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Meth Addiction & Mental Health

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Methamphetamine, an illegal drug that sends the body into overdrive, is surging through the United States. Federal drug data provided exclusively to NPR show seizures of meth by authorities have spiked, rising 142% between 2017 and 2018.

 

The symptoms of meth addiction can exacerbate the symptoms of co-occurring mental health conditions—including anxiety and depression.

 

  • A co-occurring mental health disorder can complicate a user’s ability to get help and stay sober if they are not getting integrated treatment, i.e., dual diagnosis interventions that aim to address both conditions simultaneously.
  • Users may feel they are blocking troublesome psychiatric symptomsby using meth (i.e., self-medicating) and this erroneous thought process makes it difficult to stop using the drug.

Why Meth?

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There are many paths to meth use. Some drug users say they take it to pick themselves up after taking downers: heroin or fentanyl. Those on the streets say they take it to stay awake at night and avoid rape or robbery. Meth offers a relatively cheap high that can last days. That means fewer injections and less worry about finding money for the next hit. And some drug users pick up meth because they are terrified of fentanyl, the opioid that can shut down breathing in seconds.

 

It is important to understand how meth impacts a person’s mental health and to know the type of treatment options that are available to fully address these issues.

 

  • Having an addiction to meth and also suffering from a mental health problem like depression or bipolar disorder is called a dual diagnosis.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)people with co-occurring disorders are more difficult to treat due to treatment adherence problems.
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  • SAMHSA also reports that people with co-occurring disorders are more likely to have poorer treatment outcomes than people with either disorder alone.

Understanding Meth & it’s effects on the Human Brain

Meth Epidemic in Ohio

The effects of methamphetamine are the same regardless of which form (e.g. powder/base/crystal) is used. However, crystal methamphetamine (ice) tends to be more potent and purer than other forms. As a result, the effects of ice are both more likely to occur and likely to be more intense than when other forms of methamphetamine are used.

 

Short-term effects:
The short-term psychological effects of using methamphetamine include:
• euphoria
• increased alertness and energy
• increased physical activity
• talkativeness
• heightened sexual arousal
• increased aggression or hostility
• feeling excited, agitated, anxious or panicky
• feeling very powerful or better than others
• symptoms of psychosis (a serious psychological problem which can involve hearing voices, hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and aggressive behavior).
Methamphetamine use may also make existing mental health conditions (e.g. depression, anxiety) worse.

Long-term effects

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The psychological effects of long-term methamphetamine use include increased risk of:
• anxiety, depression, and paranoia
• insomnia
• reduced concentration and poor memory
• psychosis or psychotic behavior
• homicidal or suicidal thoughts
• violence.
Regular use of methamphetamine may also lead to dependence (addiction). Dependent users develop a tolerance to methamphetamine and need to take larger doses of the drug to achieve the same effect and feel ‘normal’. The urge to use methamphetamine can become more important than other activities in their lives, resulting in poor physical and mental health, social and financial problems, and family and social breakdown.
If you or your loved one is suffering from Meth Addiction a successful treatment must address these issues concurrently. If you are suffering from mental health issues due to your meth use or addiction, or vice versa, it’s time to get help. Please call Angel Intervention Services at 1-800-430-2995 to find a comprehensive program that suits your needs. Be sure to ask about dual-diagnosis treatment. 

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