Meth addiction is a drug problem that has become widespread over the last decade or so, especially with younger drug users and teens. The Midwest United States in particular shows that meth is an epidemic problem, with it quickly becoming more popular than cocaine, the previous drug of choice in states like Oklahoma. Meth addiction is one of the most intense addictions, and one of the fastest to acquire. One use of meth can make you an addict.
Meth addiction happens so quickly because of the way the drug affects a user’s brain. It’s a stimulant that mimics the way natural brain chemicals send messages to the brain’s pleasure center. Meth produces the pleasurable feelings of gratification and contentment, raising the heart rate and breathing rate and acting almost like mild adrenalin. This reaction is like instant pleasure and gratification and the person’s brain then expects that immediate sense of gratification that most things don’t provide.
Because of meth addiction, a user can’t even experience the same sense of pleasure and gratification that he or she might get from regular activities under different circumstances. Eventually, meth becomes the only thing that gives the person a sense of gratification physically, and then soon psychological pleasure and gratification can only be achieved by using meth, too. Regular life with its rewards seems much less significant.
On a purely physical level, a meth addition is an attempt for the user to experience the initial rush they felt the first time they used the drug. But because of the drug’s mimicry of brain chemicals that inhibits the brain from producing chemicals that create pleasurable feelings, recreating that initial rush is no longer possible. Meth addiction, in fact, has the opposite effect. After a while, the brain changes and few normal chemical messages are created, making it even harder to experience satisfaction of any kind without using meth.
The psychological part of meth addiction is no less intense. Soon pleasure becomes associated only with meth use, and meth becomes an important part of the person’s life. Meth pushes out other things like friends, family, work or school
The longer a person suffers with a meth addiction, the more meth they use, and the more it diminishes the brain’s natural ability to produce chemical messages that signal gratification and pleasure. So the more meth is used, the more must be used to get high, which only reinforces the addiction. At that point, the brain and the physical body have changed severely to adjust to the meth use.
In some cases a person’s life will fall apart and still the meth addiction rules the person, leading to theft and other means to be able to afford the drug. The earlier a meth user gets help, the more likely he or she will be able to fight the addiction. Once the addiction reaches the point that brain and physical changes have taken place, the addiction is so physically and psychologically rooted it’s even more difficult to overcome.