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Risk Factors Of Meth Abuse And Addiction

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

Medically reviewed by

David Hunter, MA.Ed, LPC

March 28, 2019

Many factors can contribute to a person’s likelihood of abusing methamphetamine and developing an addiction to the drug. There are also a number of protective factors that can counteract these risk factors. The earlier risk factors are addressed, the better off a person will be in terms of avoiding drug abuse and addiction.

Methamphetamine is an incredibly dangerous drug that is highly abused in the United States. Various factors can put people who use meth at an increased risk for becoming addicted to the drug.

Commonly known as crystal meth, glass, or crank, meth is a strong central nervous stimulant much more powerful than other commonly abused stimulants.

Meth can be taken in a number of ways. This includes snorting, smoking, injecting, and taking it orally. People who use meth experience an intense and fast high that often lasts only a few moments. However, meth’s stimulant effects can last for several hours.

People who use meth are at risk of developing dependence and addiction to the drug. Meth is also known for the quick tolerance it can produce. This means that people have to take more of the drug to get the desired effect. The more meth a person uses, the more likely he or she is to develop a dependence on the drug.

Not everyone who uses meth will become addicted to the drug. However, there are certain factors that can influence a person’s likelihood of addiction to drugs like meth.

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Influential Factors Of Meth Abuse And Addiction

Whether someone develops an addiction the methamphetamine will depend on a number of factors. Some people can use the drug and never develop an addiction, whereas others can use meth once and become addicted.

The most common risk factors associated with addiction include:

Genetics — Risk of addiction to any drug seems to be increased when a familial relative also struggle from addiction. This is especially true when it is a first-degree relative such as a father or mother.

Environmental factors — People who grow up in a home where addiction is present may be more prone to developing an addiction to drugs themselves. The earlier a person is exposed to drug abuse, the more likely he or she is to go on to abuse drugs.

Mood disorders — People who mood disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder may be more prone to addiction than those who don’t.

Traumatic experiences — Traumatic experiences such as physical or sexual abuse in childhood can increase a person’s risk of drug addiction.

The frequency of drug use — The more frequent a person uses drugs, the more likely he or she is to fall prey to addiction. This is especially true in the case of meth, as even short-term abuse of the drug can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Neurobiological factors — Some studies have shown that people prone to addiction may have different brain and central nervous system functioning. The structure of an addicted person’s brain may also be different compared to a non-addicted person.

Additional risk factors of meth abuse and addiction may include:

  • peer pressure to use meth
  • easy access to the drug
  • limited parental supervision
  • severe behavioral problems such as aggression
  • early onset of drug use
  • interpersonal difficulties
  • low socioeconomic status

The more risk factors a person exhibits, the more likely he or she is to develop an addiction to methamphetamine or other drugs.

Protective Factors That Can Decrease Chances Of Meth Abuse And Addiction

Just as there are risk factors associated with methamphetamine abuse and addiction, there are also protective factors. Protective factors are factors that can play a role in the prevention of drug abuse and addiction.

The earlier that protective factors are put into place, the better off a person may be at avoiding drug abuse and addiction later down the road. For example, if a child is exhibiting risk factors such as aggressive behavior, an intervention can be made to prevent the further development of these behaviors. This can strengthen the protective factors that reduce potential drug addiction.

Protective factors that may contribute to preventing methamphetamine abuse and addiction include:

  • a disposition towards self-control
  • regular parental monitoring
  • anti-drug use policies that are put in place
  • academic success
  • strong ties in the community

The more protective factors present in a person’s life, the more likely he or she will avoid meth and other drug use and addiction.

Overcoming Addiction To Methamphetamine

A formal treatment plan will likely be needed to overcome an addiction to methamphetamine. Meth is an incredibly strong drug, and most people cannot permanently quick on their own.

Many individuals will need to begin their recovery from methamphetamine addiction with a medically supervised detox program. Meth withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to dangerous depending on the level of addiction. A detox program can provide medical support to alleviate symptoms.

Once a person has successfully detox from meth, an inpatient treatment program will likely be recommended. These programs offer intensive daily treatment that is often customized to a person’s unique needs and condition.

To learn more about the risk factors associated with meth abuse and addiction, contact our treatment specialists today.

MethOIDE - Risk Factors for Abuse/Addiction

BMC Pediatrics - Risk factors for methamphetamine use in youth: a systematic review

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief)

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