Crystal Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is not a bad habit. It is not a sign of moral or personal weakness. Addiction is a disease. Meth is a powerful drug that can quickly contribute to its development. As UCLA[1] shares, “Methamphetamine use disorder is a serious psychiatric condition that can cause psychosis and brain damage…An estimated 12 million Americans have used methamphetamine, nearly 400,000 of whom are addicted to it.” Meth addiction is not rare. Individuals who struggle with it do not struggle alone. Anyone can become addicted. Those who do deserve love, support and understanding. They deserve the effective treatment that can give them a future beyond the drug.

Who Becomes Addicted to Meth?

Television, other media, and public preconceptions create an image of a meth addict. This image is not always accurate. Most meth addicts do not fit stereotypes. As the Washington Post[2] explains, the media depicts, “meth users as largely disconnected from society and utterly desperate. That’s not always true. There are ‘functional’ addicts, especially working mothers, who rely upon strong stimulants like meth to juggle their sundry responsibilities. One plausible theory has it that the rise of meth coincided with the rise of low-paying low-skilled service work, where people had to work multiple menial jobs to earn the same amount they used to earn in one manufacturing job, or other good-paying low-skilled position.”

Addicts can, and often are, hard workers. They can be mothers, fathers, friends and coworkers. There is no typically meth user. Anyone can become addicted. Anyone can find recovery.

Why Does Meth Addiction Happen?

Distressed manMeth has short-term and long-term effects. Short-term physical effects include its infamous, immediate stimulant effects. Meth causes the body to release large amounts of dopamine. Wakefulness and euphoria follow. The pleasurable effects quickly fade. Frontline[3] shares, “With repeated use, meth depletes the brain’s stores of dopamine and actually destroys the wiring of the dopamine receptors. This is a major reason why users become so addicted to the drug; without it they are no longer able to experience pleasure (a condition known as anhedonia), and they usually slip into a deep depression.” Meth use leads to tolerance. Individuals need more and more of the drug to reproduce its desired effects. As use increases in frequency or quantity, unwanted side effects multiply.

Frontline continues, “Meth is a powerful stimulant that causes the heart to race and the blood vessels to constrict, which can lead to a number of serious medical problems, including heart attack, stroke and even death…Users generally exhibit poor judgment and dangerous, hyperactive behavior.” Meth addiction causes immediate, negative effects. While users may remain “functional” at first, meth use quickly becomes obvious. Consequences begin to accrue.

Long-term meth use multiples the short-term risks. It impacts overall physical and mental health.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse[4] (NIDA) explains, “Chronic abusers may exhibit symptoms that can include significant anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood disturbances, and violent behavior. They also may display a number of psychotic features, including paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions.” Many of these effects reverse with recovery. However the longer a person remains addicted, the longer he or she will experience negative health effects. NIDA continues, “Psychotic symptoms can sometimes last for months or years after a person has quit abusing methamphetamine, and stress has been shown to precipitate spontaneous recurrence of methamphetamine psychosis in formerly psychotic methamphetamine abusers.” It is never too late to recover from meth addiction. However the sooner you take action for yourself or a loved one, the less time overall wellness will take to achieve.

Who Does Meth Addiction Hurt?

Family in distressMeth use clearly hurts the individuals using the drug. It challenges mental health and changes brain function. Users risk immediate physical harm. They may overdose or have a heart attack or stroke. Poor judgement and hyperactivity resulting from use can lead to accidents. Users may convince themselves that their meth use isn’t that serious or that it only impacts their lives. However meth-influenced accidents may harm others. DUIs and violent crime put the public at risk. Parents using meth put their children at risk. Meth addiction has far-reaching effects. It does much more than hurt an individual.

Integrated, Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

Addiction is more than a physical health concern. It is more than a mental health issue. It is a complex, chronic disease. It is also a treatable disease. Professional, integrated care offers real hope for recovery.

Treatment should be comprehensive. It should recognize the physical, mental and social effects of meth use. It should address any and all underlying mental health issues such as depression. NIDA explains, “The most effective treatments for methamphetamine addiction at this point are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency-management interventions…A comprehensive behavioral treatment approach that combines behavioral therapy, family education, individual counseling, 12-Step support, drug testing, and encouragement for non-drug-related activities has been shown to be effective in reducing methamphetamine abuse.” Other treatment methods may benefit some users. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to meth addiction. The Canyon offers a variety of treatment methods and a personalized treatment plan. Comprehensive care leads to long-term recovery. You can find healing for yourself or a loved one.


[1]http://newsroom.ucla.edu/releases/ucla-researchers-identify-a-potentially-effective-treatment-for-methamphetamine-addiction. “UCLA researchers identify a potentially effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction.” UCLA Newsroom. 19 May 2015. Web. 3 Dec 2016.

[2]https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/15/heres-what-breaking-bad-gets-right-and-wrong-about-the-meth-business/?utm_term=.143fad6c003f. “Here’s what ‘Breaking Bad’ gets right, and wrong, about the meth business.” Washington Post. 15 Aug 2013. Web. 3 Dec 2016.

[3]http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/meth/faqs/. “Frequently Asked Questions.” Frontline. 16 May 2011. Web. 3 Dec 2016.

[4]https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/what-are-long-term-effects-methamphetamine-abuse. “Methamphetamine.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sep 2013. Web. 3 Dec 2016.


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