Meth, crystal, speed, Tina: methamphetamine goes by a number of names. It’s cheaper than cocaine, and the highs last longer. While that may sound attractive at first, the toll it takes on the user is intense. Your body and mind aren’t made to function at extremes for hours on end, so when the drug’s effects fade, you crash hard. This often leads users to escalate use in order to avoid the negative feelings.
Obsessing over the drug takes precedence over everything else in your life. Activities you used to enjoy fall by the wayside. Relationships do, too. You might experience consequences at work or school, and your body begins to break down. And unfortunately, this breakdown includes your brain. Here’s how meth affects the brain’s physical structure and ability to function.
How Does Meth Affect the Brain?
Normally, your brain sends signals within itself and throughout the body thanks to neurotransmitters. The systems involved naturally release chemicals when something good happens, like eating your favorite foods or spending time with a loved one. Other chemicals are released when danger is present in order to prepare your body for flight, fight or freeze responses.
Meth causes these communication lines to burst into hyperactivity—flooding your body with an unnatural surge in these chemicals that is responsible for the rush of euphoria you feel when using. When your system would normally process these naturally occurring substances and recycle them, the overstimulation disrupts all these processes and ultimately leads to you crashing and feeling terrible.
What Does Meth Do to the Brain?
It doesn’t stop with changes to how the brain functions. Physical changes take place, too. Areas like the hippocampus, cerebellum and cortexes suffer neuron death and white matter throughout the brain decreases.
As if this wasn’t enough, your risk of stroke is increased because meth causes damage to blood vessels, which can lead to clotting. Your brain’s natural defense system for fighting infection and its communication system are also impaired.
And yet, despite all the damage, your brain is continuing to tell you that you need more and more meth to feel good. In a way, meth has tricked your brain into self-destructing and the only way to stop is to deprive your brain of the drug it now craves. Luckily, there is meth addiction treatment that can help your brain recover from the damage meth causes.
Other Harmful Effects of Using Meth
It’s important to note that meth doesn’t just affect your brain. In fact, meth can lead to significant damage to your body, causing the following issues:
- Increased risk of blood-borne diseases like hepatitis
- Elevated blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Meth mouth (tooth decay and damage)
- Parkinson’s disease
Break Free from Meth Addiction at Footprints Beachside Recovery
Meth is highly addictive and can be incredibly difficult to stop using once you’re hooked. Maybe you tried to quit on your own previously, but struggled with relapse. That doesn’t have to be the end of your recovery journey. Footprints Beachside Recovery is here for you.
Our program utilizes a combination of therapy models, including traditional 12-step methodologies, as well as holistic treatment like meditation and outdoor therapy. We customize your recovery plan using these different treatment approaches to help you overcome the biological, psychological and social causes of addiction.