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Why is Meth Addiction so Hard to Overcome

Dillon McClernon

Authored by Dillon McClernon

Methamphetamine, more commonly known as crystal meth or meth, is an extremely addictive drug. It’s estimated that around 12.3 million people in the United States have tried crystal meth at least once, and 600,000 are weekly drug users. Crystal meth creates a strong physical and mental dependence, making it one of the most difficult drugs to overcome. If you’re struggling with addiction to methamphetamine, don’t despair – there is help available! This blog post will discuss the different treatment options for methamphetamine addiction and why quitting is your only option if you want to lead a healthy life.

What is methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant that can significantly affect the brain and body. In its most common form, methamphetamine is a white, crystalline powder typically smoked, snorted, or injected. When methamphetamine is used, it increases dopamine levels in the brain, producing feelings of pleasure and euphoria. The effects of meth can last for several hours, and users may find themselves engaging in risky behaviors such as driving while under the influence. Methamphetamine is highly addictive, and long-term use can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. There is no safe level of methamphetamine use, and even first-time users can experience serious health consequences.

How Meth Addiction Happens

Methamphetamine is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant that can have profound effects on the brain. When people use meth, it causes a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate pleasure and motivation, to be released into the brain. This flood of dopamine causes an intense feeling of pleasure, known as a “rush.” However, as the drug starts to wear off, users may experience various unpleasant symptoms such as anxiety, paranoia, and irritability. These side effects can lead people to use meth again to feel better or recapture the initial high.


Meth alters the brain’s chemistry, making it difficult for users to feel pleasure from anything other than the drug. So, users will keep chasing the high and may end up with tolerance, dependence, and, eventually, addiction. Repeated use over periods of time can cause damage to the brain’s structure and function, leading to memory problems, difficulty controlling emotions, and impaired decision-making ability. Meth use can also cause other serious health problems, such as memory loss, psychotic behavior, and damage to the liver.

People taking even small amounts of meth start to exhibit symptoms like:

  • Sustained euphoric or extremely happy mood
  • Feelings of being invincible
  • Insomnia or constant wakefulness
  • Hallucinations or delusional behavior
  • Constant itching or scabs
  • Rotten, decaying teeth

Why is it hard to overcome meth addiction?

Meth is a potent stimulant that creates a sense of euphoria and increased energy levels. Meth use increases the amount of dopamine in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure. Sustained use of meth affects brain chemicals, and it can make normal, everyday activities difficult to enjoy. As a result, users can develop compulsions to use and find it hard to resist. And since the drug changes how the brain works, it takes more than willpower to quit.


Evidence from clinical trials and drug testing shows that patients addicted to meth exhibit impaired cognitive functions like attention, flexibility, executive function, working memory, and social cognition. Their decision-making ability is also altered. So, unless they get help, it might be impossible for addicts to break the use cycle.

Co-occurring mental disorders

Many people struggling with meth addiction also deal with mental health issues. In fact, about half of all people with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder. This is known as a co-occurring disorder, and it can make a recovery from meth addiction more difficult. This is because meth alters the brain’s chemical makeup, which can lead to changes in mood and behavior. For example, meth can cause paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. These symptoms can make it difficult for someone to function in day-to-day life and can also make it hard to overcome their addiction. Some may even self-medicate with meth to try to calm their minds.

Furthermore, co-occurring mental health disorders can interfere with treatment. If someone is experiencing severe symptoms, they may be unable to participate in therapy or follow the treatment plan. That’s why it’s always recommended to find a treatment center that offers programs that address addiction and mental health disorders for holistic care.

Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms are another reason meth addiction is hard to overcome. When people try to quit using meth, they may experience a range of uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Intense hunger
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Paranoia
  • Violent behavior

For many people, the hardest part of overcoming meth addiction is dealing with these withdrawal symptoms. The fatigue can make it hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule, and the cravings can be so intense that they lead to relapses. Depression and anxiety can also make it hard to focus on recovery. This is especially true for those trying to quit without professional help. Besides, since meth alters the brain’s chemistry, some of the changes caused by meth use may be permanent. This means that even after people quit using meth, they may still experience some symptoms that drive them back to use.

How to overcome meth addiction

Overcoming meth addiction can seem impossible, but it is possible to recover with the right treatment and support. Meth addiction treatment typically involves detoxification which helps to rid the body of the drug and any associated toxins. This can be difficult, but many resources are available to help individuals through it. After medical detox, it is important to participate in evidence-based rehabilitation programs like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and behavioral health that provide mental and emotional support. These programs can help recovering addicts learn new coping skills and develop a positive outlook on life. In addition, ongoing counseling and support groups can be extremely helpful in preventing relapse. With commitment and effort, anyone can overcome meth addiction and build a healthy, drug-free life.

Addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, it requires treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with meth addiction, it’s important to seek professional help. Various treatment options are available, and the sooner you get help, the better. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help for addiction.

Authored by

Dillon McClernon

Dillon McClernon

Dillon currently serves as the Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at RCA. After his tenure as Chief Communications Officer and senior advisor to RCA, he opted for a full-time position at RCA where he could build a new team linking sales and marketing to directly impact RCA’s mission of saving 1 million lives.


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