Mental Health Home > Methamphetamine Addiction and Abuse

Since methamphetamine is a stimulant and can increase energy, alertness, and attention, it is abused by many people who enjoy the "high" that the drug can cause. The health consequences of addition to methamphetamine and abuse can be extremely dangerous and may include dangerously high body temperatures, seizures, or cardiovascular failure. Treatment is usually based on behavioral therapies proven effective for treating cocaine addiction.

An Introduction to Addiction and Abuse of Methamphetamine

Medications can be effective when they are used properly, but some can be addictive and dangerous when misused. Fortunately, most Americans take their medications responsibly. Addiction to prescription drugs is rare. However, in 2003, approximately 15 million Americans reported using a prescription drug for non-medical reasons at least once during the year. Also, a 2005 survey found that 10.4 percent of Americans age 12 and over have tried methamphetamine at least once.
While most people think of methamphetamine as an illegal street drug, it is also a prescription medication used for the treatment of ADHD or for obesity. Desoxyn® (methamphetamine hydrochloride) is the prescription version of methamphetamine. As an amphetamine, Desoxyn can be habit-forming, especially when used in doses higher than recommended or for extended periods. The drug is also often abused. The most common street names for methamphetamine are "meth" or "crystal meth," among others.

Reasons for Addiction and Abuse

There are many reasons why people abuse methamphetamine, such as the "high" that the drug can cause. Stimulants such as methamphetamine can increase alertness, attention, and energy, which are accompanied by increases in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing. Another reason methamphetamine is abused is for weight loss (see Methamphetamine and Weight Loss).
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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