Methamphetamine, or as it is colloquially referred to, meth, is one of the most highly addictive drugs on the street today. Usually ingested through smoking, meth creates an intense burst of elation and energy, forcing the brain to pump out the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is released when human beings feel pleasure. This feeling of euphoria is followed by prolonged periods of agitation and paranoia, as the user struggles with the absence of the increased dopamine levels induced by the drug. The long-term effects of meth use manifest in a reconfiguration of the brain’s wiring, destroying the addict’s dopamine receptors, and effectively making it impossible for them to derive pleasure from anything but meth.
Because meth is so addictive, the withdrawal process can be extremely long and painful. The greater the period of time the drug is used, the more damage it does to the brain, and the harder it is to treat the user for their addiction. This is why it is extremely important that if you or someone you know is addicted to meth, you seek treatment immediately. At Walden, our Southern Maryland drug rehab professionals are committed to creating comprehensive and long-term solutions to help people recover from drug use and move on with their life.
What Happens to Your Brain When You Use Meth for the First Time?
Unlike some drugs, methamphetamine takes a hold on the brain the very first time you use it. While users may not feel any of the negative signs instantly, they do normally feel extremely alert, talkative, and joyful. What’s happening in the brain, meanwhile, is that the user’s reward system is being changed, so the activities which would have made them happy before can no longer compare. For instance, meth is estimated to produce as much as 1,250 times as much dopamine as sexual intercourse. Once that level of pleasure has been experienced, it’s extremely difficult for anything to measure up. This is unfortunately why, for many users, they end up spending a lifetime chasing that first experience.
The Long-Term Effects of Meth Use
As methamphetamine addicts continue to use, they are increasingly unable to take pleasure in anything other than meth. Everything from music to food to sex soon pales in comparison to their addiction. This kind of neurological rewiring can make the user feel fatigued, lonely, and hopeless when not high, often resulting in complete isolation from their friends, family, and the outside world at large. This is why it’s extremely difficult for meth addicts to seek treatment, and why individuals who attempt to quit using meth outside of a proper rehab facility often relapse.
Long-term effects of meth use include:
- Weight loss
- Sleep deprivation
- Elevated body temperature
- Skin abscesses (caused by scratching or injecting meth into the skin)
- Osteoporosis (meth makes teeth and bones extremely weak)
- Decreased libido
- Severe paranoia
- Mood swings
In the worse cases, meth users may become convinced that someone is “out to get them.” Eventually, many believe that everyone in the outside world is evil and trying to take them away from their addiction. These feelings are often accompanied by the physical sensation that their skin is crawling, prompting repeated picking or scratching.
With Walden, Recovery Is Possible
Although the road back from meth is a difficult one, there is hope with Walden. Our intensive detoxification program focuses on psychological rewiring and physical re-acclimation to life without drugs. Our treatment plans involve the body and the mind, addressing the compulsion to use on multiple levels. Accepting most insurances and all Maryland Medicaid plans, we have locations across Southern part of the state, including Charlotte Hall, California, Lexington Park, and Waldorf. At Walden, we believe your addiction does not define you. Call now, and take the courageous first step to get your life back.
For a free consultation, just dial (301) 327-2555.