Many drug users are chasing a sense of euphoria and energy. Maybe they are hoping to find a way to overcome depression or grief in their life. Maybe they are just bored with their daily existence. Maybe they want to set their inhibitions aside so they can enjoy a party or talk to someone they are interested in or just feel less awkward in a social setting. Whatever the reason, people often choose stimulants when they want to feel unfettered joy and boundless vigor.
And when a person first dabbles in stimulants—whether it something man-made like meth or naturally occurring like cocaine—it may seem like they have found exactly what they are looking for. The high they experience may feel like one of the peak experiences of their life.
If that’s the case, it is only natural that they will want to feel it again. And again. And again.
The unfortunate reality, however, is that as a person takes more and more of a stimulant, it offers less and less of the high they are seeking. The pursuit of the pleasure they found so exciting quickly becomes a race to fend off the bad feelings of withdrawal. All the while, the user’s physical and mental health is under assault from the drug.
The Mess Made by Meth
Meth delivers an incredible boost to a person’s levels of energy and alertness that can last as long as eight hours. It does this by releasing a rush of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin in the brain. That euphoria—coupled with the fact that the ingredients to make the drug are available at most any drug store—has made the drug extremely popular.
But the high you get comes at an even higher price. Meth users open themselves up to a number of serious consequences. They include:
- Comedowns: A feeling not unlike a hangover from alcohol that comes with both physical symptoms (like headache, fatigue, and muscle pain) and symptoms related to mental health (like feelings of hopelessness, depression, and lethargy).
- Tweaking: The state a meth user lands in when they keep taking the drug to avoid comedowns; it can include a state of constant wakefulness for as many as 15 days as well as a range of truly awful side effects—including the feeling that one’s skin is covered in insects, leading to obsessive scratching that can lead to infections.
- Withdrawal: The period after a person stops using meth that can include intense cravings and a deep depression—often including thoughts of suicide.
The Chaos Caused by Cocaine
Cocaine users are susceptible to the same cycle of use as meth users. They experience a high that they want to keep experiencing, so they take more of these stimulants. Over time the drug starts to take more than it gives.
The consequences of cocaine use may include:
- Side effects while taking the drug: Physical symptoms (like headache, stroke, increased sensitivity to light, sound, or touch, and/or damage to heart, lung, or bowel) and symptoms related to mental health (like paranoia or increased levels of anger) are both possible.
- Side effects of withdrawal: As with meth, withdrawal side effects can include extremely strong cravings for the drug as well as increased symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. During—and even after—withdrawal, cocaine users may experience a significant decline in the speed of their thought processes.
You Can Get the Help You Need
If you are grappling with a substance use disorder centered on stimulants, it might seem like you are permanently caught between a rock and a hard place. The drugs may no longer be providing you with any pleasure whatsoever, but you still may be unable to quit using them due to the rigors of withdrawal. It might seem like there is no path that gets you clear of the drugs.
But there is.
A fully accredited residential treatment center can help you find a path to recovery. The process starts with medically supervised detoxification in a safe, supportive environment where you do not have access to meth or cocaine and therefore can’t simply return to drug use.
After detox comes a period of rehabilitation that will include both individual and group therapy. In therapy, you will have the opportunity to learn strategies and coping mechanisms that can increase the likelihood that you will be able to resist the temptations present in your daily life.
Therapy can also help you untangle a possible mental health disorder underlying your drug use. People often use stimulants and other drugs to self-medicate feelings of anxiety or depression, for example.
In the end, getting sober is likely to be good for your mental health—and improving your mental health is likely to make it easier to stay sober.
Peak View Behavioral Health Offers Compassion and Expertise
The team at Peak View Behavioral Health is ready and able to offer excellent care that is personalized to your specific needs. Whether you are struggling with a substance use disorder, a mental health disorder, or both, we will listen to you with respect and without judgment.
We have the expertise and the commitment to evidence-based practices necessary to ensure we can help you make significant and lasting changes to your life. We want to support your efforts to turn your life around.