Why is meth so addictive asks woman who is addicted

Why is Meth So Addictive?

Is meth additive? Yes, extremely so. Can meth’s addictive properties devastate a person’s life? Again, yes. Can you escape the pull of meth addiction and achieve a drug-free future? Thankfully, the answer to this question is also yes. Educating yourself about meth addiction and treatment can help you make the best decisions for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

What Is Meth Made Of?

Meth, which is short for methamphetamine, is a powerful stimulant that is derived from amphetamine. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine are synthetic substances. Unlike other substances of abuse, such as heroin and cocaine, neither amphetamine nor methamphetamine originate from plants or other natural sources.

Meth consists of two enantiomers, which are molecules that are mirror images of each other. In the case of meth, the two enantiomers are levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine.

In the United States, methamphetamine is approved for use to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This legal methamphetamine, which is available only by prescription, is sold under the brand name Desoxyn.

Most of the methamphetamine that is abused for recreational purposes throughout the nation is illegally manufactured in covert “meth labs” that are often set up in houses, garages, or backyard sheds. This version of meth is typically made from ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

As might be expected from such illicit sources, the meth that these labs produce may include a variety of additional chemicals, which may be incorporated into the manufacturing process either to create more powerful effects or to increase profit margins. 

Examples of the many substances that may be added to meth include:

  • Acetone
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Ketamine
  • Lithium
  • Opioids
  • Powdered milk
  • Red phosphorous
  • Sulfur

Some of these extra ingredients in meth are relatively harmless, while others are quite hazardous. One of the many dangers of meth abuse is that it increases a person’s risk for also ingesting other potentially deadly substances. 

Why Is Meth So Addictive?

Two common questions about meth are, “Is meth addictive?” and “How quickly is meth addictive?”

We’ll answer the first question here, and the second one in the next section.

When a person uses meth, the drug triggers a powerful, euphoric sensation along with an intense energy boost. When this effect wears off, a person may “crash” into exhaustion or depression. To avoid this crash, they may take meth over and over again, which can quickly turn from a dangerous behavior to an addiction.

Meth’s addictive properties may also be related to functional and structural changes that this drug causes within the brain and other parts of the central nervous system (CNS). 

For example, meth use triggers the release of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Continued exposure to meth can damage the body’s ability to naturally produce and disseminate these neurotransmitters. This can mean that the only way a person can continue to feel the pleasurable effects that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine produce is to continue abusing meth.

Also, meth use can also cause cognitive impairments. A person who is not capable of thinking logically and making healthy decisions may not be able to resist the cravings that can be characteristic of meth addiction. 

Is meth the most addictive drug?

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Meth?

Contrary to a persistent myth, you can’t get addicted to meth after using the drug just once. However, as we discussed in the previous section, many people use meth multiple times in a brief period in order to maintain the high that this drug provides, and to avoid the physical and emotional crash that can occur when its effects wear off.

This means that meth addiction can occur within a matter of a few days or a few weeks, depending on factors such as how much meth a person has been using, how often they have been using it, and how their body responds to the presence of this drug. 

Can Meth Addicts Ever Recover?

We know meth is addictive. But once a person has developed a meth addiction, can they ever get better?

Yes, people who struggle with meth addiction can recover.

Most reputable experts view addiction as a chronic, progressive disease. This means that it will likely get worse over time if a person doesn’t get effective help. It also means that the goal of treatment isn’t to cure the person, but rather to empower them to manage their symptoms and remain in recovery.

This applies to all substance addictions, including meth addiction. As we have discussed, meth is a powerful, highly addictive substance. But a diagnosis of meth addiction is not a death sentence. When you get the care you need, you can stop using meth and start living a healthier and more hopeful life in recovery.

What are the Best Treatment Options for Meth Addiction?

When you are evaluating meth addiction treatment options, one of the first points to consider is which levels of care are right for you. At Sanctuary Treatment Center, we offer the following programs for people who have become trapped by meths’ addictive properties:

Depending on which program you are in and other individual factors, your care may include elements such as the following:

Some of these services may focus directly on your struggles with meth addiction. Others may address the underlying causes or co-occurring disorders that may have contributed to your meth addiction or prevented you from getting help sooner.

Contact Sanctuary, Our Meth Addiction Treatment Center in California

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a trusted provider of life-affirming care for adults whose lives have been harmed by the addictive nature of meth. With our help, you can end your meth abuse and build a healthy life in recovery. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

Woman experiencing symptoms of meth induced psychosis

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

It is hardly a secret that methamphetamine abuse can cause considerable physical and psychological damage. What isn’t as widely known, though, is that abusing this drug can put a person at risk for a potentially debilitating mental health concern known as meth-induced psychosis.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Meth-induced psychosis refers to a variety of symptoms that can distort how a person perceives their environment. People who experience meth-induced psychosis may also have difficulty managing their emotions and interacting with others in a healthy manner.

As its name indicates, meth-induced psychosis is brought on by methamphetamine abuse. However, it is important to understand that meth-induced psychosis is not the same as meth intoxication. 

Meth abuse can cause changes in a person’s mood, attitude, and energy levels. However, these effects will typically dissipate within 12 to 15 hours. The symptoms of meth psychosis can be much more severe, and they may persist for 30 days or longer.

Symptoms of Meth Psychosis

A person who is in the midst of a meth-induced psychotic episode may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Having auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations (which means they may hear, see, or feel things that aren’t really there)
  • Developing rigid beliefs that have no basis in reality, such as claiming they have magical powers or are being sent secret messages through the TV or radio
  • Being overly suspicious of others, which may include fearing that a friend or family member is plotting to kill them
  • Acting with uncharacteristic and unpredictable aggression, anger, or violence

Dangers of Meth-Induced Psychosis

The following are examples of the many potential dangers of untreated meth psychosis:

  • Physical injuries due to fighting or other aggressive behaviors
  • Health problems due to poor self-care or inability to follow medical advice
  • Being arrested and jailed as a result of violent or aggressive behaviors
  • Being bullied, swindled, or otherwise victimized
  • Worsening of other mental health concerns
  • Continued abuse of meth and other addictive substances
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Homelessness

How Long Does Meth-Induced Psychosis Last? 

How long does meth-induced psychosis last? As is so often the case when discussing substance- or mental health-related timelines, the answer can vary.

To meet the clinical criteria for substance-induced psychosis as established in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must experience psychotic symptoms for no more than one month. According to the DSM-5, symptoms that persist for longer than a month would indicate that the person has schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or another primary psychotic disorder.

However, a September 2016 article in the peer-reviewed medical journal CNS Drugs reported that some people have experienced symptoms of meth-induced psychosis up to three months after ceasing their meth use. 

Obviously, both the intensity and the duration of psychotic symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s meth psychosis recovery. This is one of the many reasons why getting professional treatment is so important. Professionals who are familiar with the meth psychosis recovery process will be prepared to address longer-than-expected symptoms and any other contingencies that may arise. 

Can Meth Cause Permanent Psychosis?

Many people who experience meth-induced psychosis develop long-term psychotic symptoms. 

This potential outcome was shown in the CNS Drugs article that we referred to in the previous section. That article shares a study that involved 1,000 subjects who had experienced at least one meth-induced psychotic disorder. Within six years of their initial psychotic episode, 40% of the study’s subjects were diagnosed with schizophrenia due to their ongoing struggle with psychosis.

How to Help Someone With Meth-Induced Psychosis

If someone in your life develops meth-induced psychosis, it is both common and understandable to be worried, fearful, or even angry. You can’t cure you’re loved one’s meth addiction, nor can you stop the psychotic symptoms they are experiencing. But you can play an important role in connecting them with the professional services they need.

Your first priority will likely be keeping your loved one safe. Depending on what types of symptoms they are experiencing, this can be a significant challenge. Ideally, you should not try to take this on all by yourself. If at all possible, get help from a small group of trusted family members and close friends. 

Once you are sure that your loved one is not in any danger, you should begin to research meth addiction treatment options. Your loved one may need to complete detox, then transfer into an inpatient program. Detox can help them get through meth withdrawal, while inpatient care can help them regain control of their thoughts and behaviors.

There is no single “perfect” way to treat someone who has developed meth-induced psychosis. When you are evaluating treatment programs, focus on finding the place that seems best prepared to meet your loved one’s specific needs. Any reputable facility that you contact should be happy to answer any questions you have about their staff, programs and services, treatment philosophy, typical length of stay, and related topics. 

Begin Treatment for Meth Addiction at Sanctuary Treatment Center

Sanctuary Treatment Center provides multiple levels of personalized care for adults who have been struggling with meth addiction. At our meth addiction treatment center, you can expect to receive a customized array of evidence-based therapies from a team of skilled and compassionate professionals. Untreated meth addiction can be devastating – but we can put you on the path to improved health and long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more.

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Sanctuary Treatment Center accepts most private PPO insurance plans, as well as some private HMO plans. Through private insurance plans, individuals and families can access high quality addiction treatment services. If you have questions regarding insurances, please give us a call.

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