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  • Depression & Meth Abuse | Symptoms & Dual Diagnosis Treatment

    Published on May 5, 2021
    Depression & Meth Abuse | Symptoms & Dual Diagnosis Treatment

    Methamphetamine is an addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system (CNS), causing an intense high for those taking the drug. Crystal meth is another form of drug that resembles fragments of glass and rocks. 

    Some of the common names used for methamphetamine include:

    • speed
    • crystal
    • ice
    • blue

    Meth use causes a wide range of symptoms and severe side effects, including depression. Having a dual diagnosis of mental illness and methamphetamine addiction results in more difficult treatment and can worsen the symptoms of each condition.

    Meth Addiction

    Short-term and chronic methamphetamine use can cause a variety of complications with one’s physical and mental health. Meth increases dopamine in the brain at a rapid rate. 

    Because of this, many suffering from meth addiction will take multiple doses of the drug. Although it causes an intense high, the high wears off suddenly. This can take drug abuse into new territory as a “binge and crash” pattern may emerge. 


    Signs of meth abuse can fluctuate and change depending on several factors such as:

    • how the drug is used (smoked, snorted, or injected)
    • how much of the drug is used
    • how frequently the drug is used
    • if other drugs and alcohol are involved

    Some of the symptoms of meth abuse include:

    • decreased appetite
    • increased blood pressure
    • ​psychosis
    • dental problems
    • sleeping difficulty
    • paranoia
    • faster breathing
    • irregular heartbeat
    • itching

    On top of this, those who snort the drug may experience nose bleeds while those injecting meth may develop track marks and scars at the injection site. Injecting meth can lead to developing hepatitis and HIV due to shared needles.


    Mental illness, in combination with drug abuse, can lead to serious side effects and symptoms. Those with depressive disorder may experience multiple depressive episodes during their life. 

    Others, however, may experience a depressive episode only once or twice. Those suffering from chronic depression can have episodes lasting from months to years. Depression can affect anyone and a large estimation of the public has suffered from at least one episode of depression.


    Those suffering from depression may develop:

    • lack of motivation
    • ​loss of energy
    • suicidal thoughts
    • changes in sleep and appetite
    • lack of concentration
    • fatigue
    • feelings of hopelessness and guilt

    When these symptoms are combined with the effects of meth, life-threatening issues may occur. Drug addiction and depression can easily overlap due to brain changes, trauma, and overall effects of drug use.

    Dual Diagnosis Of Meth Addiction & Depression

    Depression is common for individuals with substance use disorders. Since mood changes are part of both short-term and long-term symptoms of meth use, depression goes hand-in-hand with methamphetamine.

    If a person struggles with depression, they may need medication such as antidepressants. Entering a treatment program and participating in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is highly beneficial. 

    Those abusing methamphetamine may become overwhelmed. Meth withdrawal may require treatment options as withdrawal can be severe and prolonged.

    Dual Diagnosis Treatment

    Dual diagnosis treatment programs may begin with detox support to help you get through withdrawal symptoms. An integrated treatment plan, including therapy and psychiatry, may follow in an inpatient or outpatient setting.

    If you or a loved one suffers from depressive symptoms or meth addiction, contact our helpline right away. We provide addiction treatment for those with co-occurring substance abuse and mental illness.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Alliance on Mental Illness - Depression
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - What are the Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Misuse?
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - What is Methamphetamine?
    National Library of Medicine - A Review of Treatment Options for Co-Occurring Methamphetamine Use Disorders and Depression
    National Library of Medicine - Depression Among Methamphetamine Users

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