As it stands, methamphetamine is one of the most highly addictive illicit substances on the market. Methamphetamine – more commonly referred to as crystal meth – is generally sold in the form of small crystalline chunks (hence its street name). Crystal meth is frequently used amongst members of two main demographics – lower-income individuals (those living below the poverty level, usually), and homosexual men.
Because the street value of crystal meth is so low, those living below the poverty level will usually opt for this illicit substance over more costly stimulant drugs, like cocaine. Homosexual men often use crystal meth as a party drug, seeing as it is known to increase sexual stamina and alertness. Of course, other demographics struggle with meth abuse and addiction – like all other chemical substances, meth does not discriminate.
Crystal meth is a manmade stimulant drug, one typically concocted in a makeshift lab from a variety of different chemicals. There are no current medical purposes, and meth is always extremely unsafe to use. The drug is generally smoked using a small glass pipe or used nasally (snorted). The high associated with meth is extremely powerful and intense, and those who use the drug will feel a giant burst of energy and self-confidence as dopamine floods through their brain. This intense rush can cause psychological addiction to develop within the very first use.
Why is Meth So Addictive?
Methamphetamine is highly addictive for several different reasons. These reasons include:
- The potency of the drug. There is no real way to monitor dosing when it comes to crystal meth. Even taking a small “hit” (smoking a small amount) can result in an extremely intense high.
- The quick building of physical and psychological tolerance. Because meth is so potent, tolerance will build very quickly. This means that a greater amount of meth will need to be ingested the second time around for the same high to be experienced – and so on.
- The experience of “chasing the high.” The high is intense, but it is short-lasting. When an individual begins to “come down” – or the high begins to wear off – the cycle of drug-seeking behavior will begin.
- The avoidance of withdrawal symptoms. When the high wears off the user will experience symptoms of withdrawal, which will be very physically uncomfortable. To avoid these symptoms, the user will begin using again – sometimes immediately.
- The development of intense and uncontrollable cravings. Psychological cravings will also often drive someone who has used meth once back to use again and again.
- Severe interpersonal consequences that may lead to continued use. After prolonged periods of meth use, consequences will accumulate. These could include legal trouble, job loss, or mental health issues. Trying to cope with these consequences with a sober mind could prove too difficult, thus the vicious cycle of use will continue.
Effects of Meth Addiction
There are many serious side effects when it comes to methamphetamine and physical, psychological, and emotional health. As far as the physical side of things, meth can raise body temperature swiftly and significantly. This spike in temperature can lead to overheating, and the shutdown of essential internal organs (this, in turn, can lead to death). Physical appearance is also liable to change dramatically. Meth users tend to lose their appetites almost entirely, which can lead to noticeable weight loss within a matter of weeks… even days. Meth use causes paranoia and itchy skin, which leads to picking and ultimately scabbing and scarring.
Dental issues are also common amongst methamphetamine users, hence the unfavorable term “meth mouth.” As far as psychological issues, ongoing meth use can result in anxiety, insomnia, persistent confusion, and even psychosis when taken for a long enough time in great enough quantities.
The emotional devastation that meth use causes are due to personal consequences, which will undeniably continue to accumulate as use continues. Lost jobs, strained relationships, debt… the list goes on. If you or someone you love has been suffering from meth abuse or addiction, help is available. At Garden State Treatment Center, we offer a comprehensive program of meth addiction recovery. Please reach out today to learn more – we look forward to hearing from you soon.