A man slumps on the floor with a syringe nearby after shooting meth.

The Effects of Meth on the Brain

By DFCAdmin in Addiction | | 24 Sep 2018
 

Methamphetamine, commonly called meth, speed, crystal or ice, is an incredibly powerful stimulant. You’ll get a burst of energy while on it and feel overly focused and confident.

Sounds great, right? Until the effects of meth wear off.

These fleeting feelings fade quickly, leaving you in a depressed state. You’ll start to take more and more of the drug to avoid that inevitable crash, leading to binge and addiction behavior.

Why does meth make you feel like this, and what effects is it having on your brain?

How Meth Affects the Brain

When your brain is functioning normally, it uses neurotransmitters to communicate with all other parts of your body. Two types of neurotransmitters used are dopamine and norepinephrine:

  • Dopamine receptors are responsible for the natural release of chemicals that make you feel good when reacting to positive stimuli like a hug from a loved one or receiving a thoughtful gift.
  • Norepinephrine is the chemical that gets the rest of your body ready for action. When it’s released, you’re more alert, better able to focus your attention and prepared for fight or flight responses.

These neurotransmitters circulate throughout your system, interacting with different parts of your body to help you move, speak, feel good, stay balanced and focused and maintain cognitive abilities like problem solving.

This all is negatively impacted when methamphetamine enters your body.

When meth enters the bloodstream, it tricks the brain into releasing more dopamine, triggering a rush or wave of euphoria.

While pleasurable in the moment, this rush gives way to a crash that makes you feel bad, tricking your brain in believing it needs more of the drug in order to feel good.

Long-Term Effects Meth Use Can Have on the Brain

With each use of meth, your brain loses its ability to help you feel good on its own. But this isn’t the only thing meth does to your brain. Since meth is oftentimes made using toxic substances like antifreeze, meth damages your brain every time you use it.

Some of the long-term effects can include:

  • Neuron death in the cerebellum, cortexes, hippocampus and striatum, affecting your ability to balance, move, speak, focus, problem solve and store and remember information.
  • Damage to cells responsible for fighting infection and aiding in communication between systems
  • Decrease in white matter, resulting in reduced function throughout the entire brain
  • Blood vessel damage, which puts you at higher risk of clotting and stroke
  • Changes in behavior that may lead to traumatic brain injury

Break Free from Meth Addiction at Design For Change

If you have a problem with meth, it’s crucial to seek help right away. Some of the damage can be repaired by achieving sobriety, but there are potentially life-long effects that can greatly reduce your quality of life.

At Design For Change’s rehab center in Lancaster, CA, our staff takes a holistic approach to healing your mind, body and soul from addiction. We understand that this is a disease, and we are invested in helping you heal.

Sometimes, addiction develops as a way to deal with difficult emotions or mental health conditions like bipolar disorder. Our program can help you manage co-occurring conditions to give you a better chance at recovery.

If you have questions about how insurance might be able to help you pay for treatment, our admissions experts are here to help. Don’t wait another minute. Contact us today and break free from meth addiction.