Written by: Nicki Hari
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: January 3rd, 2023
Addiction to meth can happen extremely fast because of how strong the chemicals in the substance are. Meth addiction can cause serious harm to your body, but despite this, those who suffer often continue to take it, as addiction is a mental health condition that is not easy to overcome alone. Read on to find out more about crystal meth addiction, the signs and symptoms and what makes the substance so addictive.
What is meth?
Meth (otherwise known as crystal Meth or Methamphetamine) is a synthetically produced illegal drug that is easily abused. It is a type of amphetamine which acts as a stimulant for the body. It was first used as a drug for legal purposes to treat depression and other health conditions in the 1950’s era. This was a short-lived period up until the 1970s when the negative effects of the drugs became apparent.
Users of meth can feel an instant high from taking the drug. This ‘high’ is the brain’s release of adrenaline and dopamine, which elevates your mood, and increases your alertness and energy. It is highly addictive because of its strength, so users feel the need to take higher amounts to get the same level of high initially felt. This is how the addiction to meth develops.
How meth addiction can develop
As with any drug, addiction to meth is mostly caused by underlying issues. People turn to drugs as a form of escape from day-to-day life because there may be something in their lives troubling them. This can include issues such as chronic pain, mental health issues, and trauma from early life.
In the UK, meth is not as widely used as other ‘street drugs’, but this doesn’t ease its negative side effects. People who use meth usually inject the substance. In 2018, 43% of people starting treatment for methamphetamine reported injection as the main way of taking the drug (but it can be taken in other forms). In the same year, 100 deaths were registered in relation to Meth in England and Wales, signifying how dangerous the substance can be.
The negative impacts of meth on your body
Negative side effects can come on quickly after first taking meth and usually last for a prolonged amount of time. Some of the most common negative side effects of taking meth are:
- Loss of appetite
- Inducing psychosis
- Mood swings
- Muscle breakdown
- Violent behaviour
- Bleeding in the brain
- Risk of contracting HIV/AIDS through sharing needles
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Sores on the skin
Signs of meth addiction
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from meth addiction, look out for these physical and behavioural signs to see if any of them apply to you:
- Sores on the skin – particularly on the face
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Poor oral health, leading to teeth and gum damage
- Reduced social interaction
- Little to no engagement with professional responsibilities
How to overcome meth addiction
It can be difficult for a person to admit they are addicted to meth. As with any addiction, denial can play a huge factor in starting the treatment process. Denial is the act of refusing to come to terms with a problem (in this instance, being addicted to meth). This is because it can be hard to be honest with yourself because you may fear the reality of the situation. Continuing to pretend that everything is fine can distance you from the situation and mask the problem even more. However, to overcome this, the best course of action is to be honest with yourself.
You can write a list to examine the pros and cons of not taking action to help you see the potential negative outcome of not seeking help. This can help you to start to make a positive change.
Where to get help for meth addiction
If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, there is help available. At Primrose Lodge, we have a rehab centre that offers specialist treatment for addiction to meth. Make sure to get in touch with us for advice and guidance on battling meth addiction for good.