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Methamphetamine Addiction and Mental Health


The opioid epidemic is a serious problem going on in the United States, covered by the media, doctors, and government officials. But methamphetamine, or meth, is a dual plague affecting the nation. LAPD Chief, Charlie Beck, said he was more concerned with meth as a threat here in Los Angeles than opioids. That’s not to say opioids are not a problem too.

The symptoms of meth can greatly exacerbate mental health conditions – including anxiety and depression. Besides affecting mental health, meth affects the body as well.

Meth and the brain

When a user consumes meth, it increases the activity of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that controls motivation, pleasure and other motor functions. This increase of dopamine causes a sense of euphoria, which causes persistent use of the drug, forming an addiction. Long-term chronic use alters structural and functional areas of the brain and impairs memory, learning, psychomotor abilities, and informational processing.

Meth and depression

Depression is one of the most common co-occurring mental health conditions amongst meth users. Chronic meth use can deplete dopamine levels resulting in a condition called anhedonia, which impairs the ability to experience pleasure. Studies have found that antidepressants can reduce cue-induced cravings and may be useful in managing depressive effects of meth use.

Meth and Psychosis

Schizophrenia is the most common mental health disorder with psychosis as a defining feature. Meth can greatly exacerbate psychotic symptoms in someone who is diagnosed with schizophrenia. Chronic use can also lead to meth-induced psychosis. Clinical evidence has found that “meth binges” are likely to resemble symptoms of psychosis.

Meth and Anxiety

Anxiety is another major symptom amongst meth users, occurring in both active users and withdrawals. According to the American Journal of Addiction, more than 75 percent of meth users experience anxiety. Those experiencing anxiety prior to meth-use are more likely to be hospitalized than those without.

If you or someone you know is dealing with a methamphetamine, get help today. Call us or schedule an appointment.