Why Is Meth Addictive?
Why Do People Use Meth?
Crystal meth releases a large amount of dopamine in the brain, which creates a heightened sensation of pleasure. When the high wears off, users want to experience that sensation again. As the person continues to use the drug, their brain produces less dopamine, and they must take higher and higher doses to achieve the same effect as before. When they stop using, they may experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms that increase the potential for relapse.
Meth is a highly addictive illegal drug, classified as a Schedule II drug due to its potential for abuse and health dangers.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, meth is sometimes used for medical purposes, but only in very small doses due to its addictive properties. It stimulates the body’s nervous system and causes many serious health effects if used regularly. In extreme cases, it can cause seizures, heart attacks, coma or even death.
Despite the health risks, meth is alluring to many people. According to a January 2005 article from NBC News that highlighted the increased use of meth in various areas across the nation, meth has many pleasurable effects. For those who are feeling down in the dumps, meth can make someone feel like Superman – like they can do anything. Meth can produce a high that lasts hours or even days. Users have an increase in energy. Meth use also increases sex drive and enhance body movement and mood. Meth is preferred over other stimulants, such as cocaine, because it is much easier obtain and very cheap. At just $10 a hit, several teens could party with meth all weekend.
Meth’s Addiction Potential
Meth is a feel-good drug that affects the brain by releasing excessive amounts of dopamine. The dopamine creates a very pleasurable rush, and this rush leads to a high. Once the high disappears, the brain continues to want the drug in order to experience the effect over and over again. This is because meth affects the reward center of the brain. Frequent meth use results in the brain remembering the pleasure it got from the meth. The meth user is then forced to continually seek out the drug in order to satisfy the body’s cravings.
Eventually the brain shuts down the production of dopamine because it is getting more than enough from the meth. The user then cannot experience any pleasure on their own. They must use meth in higher and higher amounts in order to feel happy. Over time, meth use will cause decreased levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter similar to dopamine. This may lead to Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease. Treatment by a professional in a private inpatient meth addiction treatment center is crucial.
Meth Use in Teens
The good news is that meth use among teens is dropping. Here are some other statistics regarding meth use from the 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey:
- Just over 1 percent of high school seniors in the United States reported meth use in the previous year.
- Meth use among teens is at its lowest point since 1999, when it was at 4.7 percent.
- Lifetime meth use among 8th graders dropped from 2.3 percent in 2008 to 1.6 percent in 2009.
- Among adolescents ages 12 to 17, the rate of meth use between 2002 and 2008 has dropped from 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent.
Treatment for Meth Addiction
It can be difficult to recover from meth addiction. Intensive inpatient therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapies, is often necessary in order to teach the user coping skills and change brain function back to normal. The Matrix Model is a highly effective program for meth users.