Methamphetamines are part of a highly addictive class of central nervous system stimulants. Known colloquially as meth, this drug can mask, mute, or trigger mental health symptoms. Whether someone uses meth to self-medicate or whether meth abuse uncovers an underlying predisposition to a mental health disorder, the side effects of meth use are dangerous enough in their own right to cause concern. Any abuse of or addiction to meth should be treated professionally. Meth rehab in Rehrersburg, PA, at Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC) offers evidence-based treatment for those suffering from this addiction.
To learn more about meth and mental health, how to recognize the side effects of meth abuse, and how integrated mental health and meth treatment works, reach out to PAATC today. This online form will connect you quickly to someone who can speak with you, or you can dial 844.442.8673. We are standing by to answer your questions.
Side Effects of Meth on the Brain
As with many addictive psychoactive drugs, meth interacts in the brain by causing serious, sometimes permanent, damage within the pleasure center where neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin are naturally produced. When meth floods the neurological system repeatedly via abuse or addiction, the brain gives up and lets the drug take over. Soon, any pleasure, or even any sense of motivation, optimism, or human attachment, comes only when someone is using.
Decision-making, mental resilience and flexibility, and emotional regulation are all compromised by chronic use of meth. Meth also affects areas in the brain that control short- and long-term memory. All of these side effects intersect with mental wellness and emotional challenges.
Medical detox and professional meth addiction treatment are critical for these impairments to be mitigated over time.
Meth and Mental Health
When someone suffers from co-existing mental health and meth addiction diagnoses, the two inevitably intersect. Neither one exists independently of the other, and they must be treated together in a coordinated approach known as dual diagnosis treatment. If the mental health disorder predates meth use, the drug abuse exacerbates the symptoms of the mental health diagnosis. Chances are good that the mental health symptoms factored into the abuse of meth.
In other cases, the severely toxic effects of meth within the brain can have an impact on someone to the point that they develop mental health symptoms, such as psychosis.
Common Mental Health Challenges among Meth Users
There are several mental health diagnoses associated commonly with meth use. Some are listed here:
Just over four out of 10 people who abuse meth and other amphetamines have a history of depression. Meth’s stimulating, euphoric high feels like an escape from chronic depression, and users will medicate themselves with this dangerous drug, only to end up in trouble later on.
Some people with social or other anxiety disorders will be drawn to the kind of high that meth delivers, especially at first. It lowers inhibitions and relaxes fear and risk aversion. However, there is also a risk of triggering anxiety during meth withdrawal, so between binges, anxiety is a very common disruptor for those also dealing with intense physical and psychological cravings. Regardless of whether anxiety pre-existed or developed after the abuse began, it is common among two-thirds of those addicted to meth and often lingers well beyond the cessation of drug use.
Meth-induced psychosis affects about half of those who chronically abuse methamphetamines. It is difficult to distinguish between meth-induced psychosis and a pre-existing psychosis such as schizophrenia when there is no mental health history to help find answers. However, if someone had schizophrenia prior to meth use, whether diagnosed or not, the drug can dangerously intensify psychotic symptoms.
Meth Addiction Detox and Rehab at PAATC
Seeking reputable meth addiction treatment in a rehab facility, either as an inpatient or outpatient, is the best option for lasting positive outcomes.
The sooner detox and treatment for meth abuse and addiction begin, the better. The potential long-term damage done within the brain of the chronic meth user is mitigated by a swift response. At PAATC, specific therapies, peer support, and the option for faith-based treatment provide those who seek sobriety a navigable path on which to begin their recovery.