Meth Addiction: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment of Meth Abuse

When people typically refer to meth addiction, they are talking about illegal street versions of methamphetamine. But, in some cases, amphetamines are prescribed by doctors to treat conditions such as ADHD or obesity. This class of drugs has a high addictive potential and can easily be abused even when dispensed under a doctor’s supervision.

Meth use can lead to serious and long-term mental, emotional, and physical problems. Families and peers should know about the many dangers associated with methamphetamines and street meth, especially if they are concerned about a loved one.

Meth Addiction Treatment Services

If you or a loved one has a problem with meth—prescribed or otherwise—there is hope. Treatment available through The Haven Detox-New Jersey, where all patients receive personalized, evidence-based care, making them comfortable and at home in a new life of recovery.

Treatment options range from the evidence-based medical meth detox (the first critical step toward wellness) to full-time residential care. Residential meth treatment facilitates a secure, safe, and stable home-like environment where therapy and recreation combine to create holistic healing. You can learn more about our New Jersey meth addiction treatment services by calling (856) 565-3102.

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Meth is highly addictive. At the start of use, a person usually feels a rush of attentiveness and wakefulness. They are alert, excited, and euphoric, with an intense rush of happiness due to the release of chemicals induced by meth in the brain. This triggers the reward system in the brain and entices a cycle of addiction to take root.

But, the high is short-lived. The rush of energy and alertness fades, but the brain continues to want the repeated experience and effect of the drug. People who suffer from meth addiction or other substance abuse disorders are familiar with the intense cravings that are prone to happen as the addiction develops and deepens.

As use continues, meth abuse only increases the likelihood that mental illness and addiction will take hold of the person affected by cravings for meth. In addition to the euphoric effects of meth, there may also be some short-term but dangerous side effects as well:

  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Heightened temperature
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite

Beyond the short-term side effects and health risks of abusing meth, there is also the possibility of severe mental and physical symptoms, which include weight loss, dental decay, and skin sores from excessive scratching and itching.

When to seek meth addiction treatment…

If you use meth and are unable to stop because you find yourself craving the high and fear the withdrawal from the drug, it’s time to ask for help from an evidence-based provider like The Haven Detox. Our facility is not a place of judgment or guilt but compassion and healing.

We know how difficult and painful it can be to live in active addiction as you watch a drug take control of your life. Our detox and residential services allow clients and patients to learn new skills to manage their lives while also clearing their bodies of the toxicity of meth abuse for long-term sobriety and true health.

Some signs that it may be time to make a call to The Haven Detox-New Jersey include mental symptoms of meth abuse like the following:

  • Acute anxiety
  • Severe confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Violent outbursts
  • Paranoid delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Cravings

If you need meth addiction help, call The Haven Detox-New Jersey at (856) 565-3102 to speak with a confidential admissions counselor.

If a loved one needs meth addiction help…

If you notice that a loved one is losing weight, has serious dental problems, or is showing sores, and you suspect meth abuse, it may be time to talk to a counselor about ways to intervene. There’s always hope for a loved one to turn their life around after being grabbed by the hooks of meth addiction.

At The Haven Detox-New Jersey, we use advanced, innovative, and personalized approaches to addiction treatment that help people detox safely while avoiding relapse traps. We offer family therapy options and support groups so that the whole community can heal around an individual dealing with active addiction.

If a friend or loved one needs meth addiction treatment, call The Haven Detox-New Jersey at (856) 565-3102 to learn how to help.

Meth Addiction Causes

Meth addiction, like all addictions, is a disease that cannot be narrowed down to a single cause or consequence. Instead, experts will tell you that addiction to meth or alcohol (or any other drug) is caused by a combination of environment, family history, brain changes, and traumatic events.

Of course, some factors are more responsible for addiction than others. Factors like family history, genetics, and the addictive potential of the drug of choice can increase the chances for addiction development.

Family History

Most doctors and specialists consider addiction a largely hereditary disease that is more likely when someone else in the family carries a history of substance abuse.

When a parent or sibling, for example, has a meth or other substance abuse issue, it makes it more likely that another person in the family will endure the same experience if they are exposed to the drug within the environment.

If there is a family history of drug abuse, this also makes it more likely that a person will be exposed to the drug, putting them into a greater risk category for developing a substance use disorder simply because of where they come from and who their parents and siblings may be.

At the same time, some researchers believe that certain people are born with different brain structures that make them more susceptible to addiction. They may not have a family history of addiction or drug abuse, but they themselves are vulnerable.

Addictive Potential

Meth has high addictive potential because its effects of stimulation, euphoria, and wakefulness are so potent. It rewards the brain with a rush of dopamine and other “feel good” chemicals, making it more likely that a person will choose to use the drug, again and again, to chase after the high.

Without certain structures and protections in place, a person is likely to develop a meth addiction when certain risk factors are present such as drug availability, peer pressure, and lack of supervision. These are all factors that facilities like The Haven Detox-New Jersey take into close consideration when developing a treatment plan.

Meth Addiction Risk Factors

Addiction comes from a combination of influences, but certain factors make it much more likely that a person will succumb to addiction as a way to cope with life’s pain and pressure. Some of these include family history (if drug use is common among siblings or parents), but it can also stem from an underlying mental health disorder like anxiety, depression, PTSD, or OCD.

If you have a mental illness or mental health condition like ADHD or depression, you may be more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol at some point in your life. The loneliness and isolation that some mental health conditions can create can often make these disorders even worse, even when drug use starts as a way to manage some of their symptoms.

In addition, early exposure to meth or other drugs can lead someone down a path of addiction from a young age if they learn that drug use is a viable way to settle moods and handle life’s problems, especially when exposure is to a highly addictive drug like meth.

Drug Availability

If drugs like meth are available at work, school, or home, it stands to reason that this increases the risk of drug dependency. Without the availability of meth, the risk of meth use is much lower.

This is why detox protocols and residential treatment programs are so effective at reducing the consumption of meth and returning former users to lives of sobriety. Treatment operates within secured grounds and safe campuses where there are no drugs for use other than those prescribed by doctors for the comfort of patients during painful withdrawal processes.

Peer Pressures

Pressure to use drugs increases when there are connections to others who use drugs. Those who use drugs are likely to encourage or at least influence others to participate, so peer pressure becomes a serious risk factor when looking at a patient’s life and medical history.

When a patient is admitted into a detox or residential treatment program, a full history and clinical assessment are taken to understand what risk factors are most important to that individual. Peer pressure may or may not play a role in your own or someone else’s active addiction, but it is important to consider when trying to minimize the possibility of relapse after successful detoxification.

Lack of Supervision

A lack of family involvement or bond can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation that can be a breeding ground for substance use and dependency.

Lack of strong bonds and connections to others can increase the risk of addiction, just as a lack of parental supervision can make it more likely that a young person will be exposed to drugs at an early age and become that much more likely to end up as a mature drug user.

Because the brain is still developing at these early ages, lack of supervision can be a serious problem and risk for young people, especially when drug use is already a factor in the environment or family.

Meth Addiction Effects

Meth addiction can have significant and serious consequences for people in the short- and long-term span of their drug use. Using meth often puts people in dangerous situations that they would otherwise never find themselves in or involved with, and they may also find themselves increasingly taking more of the drug to achieve the same desired effects. This can create a greater risk of overdose and death, especially with drugs that can be as addictive as methamphetamines.

Effects on Safety

Meth can be so addictive and potent that it can lead to acute psychotic behavior and breaks with reality. These psychological effects can put people in dangerous situations without a grasp of the consequences.

Beyond the mental health damages possible from having a psychotic break, meth use can lead to serious seizures. Then, there is the potential for actual fatality from overdose as tolerance for the drug grows beyond the limits of the person’s body and ability to withstand the powerful effects of the drug on the brain, heart, lungs, and the rest of the body.

Effects on Relationships

When a person uses meth, just as they might abuse alcohol or opioids, there is a connection to their behavior. Meth use is likely to make them erratic, unpredictable, and prone to accidents, legal issues, work problems, and more.

The strain that all this can have on personal relationships can be severe as people distance themselves from the impact of methamphetamines and no longer recognize the person they once knew so well. With meth addiction, it is not uncommon for there to also be serious marital and family conflicts that include custody battles and other disagreements based on the behavior of the person addicted.

It can take a lot of patience from the people around someone addicted to meth for them to stay around and arrange for help or treatment. That’s why providers like The Haven Detox-New Jersey offer treatment programs that include families, spouses, and siblings in the process of recovery because we know that the entire community needs healing from addiction’s devastating effects.

Effects on Employment

In addition to having problems at home, meth addiction can wreak havoc on people at work and school. Meth use usually means that a person will miss a good deal of work or class and see a serious decline in their performance that ultimately results in a loss of their employment, position, or standing as a student. 

When legal issues come into the picture, it can be even more devastating for the person who then has to deal with the consequences of being put away or fined for possessing drugs, stealing, driving under the influence, or putting others in danger. This can not only cause financial problems that further strain relationships and careers, but it can even lead to a loss of freedom. That’s why getting help for those who struggle with meth addiction is so important.

Effects on Health

Whenever there is drug use involved, there is the risk of complications and health dangers. With crystal meth, overdose, loss of consciousness, trouble breathing, seizures, convulsions, heart attack, and psychological reactions are all very real possibilities—even after short-term use.

In the long-term, there can be permanent damage to the brain and the body, including tooth decay, brain damage, and lasting psychological impacts that differ from person to person based on their unique mental health and physical composition.

If you believe someone you know may be in the throes of meth addiction, it’s never too late or too soon to ask for help from professionals and providers who will treat them with personalized care and compassion.