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Is Meth Addictive?

No two cases of addiction are exactly alike. It’s a disease with multiple risk factors that include genetics, familial relationships, peer groups, mental health, trauma and more. Drugs like methamphetamine (also called meth, crystal, speed, Tina or crank), can vary in potency depending on how they’re produced and whether they’re used in conjunction with other drugs. With all that said, meth is typically regarded as an incredibly addictive substance with the potential to cause severe damage to your body and mind.

How Does Meth Affect Your Brain?

The first time someone tries meth, the brain bathes in waves of serotonin and dopamine—the chemicals that regulate mood, appetite, memory and give you feelings of pleasure respectively. The amount of chemicals released can be a dozen times higher than from other pleasurable activities. This euphoric rush is only part of what hooks users. Once it begins to wear off, you experience depression and anxiety as your brain’s chemistry is thrown off balance. This is part of the comedown, and it can feel bad enough that you might see using more meth as the only way to get through the discomfort. With each additional use, you build tolerance, and this cycle can lead to binging behavior.

Binging on Meth or “Tweaking”

These binges are what users call “tweaking.” During this time, the user becomes restless and may stay awake for several days in a row. They don’t know what to do with the excess energy and may engage in compulsive activities like cleaning obsessively or disassembling and reassembling things. Psychotic episodes are common as hallucinations and paranoia overpower the mind.

Long-Term Effects of Meth Use

Once addiction takes hold, you may not notice the toll it’s taking on your body and mind. Typical effects experienced with long-term meth use include:

  • Changes in brain chemistry—some of which might be permanent
  • Psychotic episodes including aggression, hallucinations and paranoia
  • Difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • Degradation of your physical appearance including sagging skin, sores and tooth damage

Cycles of Change Can Help You Recover from Meth Addiction

While meth’s withdrawal symptoms aren’t typically life-threatening on their own, you might experience intense depression, mood swings, paranoia and other feelings that can contribute to relapse. Cycles of Change is licensed in California as a sub-acute detox center, and our rehabilitation program begins by helping you get through this difficult period which can last multiple weeks. Because no two people or addictions are alike, we believe in providing personalized treatment. Throughout your recovery journey, you will have access to a variety of therapies that are chosen specifically to meet your individual needs. Our caring, knowledgeable staff is ready to talk with you about taking the first steps towards healing and recovery. Contact us today for a confidential consultation.


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