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Facing the Meth Crisis: The Dangers of Using Meth

The methamphetamine crisis continues to ravage communities across the US, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Meth, a highly addictive stimulant, poses severe risks to mental and physical health, often leading to devastating long-term consequences.

Let’s talk about the dangers of meth, how powerful addiction to it is, what it can do to our health, and how we can recover from addiction to this insidious drug.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, ice, or crystal, is an addictive stimulant that impacts the central nervous system. While similar to pharmaceutical amphetamines (similar to ADHD medication), meth is a synthetic street drug that is known to contain multiple toxic chemicals, including acetone, lithium, corrosives, chemicals contained in fertilizer, and red phosphorous (the chemical that causes fireworks and matches to ignite)!

These dangerous chemicals are NOT safe for human consumption. Fertilizer kills weeds, lithium is in batteries, acetone removes nail polish, and red phosphorous is responsible for the explosions that occur in meth labs. It’s important to know what’s IN meth and how toxic it is! The best way to avoid the dangers of using meth is never to use it!

The Addictive Nature of Methamphetamine

Meth is a highly addictive drug. Using meth floods the brain with dopamine and creates feelings of intense euphoria. Dopamine is our body’s natural feel-good chemical. Healthy levels help us feel good, pay attention, and even move properly.

Dopamine is part of the brain’s reward system. When it is released, the brain links the feeling of pleasure to a reward, such as eating a delicious meal or listening to beautiful music, and then naturally tries to seek out that reward again.

When meth (or another drug, like cocaine or nicotine) releases dopamine, that reward center is activated, and our brains become hard-wired to seek out the experience that created the feeling of pleasure. That pull is mighty and is why meth is so addictive.

How Meth Impacts the Body and Mental Health

Physical Health Deterioration

The physical impact meth has on the body is severe and can happen very quickly. Meth suppresses the appetite and can lead to rapid weight loss. Worse, meth can destroy oral health and lead to major dental problems, including tooth loss. Some meth addicts obsessively pick their skin and have open sores on their face and body. Destruction of an addict’s physical appearance is not all. Meth also increases heart rate and blood pressure, which can lead to cardiovascular problems.

Mental Health and Brain Health Consequences

When it comes to mental health and brain health, the dangers of meth are profound. People who use meth on a regular basis may experience cognitive deficits, including problems with memory and attention. Feelings of extreme anxiety, depression, and paranoia are common, and some people may experience severe psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. Mental health and cognitive symptoms associated with long-term meth abuse can persist after quitting.

Despite the Dangers of Using Meth, Recovery is Possible

As important as it is to remember the dangers meth poses to people with an addiction, we must not forget that recovery is possible. Millions of people have gotten clean with the help of Narcotics Anonymous and a twelve-step program.

For optimal success, meth addiction treatment should include a comprehensive approach that addresses mental health issues that may be present. Pair that with long-term residential treatment offers a safe, supporting environment where people trying to stay clean can learn life skills and relapse prevention strategies, and the chance for long-term sobriety skyrockets.

If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, please look into residential treatment. It works. I say that as the author of this article and as a recovering addict who spent eighteen months in residential treatment. The sense of community and ability to rebuild life after addiction in a safe space is simply unparalleled.

Let Breakthrough Recovery Outreach Help You Break Free from Meth

The dangers of using meth cannot be overstated. Its highly addictive nature, combined with the severe impacts on physical and mental health, highlights the urgent need for impactful treatment interventions and support systems. If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, please get in touch with our team. Together, we can face the meth crisis and pave the way for healthier, drug-free communities.