What COVID-19 Means for Those Addicted to Crystal Meth

by Pat Fontana

addicted to crystal meth

The coronavirus outbreak has challenged virtually everyone across the country. For those with substance use disorders, however, COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous. Primarily a virus that affects lung function, what COVID-19 means for those addicted to crystal meth is that they are especially vulnerable to serious health effects. It is now more important than ever to seek help for a crystal meth addiction.

COVID-19 Attacks Lungs and Heart

There are currently almost 3.8 million cases of COVID-19 in the US, with over 140,000 deaths. Those numbers continue to rise daily. Scientists are learning more about how the virus works as the disease progresses. They now know that it can be an illness of both the lungs and the heart.

Primarily, COVID-19 has been considered to be an illness of the lungs. Research has found, though, that up to 20% of patients with COVID-19 have signs of heart injury, whether or not they have respiratory symptoms. Scientists believe there may be a variety of reasons why a respiratory infection can inflict so much damage on the heart, including the widespread inflammation the infection causes, the possibility that the virus directly infects and injures the cardiovascular system, and the overall stress the infection puts on preexisting heart conditions.

Crystal Meth Also Affects Lungs and Heart

Crystal methamphetamine is a form of methamphetamine, a stimulant drug, that looks like glass fragments of shiny, bluish-white rocks. Health effects from crystal meth use include increased breathing, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, higher temperature, and an irregular heartbeat, in addition to decreased appetite, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, and severe dental problems.

In fact, meth can increase the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeat, and a decreased ability of the heart to pump blood. A research study also showed that when methamphetamine is used and distributed in the body the lungs absorb more methamphetamine than any other organ, including the brain and heart. It is believed that the ability of methamphetamine to accumulate in the lungs can make lungs more vulnerable to infections and other negative effects.

These studies suggest a negative impact from regular methamphetamine use on both the heart and lungs, which may put individuals who are addicted to crystal meth at greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and of developing more severe symptoms.

COVID-19 Challenges for Crystal Meth Addicts

Although COVID-19 is primarily considered to be a respiratory infection, the heart and breathing systems are highly dependent on each other to be able to function properly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified people who have serious underlying heart conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, to be at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 infection.

People who smoke drugs also experience higher rates of respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, and both of these are related to increased risk of more severe COVID-19 complications. Maintaining overall heart and lung health are important considerations to reduce the risk for the more negative consequences of COVID-19.

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says that patients with already compromised lung conditions may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19. Specifically, people who smoke or vape, or who are addicted to crystal meth or opioids may face heightened risk.

In addition, chronic opioid use already increases the risk of slowed breathing due to hypoxemia, which can lead to cardiac and pulmonary complications that may result in overdose and death. Dr. Volkow stresses the need to be alert to the possibility of increased risks for adverse COVID-19 outcomes in people who are addicted to crystal meth.

Crystal Meth Addiction and Treatment

Crystal meth is highly addictive and extremely dangerous. When someone is addicted to crystal meth, not only is the potential for COVID-19 complications more serious but the long-term health effects can also be devastating.

As crystal meth is an addiction that is difficult to treat, someone who has decided to try to get clean and sober needs professional assistance to ensure the withdrawal process is safe. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Severe depression
  • Psychosis
  • Intense drug cravings.

The most effective treatments for crystal meth addiction are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the patient recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations likely to trigger drug use.

South Miami Recovery Can Help When You or Your Loved One is Addicted

The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak can be very serious. When you or a loved one is also addicted to crystal meth, there can be devastating effects to your heart and lung function. At South Miami Recovery, we offer the crystal meth rehab services you or your loved one need to detox safely and continue through a successful recovery. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as a wide array of outpatient addiction treatment services to those who need it most during these uncertain times, following CDC guidelines for your health and safety. To get help contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055 or fill out our confidential form here.