How Does Meth Affect Relationships?
Crystal methamphetamine often referred to in short-form as “meth”, is a very destructive drug that has a well-deserved, negative reputation. Crystal meth is known for causing serious and sometimes irreversible damage to people physically and mentally.
When people consider meth and meth users, they often focus on the damage that the individual is likely doing to themselves. However, it’s not just the meth users that are experiencing some of the negative influences of the drug. Their family, their partners, and anyone that they are close to will also experience some issues as a result of their meth use.
In this article, we’re going to describe some of the trials and tribulations that someone might experience when they’re in a relationship – romantic or otherwise – with a meth user.
What Does Meth Do?
Crystal methamphetamine is a very potent stimulant drug in the amphetamine class. Amphetamines are potent substances and can be very addictive. Meth can cause several effects, both positive and negative.
- Extreme stimulation, increased motivation, and productivity
- Feelings of euphoria and being excited
- Lack of appetite
- Severe insomnia (some users don’t sleep for days on end)
- Paranoia and anxiety
- Mood changes and instability
- High heart rate
- Dilated pupils
Some users find some of these effects enjoyable, which can lead to them becoming addicted to the drug.
Long-term Effects of Meth
Meth is also known for causing several issues in a person’s physical and mental health. Long-term use can contribute to issues like:
- Cognitive damage and difficulty learning or remembering things.
- Long-term depression and mood issues that require therapy to manage.
- Damage to the lungs for users who smoke.
- Damage to the nostrils for users who ingest it.
- Damage to organs and other important bodily systems.
- Scars, scabs, and bleeding.
- Addiction, tolerance, and dependence.
Many of these issues, particularly those that affect mental health, can cause problems in a person’s relationships. One of the most challenging things to deal with in a relationship is dependence and addiction.
The Nature of Addiction and Psychological Dependence
Nobody who’s addicted to crystal meth decided that they wanted to become an addict. Unfortunately, some of the powerful effects of the drug can be very addictive, leading some people to develop problems with the drug.
Many first-time meth users find that the drug helps them manage the symptoms of some of their mental illness. People who struggle with specific mental health problems, such as social anxiety, depression, or self-confidence issues, may find that crystal meth provides a boost to motivation and confidence that makes them feel more comfortable.
While it’s true that this bandaid approach will not help the problem in the long run, some people are not aware of this or do not truly believe the dangers associated with the drug. This can lead to them using it repeatedly, believing that it is a viable option for helping them treat their mental or emotional problems.
Realistically, this is not the case. Anyone who uses a substance to cover up or manage an emotional or mental health problem will still need to address the root cause of their discomfort. If they don’t, they will only continue to use the drug by relapsing.
This is how many people develop an addiction: instead of addressing their mental health issues, they seek the easy way out by using drugs. They then associate these drugs with feelings of well-being.
After doing this for a long enough period, they will begin to develop a psychological dependence. This means that they will begin to believe that they actually need the drug to feel comfortable or happy. At this point, they will feel even more unhappy when they’re not using the drug than they ever did before they used it.
Casual Meth Use and Relationships
Not everyone who uses crystal meth immediately becomes addicted to it. While the majority of individuals who use the drug eventually develop an addiction if they don’t seek help or stop using it soon, even those who are still in the process of developing an addiction will likely experience some changes in their relationships.
Casual meth users may experience relationship issues in the same way that any other casual drug user or drinker experiences problems.
- If someone is a casual user of meth or any other drugs, this means that they will not always be accountable for their actions. People who use meth, especially, will often engage in acts that they would not usually engage in. They may do things that they would normally find immoral or inappropriate, and this can strain their relationships. It can be difficult being in a relationship with someone who adheres to a specific belief or behavior one day, knowing that they may feel entirely different from the next.
- Meth tends to make people extremely sexually aroused. This can lead to difficulty in personal relationships since a person will be more likely to engage in sexual activity with others. Meth users may also be much less likely to participate in safe sex or use protection.
- Meth users may cause people to paint a false picture of who they are or what they are capable of. For example, someone who uses meth occasionally at work may develop a strained relationship with their employer by being highly productive one day and highly unproductive the next day, or by displaying differences in productivity at different points during the day.
Casual meth users may not experience the same degree of difficulty in their relationships as someone dependent on meth.
Meth Addiction and Relationships
People who are addicted to meth – or rather, people who are addicted to anything – will have a great deal of trouble maintaining personal relationships. There are several reasons for this.
The first and foremost issue is the fact that anyone who is seriously addicted to a drug will not have a healthy relationship with themselves. Drugs are dangerous and destructive, and addiction indicates that a person does not have the self-control required to keep themselves safe and healthy.
This means that somewhere, psychologically, there is an issue in their relationship or understanding with themselves. This is why it is often the case that drug addicts have some sort of unaddressed emotional or psychological problem, such as childhood trauma or identity issues.
Because many addicts choose to use drugs rather than to heal these problems, they are foregoing a chance to get to know themselves better and work through their issues. This may be the best that they can do at the time; however, it also means that there is a fairly deep part of their personality that they will be unable to share with others.
Someone who does not know themselves in an intimate manner will thus be unable to share an intimate relationship with others – be they friends, family, or partners. One can only share as much of themselves with others as they are aware of, and if they are using drugs to cover up the parts of themselves that they’re unaware of or unwilling to accept, then they won’t be able to share these parts with others.
It’s also important to note that the drug addict essentially shares a relationship with their drugs. Someone who has become psychologically or physically dependent on a drug actually needs these drugs to feel well. This means that every day, their priority will be acquiring and using the drug.
Since doing this is necessary for them to feel functional and well, this will take precedence over their relationships. If a drug addict wants to be present for their partner or show up at a family function, then they’re going to need to get their drugs first – otherwise, they won’t be able to perform or be as present as they would like.
Unfortunately, this can lead to immense difficulty in relationships – a meth addict may miss out on meetings, fail to attend family gatherings or repeatedly come up with excuses as to why they weren’t able to show up for their partner.
While it can be hard, try to remember that a meth addict isn’t usually trying to be negligent. Unfortunately, their lifestyle choices and their need to use drugs will often take precedence over maintaining their relationships.
What to Do if You’re in a Relationship With a Meth Addict
If you think that someone you’re in a relationship is addicted to meth, then you probably want to help them.
If you’re able to communicate with them about your worries, then you may have some success encouraging them to seek help for their issue. Communicating with compassion is key, and making sure that you don’t verbally attack them or judge them will help ensure that you’re able to get your message across.
If you can reach the meth addict, you might be able to encourage them to get into rehab. Many meth addicts are actually interested in seeking help for their problem, but they’re unaware of how to go about it or they’re afraid of what people will think if they find out.
If the meth addict is willing to listen to you and is eager to seek treatment, find a rehab facility near you so that you can begin the next step of the process. Perhaps seeking a facility that offers family therapy could help repair any damage done.
One of the most important things that you can do is to continue offering your support and compassion to the addict as they work to improve their life. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to methamphetamine, call Recovery Connection at (866) 812-8231.