • Depressed feelings
  • Irritability
  • Agitation

Effects

Effects of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine abuse can cause a great deal of devastation in the lives of those who use this substance. With the potential to impact every area of a person’s life, the following are some examples of what can happen if an addiction to meth is longstanding and if treatment is not sought:

  • Deteriorated physical appearance
  • Decline in mental health
  • Decline in physical health
  • Decrease in the effectiveness of one’s immune system
  • Contraction of viruses, such as HIV or hepatitis C as a result of using needles
  • Inability to acquire or maintain steady employment
  • Financial difficulties
  • Social isolation
  • Demise in meaningful relationships
  • Losing custody of one’s children
  • Declined occupational performance, potentially leading to job loss
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Overdose
  • Death

Co-Occurring Disorders

Meth Abuse & Co-Occurring Disorders

A great deal of research supports the notion that mental health conditions can coexist alongside substance use disorders. Trauma-related disorders, namely post-traumatic stress disorder, are one such type of mental health disorders that can cause a person to turn to drugs, such a meth, as a means of coping with turmoil. The listed disorders are those that are also known to occur alongside a meth abuse problem:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder
  • Additional substance use disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Depressive disorders
  • Bipolar disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Meth Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of meth withdrawal: Because an individual who abuses meth quickly develops a tolerance for this substance, ceasing one’s use of methamphetamine leads to the onset of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as a result. These symptoms are often enough to prevent a person from being able to abstain from using meth and can pose a number of risks that can be life-threatening. The following are examples of such effects that infer a person is withdrawing from methamphetamine:

  • Paranoia
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Weight gain
  • Abrupt drop in energy levels
  • Intense cravings for more meth
  • Depressed feelings
  • Increased anxiety
  • Psychomotor tics
  • Suicidal ideation, which could lead to attempts at committing suicide

Effects of meth overdose: It is possible for a person to lose his or her life as a result of overdosing on meth. This costly effect of abusing methamphetamines is one that is a constant threat as users of meth often require increased amounts of this drug in order to experience the high they desire. The following are effects that should be heeded as warnings that a person is overdosing; effects that also warrant emergency medical attention in order to prevent a grave outcome:

    • Kidney failure
    • Breathing problems
    • Heart attack
    • Seizures
    • Stroke
    • Chest pains
    • Loss of consciousness
    • Coma

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I used to abuse biker's crank to feel alive. One day, I looked in the mirror and saw how it completely altered my physical appearance. After getting rehab at Life Healing Center, I am now 3 years sober and getting my old life back together!

– Joshua A.