Meth Addiction And Depression

Meth changes brain chemistry and affects hormone levels in the brain, which can lead to long-term depression. Dual diagnosis treatment centers exist to help those suffering with meth addiction and depression.

Most people are familiar with the outward effects of methamphetamine abuse, including damage to the skin and teeth. Meth can cause serious harm inside the body as well, and can significantly alter a person’s mental state.

Meth abuse can cause crippling psychological conditions, including depression. Depression causes a feeling of hopelessness, and is the most common mental health concern linked to meth abuse.

Meth causes the brain to release large amounts of feel-good hormones like serotonin, noradrenaline, and dopamine. But once the drug’s effects have faded, the brain may not produce these hormones at normal intervals. This can result in major (or clinical) depression.

Meth And The Brain

Meth is a man-made stimulant that gets cooked with different toxins. People who make meth may dilute or “cut” the substance with agents like baking soda and drain cleaner. When a person abuses meth, they are ingesting high levels of unknown toxins.

Meth is highly addictive and causes an energetic euphoria. The high from meth can last for hours, but eventually leads to a difficult comedown period (“crash”). When a person comes down from a meth high, they are at risk for severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Many people who abuse meth report they can only feel pleasure when they are using the substance. This is due to the way meth changes a person’s brain chemistry. Even if a person stops using meth, they may find it difficult to enjoy life without the drug.

Meth And Depression

Meth has a severe psychological component, and can cause lasting damage to a person’s brain. In addition to depressive symptoms, a person suffering from meth addiction may also experience psychosis.

Psychosis causes paranoia and rumination, where a person focuses on a negative thought over and over again. The symptoms of meth psychosis can cause a person to feel they’ve lost control of their own mind, which could further contribute to their depression.

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If a person already suffers from depression, meth will likely worsen their condition. For those who are predisposed to depressive symptoms, using meth could increase their risk of developing a more serious level of depression.

Consequences Of Meth Addiction

This powerful drug affects the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for instinct and emotion. Meth can overstimulate the amygdala, which could result in impaired judgment and risky decision-making.

When a person’s judgment is impaired, they may do things they wouldn’t normally do. This could include having unprotected sex, stealing, or committing a violent crime.

Because meth has such a powerful effect on a person’s decision-making, abusing this drug can lead to major health and legal consequences. If a person suffering from meth addiction begins to encounter these issues, it could lead to a downward spiral that worsens their depression.

Who Is At Risk For Meth Addiction And Depression?

Anyone who abuses meth is at risk for experiencing depression. Meth use is more common in rural areas, and among certain ethnicity groups. Women who abuse meth are more at risk for developing meth-related depression.

Additional risk factors for meth addiction and depression include:

  • history of parental substance abuse
  • polydrug use (using meth with other drugs)
  • being of Hispanic ethnicity
  • being of Asian ethnicity
  • history of sexual abuse
  • alcohol dependence
  • any mental health conditions in your family
  • certain sexual orientations (gay or bisexual male)

Depression is the number one mental health concern among those who seek treatment for meth addiction. This means that depression and meth use are highly related, or “comorbid”.

Meth and depression are also considered bidirectional, meaning it’s difficult to know which issue came first. Meth can cause a negative change in mood (depression) — and people struggling with depression may use meth as a self-medicating behavior.

Symptoms Of Meth Addiction And Depression

While meth addiction and depression can have different symptoms, many of the symptoms are similar and can overlap. Not everyone who abuses meth will experience depression, but it’s important to be familiar with the warning signs of both conditions.

Symptoms of meth addiction and depression include:

  • sadness
  • anxiety
  • lack of interest in hobbies
  • weight loss
  • irritability
  • restlessness
  • inability to sleep
  • sleeping too much
  • change in appetite
  • infected sores on the skin
  • difficulty remembering things
  • constant fatigue, even if getting enough rest
  • feeling of worthlessness and hopelessness

Meth Addiction And Detox

Meth is a difficult drug to quit. If a person has been using meth to self-medicate their depression, they may be afraid to give up the only thing that makes them feel good.

Conversely, if a person experiences depression as a result of their meth use, symptoms may temporarily worsen if they try to quit the drug.

When a person is dependent on meth, their body requires the substance in order to feel normal. They may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop use suddenly. This can keep a person trapped in the cycle of meth abuse, even if they want to stop using.

Many people require the help of a medical detox program, in order to get off meth. In a drug detoxification program, a person is provided therapeutic tools and medical supervision during the withdrawal phase.

Treatment For Meth Addiction And Depression

Nearly 500,000 Americans report using meth in the last month — that’s almost half a million people currently at risk for addiction and depression.

More than 8 million people in the U.S. struggle with co-occurring disorders like addiction and depression. Dual diagnosis treatment programs exist to help those who suffer from both substance use disorders and mental health conditions.

In a dual diagnosis rehab program, patients are provided an individualized treatment plan. On-site recovery therapies are offered, including 12-step support, relapse prevention, and nutrition and wellness care.

To learn more about the link between meth addiction and depression, or to find dual diagnosis treatment near you, reach out to one of our specialists today.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - What Is Depression?

National Institute on Drug Abuse - What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse?

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - Creatine as a Treatment Option for Depression in Methamphetamine Using Females

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - Depression Among Methamphetamine Users

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - Methamphetamine

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - Methamphetamine Psychosis: Epidemiology and Management

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