The effects of methamphetamine are often short-lived, but the way this stimulant interacts with the brain can lead to serious long-term problems, including dependence and addiction. Meth is a highly addictive stimulant that can be difficult to stop using due to the way this drug triggers strong drug cravings and severe depression. However, drug rehab centers can safely help you overcome meth dependence along with the psychological effects of meth addiction.

Here’s how meth affects the brain, along with treatments that can help you or a loved one overcome meth addiction.

How Does Meth Work?

Meth works by stimulating the central nervous system to increase breathing, heart rate, and body temperature. Meth also increases the brain’s production of a chemical called dopamine to induce feelings of euphoria and extreme pleasure. As people continue using meth, the brain comes to rely on the drug and stops producing dopamine naturally. This causes a dopamine imbalance in the brain that triggers psychological problems surrounding brain function, memory, and emotions.

After the initial effects of meth wear off, users experience a crash marked by symptoms of drug cravings, anxiety, and severe depression. Many who experience these symptoms return to using meth to feel better — putting themselves at greater risk for meth dependence and addiction.

What Are Short-Term Effects of Meth on the Brain?

The stimulating effects of meth produce short-term feelings of euphoria, higher energy, increased attention, and wakefulness. People high on meth may act more sociable, excitable, and talkative due to the way this drug speeds up the central nervous system. The effects of meth are similar to those produced by other stimulants, such as cocaine and amphetamine.

How Does Meth Affect the Brain Long-Term?

Regular meth use can alter the brain’s dopamine system to cause long-term problems, such as reduced coordination, impaired verbal learning, emotional instability, and cognitive decline. Long-term meth use can also impair judgment and decision-making abilities and lead to risky behavior, such as driving while high or having unprotected sex. Anxiety, confusion, violent behavior, paranoia, and hallucinations are other long-term effects of meth on the brain.

Some long-term effects of meth can be reversed after at least one year of abstinence from the drug. However, some changes may be permanent and cannot be reversed even after years of abstinence. Getting help for meth addiction today is the best way to reduce the likelihood of suffering long-term brain impairment caused by meth.

Can Drug Detox Help with Meth Withdrawal?

Meth withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 24 hours of the last dose and last between three and five days. Withdrawing from meth is safest when conducted as a medical detox at a drug and alcohol detox center, where patients can be monitored for psychotic symptoms, including disordered thoughts, paranoia, hallucinations, distress, and agitation. These symptoms can often be effectively treated using antipsychotic medications.

How Does Drug Rehab Treat Meth Addiction?

Drug and alcohol rehab centers use a range of therapies to help people overcome the root causes of their addiction along with psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as those caused by meth use. Meth dependence is commonly treated using therapy that teaches patients skills for reducing the risk for relapse. Drug detox and therapy can take place in an inpatient or outpatient rehab environment, though inpatient rehab may be more beneficial for those recovering from severe, long-term meth addiction.

America’s Rehab Campuses use medical detox and behavioral therapy to help people safely and successfully overcome substance use disorders. Contact us today to learn more about our many available addiction treatments that can help you or your loved one experience a safe, fulfilling recovery.