More than 1.5 million people in the United States are addicted to meth. 

You may have seen ad campaigns spreading awareness for drug abuse. Many of these ads warn people not to try methamphetamine, “not even once.” The damaging effects of meth are never worth the temporary high. 

But what makes meth more addictive than some other drugs? Why is a meth addiction so hard to shake? 

Keep reading to learn about the biological effects of meth. 

How Meth Affects the Body

Our brains host a multitude of neurotransmitter receptors. When you experience something pleasurable, like a bite of chocolate or your favorite song, your receptors pick up dopamine. Dopamine tells your body, “Hey, that feels good! Let’s do that again!” 

All drugs rely on dopamine to make a user feel high. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or a chemical message between the brain and body. Meth, like any drug, tells the body to release a flood of dopamine.

Of course, meth addiction is fueled by more than an individual’s desire to get high. Addiction is a biological repercussion of drug use, not just a conscious desire.  

Why People Become Addicted to Meth

Many people know the signs of long-term meth substance abuse, including psychosis, weight loss, skin wounds, and oral health issues. It can be hard for non-addicts to understand why addicted people continue to subject themselves to such physical damage.

The first time a person uses meth, they receive an extremely euphoric high sensation. The experience is so pleasurable and intense that a user’s first high is coded into their brain’s memory forever. This is why you should never try meth – not even once. 

After their first hit, the user will spend the rest of their addiction seeking an equivalent high, but nothing will come close. Subsequent uses of crystal meth will feel weaker and weaker to the addicted person until they become dependent on meth to even feel “normal.” 

At this point, natural dopamine has been completely omitted from their body. The addicted person can no longer feel pleasure from ordinary activities, like eating chocolate. Their life begins to feel dull, empty, and gray, and the only way for them to feel a little better is to use meth again. 

Shaking a Meth Addiction

People with substance abuse disorder are always seeking a new, more intense feeling, and there are few drugs more intense than crystal meth. Other “less dangerous” drugs will not be enough to satisfy the addicted person’s cravings. 

At the same time, withdrawing from meth abuse has severe consequences. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Increased appetite
  • Increased cravings
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Psychosis

Withdrawal symptoms of meth are so severe that they often drive a person to use meth again. If an addicted person fails to heal from their addiction, they are at increasingly high risk of overdose and death.

This is why people with substance abuse disorder need to have strong support networks in place. Addicts must get help for meth addiction to avoid serious consequences. 

Finding Light in the Darkness 

If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, know there is hope for a brighter future! Rehabilitation centers and cognitive-behavioral therapy have saved the lives of many people.  

Don’t wait until addiction consumes your whole life; contact a rehabilitation center as soon as possible. Your life is worth it. 

Did you find this article helpful? Are you interested in learning more ways to take control of your health? Check out the other articles in our health and beauty category! 

By Manali