Methamphetamine, a highly addictive and potent stimulant substance, is notorious for its ability to cause rapid weight loss in individuals who use it. While some may view this weight loss as desirable, it is essential to understand the risks associated with meth-induced weight loss. As meth use can cause a dramatic shedding of pounds, this can have severe negative consequences on an individual’s physical and mental health and overall quality of life.
In this article, we will discuss what methamphetamine is, the effects of using methamphetamine, how meth can cause weight loss, and the dangers of this rapid weight loss.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, ice, or crank, is a stimulant drug that affects the central nervous system, making it highly addictive. This addictive nature has caused the substance to be classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the United State Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2.5 million reported using methamphetamine in 2021, with 1.6 million of those people having a methamphetamine use disorder.
Meth often comes as a white crystalline rock, known as crystal meth, or shiny glass fragments. Methamphetamine is chemically derived from amphetamine, another stimulant that is approved for medical use in treating conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Using methamphetamine produces rapid and intense euphoric feelings, causing users to continually use the substance to maintain this “high.” However, continuous use of methamphetamine can lead to a wide range of health effects.
Side Effects of Methamphetamine Use
Using methamphetamine can cause a wide range of short-term and long-term health effects. While this article will focus on the dangers of meth weight loss, there are many other serious health effects to be aware of. The health effects include the following:
- Increased heart rate
- Elevated blood pressure
- Severe dental problems, including ‘meth mouth’ and tooth decay
- Skin sores
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Decreased appetite
- Increased aggression
- Weight loss
Continue reading here to learn how long meth stays in your system.
How Does Meth Cause Weight Loss?
Using meth can cause weight loss due to a variety of reasons. Due to its highly addictive nature, meth can cause individuals to go days or weeks without eating or drinking, resulting in rapid weight loss. Meth use causes interruptions between vital communication pathways in the brain. As meth interrupts the communication in the brain to increase dopamine levels, it also impairs the signals related to hunger, low blood sugar levels, and food digestion. Because of this impairment, it results in a loss of appetite and important nutritional deficiencies.
Nutritional Deficiencies & Appetite Suppression
The brain and body work together to ensure you get the nourishment you need. When your body requires fuel, it signals hunger, and your brain’s reward center reinforces healthy eating behaviors by releasing dopamine, making you feel good. While this may sound like a good thing, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and appetite suppression.
- Nutritional Deficiencies: Loss of appetite often leads to lower levels of essential vitamins, such as vitamins B12, C, and D. These vitamins are crucial for maintaining a healthy immune system, supporting the proper functioning of the nervous system, and overall well-being. When these essential vitamins are lacking and left untreated, they can result in significant health problems, including neurological disorders, damage to organs, and potentially even fatal outcomes.
- Appetite Suppression: When meth is taken, it floods the brain with high levels of dopamine. This excessive dopamine release disrupts your natural hunger signals, leading to a loss of appetite. However, if this persists, it can lead to malnutrition and cause a multitude of health problems.
The Dangers of Rapid Meth Weight Loss
While some may view weight loss as desirable, the dangers of rapid meth weight loss can result in severe health consequences. We have already discussed a few of the negative consequences that are associated with meth weight loss, such as nutritional deficiencies and appetite suppression. However, there are several more key dangers to be aware of when experiencing rapid weight loss. These key dangers include:
- Muscle Wasting: Rapid weight loss caused by meth use can result in the loss of muscle mass. The body may break down muscle tissue to compensate for the insufficient intake of calories and nutrients. Muscle wasting contributes to weakness and decreased physical strength and can have long-term effects on metabolism and overall body composition.
- Weakened Immune System: Rapid weight loss and inadequate nutrition can compromise the immune system’s ability to function. Malnourishment weakens the body’s ability to fight off infections and diseases, making individuals more susceptible to illnesses and delaying the healing process. This can harm meth users as many suffer from meth sores or open wounds from compulsive picking at their skin.
- Psychological Impact: Rapid weight loss and the associated physical changes can negatively impact an individual’s self-esteem and body image. These psychological effects, combined with the addictive nature of meth, can contribute to a cycle of further meth abuse as individuals may seek to maintain their weight loss.
- Addiction and Relapse: As stated previously, meth is highly addictive. The effect of meth on weight loss and body image is huge, causing individuals seeking to reinforce the idea of a specific body appearance to engage in substance abuse continuously. The weight loss, reinforcement, and addiction cycle can lead to a higher risk of relapse and difficulty breaking free from methamphetamine addiction.
How Can You Recover From Meth Addiction?
Recovering from methamphetamine addiction is a challenging process that requires commitment, support, and professional assistance. However, many treatment programs are available for those struggling with substance use disorders. While recovery looks different for everyone, there are some essential steps and strategies that can be useful in recovering from meth addiction. Some of these steps and strategies include therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and support groups.
Restoring a healthy body weight is vital to recovering from meth addiction. This can involve dietary changes, regular physical activity, and vitamin supplements. By doing these things, you can increase your body’s energy to be able to sustain long-term recovery.
Learn more about meth addiction rehabs here.
Thinking About Meth Addiction Treatment?
Receiving meth addiction treatment, or any kind of drug addiction treatment, can initially seem complex and overwhelming. Recovering from meth addiction is a journey that varies for each individual. It requires perseverance, patience, and a commitment to making positive changes. Professional support, a strong support network, and a comprehensive treatment approach significantly increase the chances of successful recovery and long-term sobriety.
Contact Louisville Recovery Center Today
Louisville Recovery Center, located in Louisville, KY, aims to treat addiction by focusing on treating the entire person. Our goal is to treat the individual, not just the addiction. Our treatment programs offer holistic, comprehensive, and experiential therapies to ensure every client has the opportunity to recover. We recognize the increased risk of methamphetamine abuse throughout the United States and Kentucky, and we are proud to offer meth addiction treatment services to those suffering.
If you or a loved one are suffering from drug addiction, contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs. Louisville Recovery is here to help you find the sobriety you deserve.