How Meth Affects the Brain and Nervous System
Meth is an illicit drug manufactured from harmful chemical compounds that affect your central nervous system, responsible for your brain and spinal cord functioning. When you consume meth, it produces high levels of norephedrine and dopamine that enhance feelings of euphoria and increase energy levels, inhibits feelings of vulnerability, and create psychoactive reactions.
Other ways that meth can affect your brain functioning:
- Decrease of neurons within the brain
- Significant reduction in gliogenesis cells which affects your judgment, abstract thinking, and planning capabilities
- Reducing myelin within the brain, which increases functional deficits within your brain functioning
- Impacting your natural dopamine and serotonin production which can dramatically affect your moods and mental health
- Damage to the dendrites of neurons, which will increase difficulty within your cognitive and motor functioning
- Increased damage to your circulatory system can increase your chances of developing ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes
While short-term meth addiction can be harmful, the long-term mental health effects of meth can be even more devastating.
Long-Term Effects of Meth Use
The longer you engage in meth use, the more you are putting your body and overall health at risk due to the highly addictive and toxic chemical makeup of this drug. While some of the damage caused can be repaired, the long term mental health effects of meth addiction include:
- Brain damage
- Excessive weight loss typically within a short, unhealthy time frame
- Risk of stroke or Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular complications
- Dental concerns such as gum disease, tooth loss, or decay
- Inability to sleep
- Violent behavior
- Memory loss or complications
- Erratic mood swings
Anhedonia and Psychosis from Long Term Meth Abuse
Individuals engaging in prolonged meth use will typically experience one or both of these mental health conditions, anhedonia or psychosis, due to their use of meth.
Anhedonia is defined as significantly lowered satisfaction or pleasure from activities or events you once found enjoyable. As individuals use meth for long periods, your brain’s functioning and ability to produce “feel good” emotions naturally become severely damaged and can result in anhedonia.
Another of the long-term mental health effects of meth use is drug-induced psychosis. Individuals are at a higher risk for experiencing psychosis if they use meth intravenously or have a family history of drug use and drug-induced psychosis. Those who are experiencing psychosis will often exhibit these signs:
- Intense paranoia
- Delusions (e.g., feeling as though you are sent to this earth to give a message and having that lead your interactions with others)
- Hallucinations- having visual, audio, or tactile hallucinations that are vivid and lifelike.
- Repetitive movement (staying hyper-focused on one task or thought process for long periods)
Can Brain Damage From Meth Be Reversed?
As you take steps to remove meth from your life through meth rehab, many will often want to know if the damage that has already happened within your brain can be reversed. This process is dependent on some predetermining factors, such as having a brain injury that could impede your ability to change the damage done. For most people, there will be areas within your brain that can repair themselves over time, including your dopamine receptors after you have had significant time living in sobriety. However, those individuals engaging in long-term meth use may experience permanent brain damage through neuron loss and cognitive deterioration. With that said, by quitting your use of meth through meth rehab, you are doing essential preventative work from any further damage occurring within your brain and body.
Meth Detox and Rehab at WhiteSands
WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers patients a safe, supportive environment to free their life of meth use and regain their health and passion for life again. Our team of medical professionals and addiction counselors will be by your side every step of the way as you safely and comfortably go through your meth rehab and detox. We offer patients a customizable detox and rehab program tailored to meet their specific healing needs to meet their goals for life in recovery. Patients will be supported in developing new life skills and coping tools that will ensure you avoid future relapse behavior while empowering you to rediscover who you are within and free of the influence of meth.
Contact WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today to hear more about the comprehensive approaches to meth addiction treatment provided to patients. Your story is unique, and our team will honor your need for dignity and respect as you embark on the life-changing journey of achieving sobriety.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.