How Does Meth Affect the Brain?

How Meth Affects the Brain

How would you respond if someone approached you on the street and asked if you’d like to ingest some poison? Would you run in the other direction? Would you scream for help? Perhaps you would physically restrain the person for attempting to endanger your life. Whichever response you’d choose, it is highly unlikely that you’d readily accept their proposition, let alone pay them for the poison they had offered to give you.

To some, this analogy may seem ridiculous, thinking that a random stranger would offer poison to someone on the street. But if you really think about it, how is this analogy any different from the types of drug deals that take place every day, in every community, around the country?

From heroin to cocaine to meth, the manner in which illegal drugs are commonly created and processed is just as dangerous. Additives like antifreeze, rat poison, drain cleaner and lantern fuel are commonly mixed with methamphetamine in order to increase the amount of the narcotic that can be sold and potentially intensify the potency of the high you’ll feel.

These dangerous chemicals are the very reason so many people addicted to meth find themselves losing their teeth and hair after only a short amount of time.

When you ingest deadly poison, your body immediately begins to shut down, causing multiple vital functions to falter and your overall health to deteriorate. So, if you think the original question is really that preposterous, you have to ask yourself: Is my meth addiction any different?

Is It Worth It? Quick Facts About Meth Effects on the Brain

Methamphetamine is a man-made chemical that is produced within labs all around the country. It is created by combining various over-the-counter drugs containing pseudoephedrine (a component found in common cold medicines) and other poisonous household chemicals.

The ingredients are cooked together in these laboratories without any rules or restrictions. There are no FDA compliance officers monitoring the formulation of meth, so the actual ingredients being used are constantly shifting, and your wellbeing is the last thing any meth “cook” is concerned with when they are making their illegal drug.

Once ingested, meth has an immediate impact on your brain, flooding your system with dopamine and providing you with a synthetically manufactured state of euphoria. This short-lived exhilaration tricks the brain into thinking it needs the dopamine-rush and causes a meth user to quickly become addicted to the substance.

Chasing that false sense of ecstasy is what drives most meth addicts to completely ignore their health and, instead, pursue a life of horrific physical deterioration and mental instability.

How Meth Affects the Brain in the Short-Term

In the short-term, meth can cause a person to experience a number of concerning physical and mental issues. From rapidly deteriorating physical health to emotional instability, meth can cause a person to ignore logical thought processes and replace them with a singular focus: continuing their addiction.

Due to the way meth alters the neurological composition of an addict’s brain, experiencing extreme bouts of anxiety and depression are common throughout the early stages of meth addiction. This is typically the result of wildly fluctuating brain functioning attributed to the chemical compounds of methamphetamine.

Other common short-term issues are:

  • Prolonged periods of insomnia
  • Dramatically decreased appetite
  • Erratic emotional stability
  • Excessive feeling of anxiety and paranoia
  • Disregard for personal well being

These physical and mental consequences of short-term meth use may seem minor, but they are laying the groundwork for increasingly severe issues.

How Meth Affects the Brain in the Long-Term

For those addicts who continue to ingest the dangerous poisons found in meth, the toll that is enacted on their brain and body is significantly more severe. Long-term meth addiction has been attributed to permanent heart damage and increased blood pressure.

Neurologically, meth has been shown to significantly damage blood vessels in the brain that commonly lead to strokes and cardio vascular collapse from an irregular heartbeat.

These consequences of long-term meth use can also result in brain damage that is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, leaving you or your loved one in a perpetual state of dementia, forever paying the price for meth addiction.

The problem with long-term use is the permanent damage that is done to the brain. Thinking that your body can recover once you get clean is a false narrative. Heavy meth use is known to cause cell death in parts of the brain associated with self-control, including the frontal lobe and hippocampus. Damage in this area can manifest with psychiatric symptoms seen in later-stage addiction, including dementia, psychosis and schizophrenia.

Unfortunately, these types of cells are not considered redundant, meaning their function cannot be compensated by other brain cells, and any damage caused to them is typically permanent.

You Can Turn Your Life Around

From long-term physical consequences to permanent brain damage, the ramifications of living with an addiction to meth is uniquely destructive and completely devastating. The sooner you can make the brave decision to admit that the addiction exists, and ask for clinical help, the better chance you have of overcoming this disease.

There is bravery in admitting weakness and honor in requesting assistance. Everyone experiences moments in their life where they need someone to provide them a helping hand; when embarking on your recovery journey, it is commendable to ask for guidance to better ensure long-term success and sobriety.

Life-Changing, Holistic Meth Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

While the physical and mental toll that meth can have on your mind and body is evident, the ability to overcome addiction is within your reach.

Learning to identify the problematic behavioral patterns associated with meth addiction, including the precipitating factors and negative social influences impacting your behaviors, can prepare you to face the addiction head-on and formulate a plan to defeat this disease.

At Ranch Creek Recovery, your successful recovery and sober re-entry into society is our utmost mission.

At our holistic recovery center, our meth treatment program delivers all-encompassing methodologies of medical and physical treatment, psychology, holistic and experiential therapies and preparation to forge the drug free future you desire.

Learn more about our meth addiction treatment program to start your journey toward detox and recovery.

Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.