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Meth Dependence

Are You Meth Dependent?

You are not alone.

Weekend use can lead to weekday use…and then move on to daily use. This is because meth is very addictive and very effective at getting you high. But physical dependence is mainly a bodily phenomenon which starts as an increased need for larger and more frequent dosing. Dependence can then progress into regular use of meth, an activity that consumes a great portion of your life.

Does this sounds familiar?

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In this article, we cover more about the nature, causes, and signs of dependence on methamphetamine. Then, we suggest a few effective methods to end your dependence. At the end, we welcome you to send us your questions and we do our best to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly.

What is Methamphetamine Dependence?

Dependence is characterized by symptoms of methamphetamine withdrawal. It can also be diagnosed when you notice that you are bceoming meth-tolderant. In fact, tolerance and withdrawal are the two main signs of dependence. To clarify:

Tolerance is a change in brain chemistry that develops with time and repeated use. You may notice that once effective doses of meth are now declining in their potency, so you require more meth and more often in order to get the desired feeling. If so, you’ve become meth-tolerant.

Withdrawal symptoms from meth are harsh and uncomfortable. You may continue to use meth just to avoid withdrawal symptoms…which can then lead to habitual use. Withdrawal makes it very difficult to stop or even reduce your use.

Symptoms may include:

  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Emotional labiality
  • Irritability
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleepiness
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Teeth grinding

These symptoms occur because your body has established a new chemical balance with methamphetamine. To counter the drug’s stimulant effects, the brain produces depressant-like chemicals. When you stop taking it, your system has a hard time returning back to homeostasis, which is what “withdrawal syndrome” is.

Formation of Methamphetamine Dependency

Dependence develops as a result of the brain changes that take place when you take meth regularly or abuse methamphetamine to get high. When you take meth, the drug travels to the brain and causes the neurons to release abnormally large amounts of natural neurotransmitters and prevent the normal re-uptake of these brain chemicals. This disruption produces a greatly amplified message, ultimately disrupting communication channels.

Q: How much time does it take to become dependent on meth?
A: It depends on your frequency of use.

If you use methamphetamine several times per week, you will likely manifest symptoms of dependence within a period of 4 to 6 weeks.

Does Meth Dependence = Addiction?

Dependence on meth is different from addiction. However, both dependence and addiction to a drug like meth are extremely harmful for one’s health.

A person dependent on methamphetamine uses the drug to feel normal and avoid withdrawal symptoms. Although it is possible for a person to be physically dependent on meth without being addicted to the drug, addiction is commonly present in people who develop physical dependence.

A person addicted to methamphetamine uses the drug repeatedly and compulsively despite negative effects on health, relationships and responsibilities. A meth addict is unable to function without meth and the drug simply becomes their top priority in life.

Meth Dependence Signs

Some of the main signs of meth dependence include, but are not limited to:

  1. Craving methamphetamine.
  2. Giving up on formerly enjoyable activities due to meth use.
  3. Inability to control or stop use.
  4. Pronounced changes in behavior, such as being prone to aggression and/or paranoia, talking too much, and lacking motivation.
  5. Spending a lot of time and effort acquiring and using methamphetamine.
  6. Using meth longer, more frequently, or in higher amounts than intended.

If you recognize some of these warning signs of a meth problem in yourself or a loved one, it may be time to seek help! You don’t have to go alone through meth dependence recovery. Reputable treatment programs can address the main issues you are facing and help you build a new, meth-free life.


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How to End Methamphetamine Dependence?

Meth dependence can be difficult to tackle alone and without the help of medical professionals. Therefore, if you wish to be free from addiction, you need to be treated by professionals and enter a meth addiction treatment facility. There are several treatment modalities available for those dependent on meth. However, the course of treatment is individualized for each recovering person.

First, DETOX FROM METH. Usually, treatment starts with the management of toxicity caused by the drug. If a patient presents psychosis and mood disorders due to methamphetamine use, these issues are addressed immediately. Health problems due to drug abuse, like sexually-transmitted infection, or hypertension, must be also addressed quickly.

Then, THERAPY and COUNSELING. Once the immediate psychiatric issues and health conditions are managed, you can start working your recovery program. Behavioral therapy and psychotherapy comprise much of the program, and are considered the best practice for treating methamphetamine dependence. The first few weeks will be devoted to determining your needs, motivations for recovery and goals in life. Then the program will usually focus on raising your self-awareness and understanding of meth drug addiction through individual and group counselling.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) plays an important role in meth dependence treatment. During your CBT sessions, you will learn the triggers (thoughts, people, situations, actions) that make you use methamphetamine, and learn strategies to avoid these triggers. CBT is a useful approach when drug cravings occur, which may happen several times during treatment and even later in recovery. For example, when you experience cravings, you’ll be advised to do a physical activity (sports, workout, yoga), recall negative consequences of meth use, or talk it out with a family member, a sponsor, or a trusted someone.

Finally, CONTINUED CARE and AFTERCARE programs. Methamphetamine treatment programs are always made to be intensive, highly structured and functional to meet your needs and induce successful recovery. They also last far longer than your initial 30, 60, or 90 day treatment program, and may stretch out into the months and even years following rehab. Counseling check-ups, therapy sessions, and support groups all play an important role in helping you maintain your sobriety from methamphetamine.

Got Any Questions?

For more on methamphetamine dependence, please explore further into this section of our website.

If you have anything that you’d like to ask, please feel free to post your questions in the section at the end of the page. We value your feedback and try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NIDA: Methamphetamine
DASSA: Psychotherapy for Methamphetamine Dependence
NCBI: Pharmacological approaches to methamphetamine dependence: a focused review
Clinical treatment guidelines for alcohol and drug clinicians: Methamphetamine Dependence and Treatment

Meth Dependence

23 Meth Withdrawal

Meth Withdrawal

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Meth withdrawal usually lasts two weeks and includes depression, extreme fatigue and increased appetite. Read more about standard meth withdrawal protocols here. Find out what awaits you on the journey to sobriety!

30 Meth effects

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Learn how meth can affect every part of the human body and the consequences of meth abuse on your health. More here.

29 When to seek medical attention for meth withdrawal

When to seek medical attention for meth withdrawal

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When you should seek emergency or medical help during meth withdrawal? A review of problematic symptoms and protocol for their treatment here.

20 Tolerance to meth

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When you develop tolerance to meth, you experience diminished effect and need more meth to get high. What else happens? More on meth tolerance here.

13 Dependence on meth

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July 9th, 2013

Dependence on meth occurs when the body needs meth to function normally. Symptoms of meth dependence include drug craving, extreme irritability, and tachycardia when you lower meth doses. More on meth dependence here.

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