Getting In Their Mind: How a Meth Addict Thinks and Feels

Last Updated: Jul 23rd 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

How many times have you uttered the phrase, “If I only knew what they were thinking?” Seeing things from someone else’s perspective is the best way to offer the help and support they need.

Understanding how a meth addict thinks and feels is a crucial part of the healing process. Not just for the addict, but for those who love them most. 

Meth addiction is on the rise. With over 10,300 overdoses reported in 2017 due to methamphetamine use. Compare that to just 547 deaths in 1999 and the increase is startling. 

If someone you know is struggling with a crystal meth addiction, it’s not too late to help. Here you’ll learn exactly what goes through their minds and how they feel about their addiction. 

How Does it Feel to Be High on Meth?

To understand why a person becomes addicted to meth in the first place, you need to know what a meth high feels like.

Most addicts describe being high on meth as “euphoric.” Users feel pleasure, confidence, and experience an instant boost of energy. 

Like most addictive drugs, meth stimulates the brain’s natural reward system. This is where dopamine and serotonin are produced during pleasurable activities like sex, eating delicious foods, and even riding a roller coaster.

It’s this high that meth addicts continually chase. But what makes methamphetamine (and similar narcotics) so dangerous is that users will never reach the same high they did the first time.

Each time they ingest crystal meth, they’ll need a little more than before to feel good. This behavior puts addicts at risk for an overdose.

Not only does meth trigger these feel-good emotions, but it also confuses the brain into thinking it needs the drug to feel happiness. Meth use disrupts the brain’s natural production of dopamine.

Experiences that were once pleasurable, aren’t anymore. The brain believes the addict is receiving enough dopamine from outside sources (the crystal meth) and natural production slows down.

Blunted Emotions

Not all feelings associated with meth use are positive. Because the brain is now rewired, meth users don’t experience feelings the way they used to. This makes sobriety unbearable. 

Users then turn to meth to escape from the sadness, worry, and stress they feel when sober. Many addicts report being flooded with bad memories, which crystal meth helps them forget. 

Another scary emotion associated with meth use is invisibility. This fearlessness quickly turns to aggression and anger. Especially when those around them question their abilities. 

Meth users lack self-awareness. It’s important for loved ones and friends not to take their behaviors or actions personally. 

When a meth addict is high, they’re in a euphoric, delusional place. And when they’re sober, they’re likely running scared from their demons. 

Physical Effects of Meth Addiction

Meth wreaks havoc on an addict’s physical state, as well. Meth is a stimulant, which means it instantly raises the user’s blood pressure and heart rate.

This also raises body temperature, causing sweating, rapid breathing, and feelings of extreme hot or cold. Chills, fever, and vomiting are common with crystal meth use. 

While these symptoms are extreme and unpleasant, over time, the brain and body of a meth addict adjust. A person’s brain associated these unpleasant feelings with the initial high, creating a tolerance.

Other physical side effects include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased libido
  • Heart palpitations/irregular heart rate
  • Increased strength
  • Stomach cramps
  • Lack of coordination
  • Dry mouth
  • Twitching
  • Itchiness

A common side effect of meth use is “tweaking.” Addicts becoming fidgety and describe a feeling of bugs crawling on their skin.

This causes unnecessary itchiness and scratching or picking at the skin. This creates open wounds, then scabs, and eventually scars known as “meth sores.”

Why People Use Methamphetamine

With so many unpleasant physical and mental side effects, why would anyone want to use meth?

People turn to drugs for a lot of reasons. Peer pressure, curiosity, and the desire to escape reality are just a few. The problem is, for many people, once isn’t enough.

Their brain and body begin to crave the drug. Then, the addiction turns to a dependency. And people don’t feel like themselves without it. 

Methamphetamine is a stimulant. Most drugs like it increase a person’s focus and boost energy levels. This makes meth an attractive drug for people needing a pick-me-up.

College students and people working multiple jobs turn to meth to help them stay awake. Meth is such a powerful drug, some users will go days without sleeping. 

This is especially dangerous for addicts who also suffer from depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders. Studies show that lack of sleep worsens these conditions.

Using meth to escape inner demons can inadvertently make them worse. 

Some meth users experience decreased appetite. That paired with increased energy leads to extreme weight loss. 

Remember those feelings of invisibility we mentioned? An alarming number of meth addicts end up injuring themselves after engaging in dangerous and careless behavior.

A meth addict’s judgment is skewed. They have no sense of danger and perform reckless stunts that can cause physical harm. 

Long-term use of the drug causes a higher risk of overdose, paranoia, insomnia, and depression. Most addicts need help to stop using meth. 

Knowing How a Meth Addict Thinks and Feels Means You Can Help

When you understand how a meth addict thinks and feels, you’re better equipped to offer the help they need. Admission is the first step to recovery.

Does the addict in your life realize they have a problem? Recognizing the warning signs of meth addiction means helping your loved one before it’s too late.

Our facility offers a personalized approach to recovery. We have a wide range of substance abuse programs to fit your needs.

Whether you need help for yourself or a loved one, contact us today for more information.  

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.