Methamphetamine drug addiction, similar to other addictive drugs, releases high levels of dopamine, which affects motivation, reward, and pleasure. With consistent drug abuse, users develop a tolerance, having to increase the amounts used or increase their frequency of use. When using stops, abusers experience intense cravings, inevitably leading them to the next high.
Prolong abuse of crystal meth can over-stimulate dopamine leading to erosion of the brain’s nerve terminals. Brain imaging studies have shown that meth causes significant functional and structural changes in the brain, down to the molecular level.
Methamphetamine withdrawal varies depending on the level of addiction and frequency of meth use. Withdrawal is a process the human body goes through when it is deprived of something it has become dependent on. Withdrawal symptoms affect individuals in different ways, however there are similarities in withdrawal symptoms.
There are three main factors that methamphetamine withdrawals include:
- Depression: It can be very difficult to deal with the psycho stimulus that you obtain from meth. Withdrawal from methamphetamine has been associated with depression.
- Fatigue: Once an individual stops using meth they can become extremely tired. Without the artificial source of energy, the person begins to feel uncomfortable and deprived of energy.
- Changes in Heart Rhythm: Methamphetamine is a stimulant, and can cause irregular heart beats. When the addict stops using the drug changes in heart rhythm may occur.
Fine motor control, speed, and impairs verbal learning are reduced with meth use. The brain areas that control emotion and memory are impacted as well. Changes may include mood disturbances, aggressive and violent behaviour, and severe psychotic episodes.