Erlanger Behavioral Health Hospital offers high-quality services and support for adolescents, adults, and senior adults who are struggling with methamphetamine addiction. Located in Chattanooga, TN, Erlanger is a leading provider of meth addiction treatment.
Learn about meth addiction
Methamphetamine, known more commonly as meth, is a dangerous and addictive stimulant. The effects of meth abuse can range from short-term problems to lifelong damage. If you have been struggling with a meth addiction, it’s imperative to seek help as soon as possible.
Meth can be injected, smoked, snorted, or swallowed. The drug itself works by triggering the central nervous system to release a surge of dopamine (a hormone that is associated with pleasure). This will make the person feel euphoric, more confident, and more energetic for a period of time. However, the effects of meth are short-lived. The pleasurable effects of meth abuse will give way to an emotional and psychological crash. In order to avoid or overcome these distressing effects, people may feel compelled to use meth again and again. Thus, one occurrence of meth use can quickly lead to a cycle of abuse and addiction.
Without professional help, the cycle of meth addiction can be almost impossible to break. Thankfully, there is treatment available for anyone who is struggling with meth addiction. When you choose to get help at an effective methamphetamine addiction treatment center, you can overcome your urges, regain control of your thoughts and actions, and achieve long-term recovery from meth addiction.
Statistics about meth addiction
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have published the following statistics about meth abuse and addiction in the United States:
- Experts estimate that more than 12 million Americans have used methamphetamines at least once, and about 1.2 million have abused this drug in the previous 12 months.
- About 1% of high school seniors have used meth at least once in their lives.
- About 3% of young adults (ages 18-25) have used meth at least once in their lives. About 1.1% of people in this age group have used meth at least once in the previous 12 months.
- The annual rate of overdose deaths involving methamphetamines increased by more than 150% between 2010 and 2014.
Causes and risk factors for meth addiction
There are varying factors that can influence an individual’s probability of becoming addicted to meth. Some of these causes and risk factors include:
- Family history of addiction
- Family history of mental illness
- Personal history of addiction
- Personal history of mental illness
- Being a young adult
- Being white/Caucasian
- Being in a high-stress environment
- Having a history of trauma
- Living in poverty
Symptoms of meth addiction
Meth use and addiction can bring on a myriad of signs and symptoms. Not everyone will display all of the signs and symptoms, but the following are among the more common indicators that a person has been abusing methamphetamines:
- Poor performance at work or in school
- Failing to meet personal commitments
- Being secretive or deceptive about one’s whereabouts
- Attempting to borrow or steal money
- Significant weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene
- Increased pulse rate
- Major damage to teeth and gums
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Sharp mood swings
- Impaired judgment
- Trouble remembering
Effects of meth addiction
Meth abuse and addiction can cause significant damage to a person’s health and well-being. Potential negative effects of meth abuse and addiction include the following:
- Brain damage
- Loss of muscle mass and bone strength
- Weakened immune system
- Exposure to HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C
- Extreme changes in physical appearance
- Strain in all relationships, personal and professional
- Struggles at work or in school
- Chronic unemployment
- Financial ruin
- Arrest and incarceration
- Suicidal thoughts and ideation
It is important to note that these effects can be avoided when you seek effective treatment for meth addiction. During treatment for meth addiction, you can also begin to heal from any past damage this disease has caused. With the right type and level of care, you can achieve long-term recovery from meth addiction.
Common co-occurring disorders among people who have meth addiction
If you struggle with meth addiction, you may have an elevated risk for the following co-occurring mental health disorders:
- Other substance use disorders
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Gambling disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
Symptoms of meth withdrawal and the potential impact of meth overdose
Effects of withdrawal: After your body adapts to the presence of meth, trying to end your meth use can trigger a variety of distressing symptoms. The following are examples of potential meth withdrawal symptoms:
- Powerful cravings for meth
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Gross fatigue
Effects of overdose: Meth overdose can be extremely dangerous and potentially fatal. If someone who has been using meth shows any of the following effects, seek medical attention as soon as possible:
- Strained breathing
- Rise in body temperature
- Racing heartbeat
- Cardiac arrest
- Loss of consciousness