The Long Way Down

When the high from methamphetamine wears off, the resulting crash drops users into a state of depression, isolation, and dependence. See what happens on the way back down.


After remaining in an amped-up state for a long period of time, Meth users will become exhausted and lethargic, sometimes sleeping for days.


Meth’s affect on the brain also damages a user’s memory. Users can lose track of time following a Meth binge and may not recall what they did while they were high.


Meth creates a high by depleting the chemical in the brain that makes us feel good. Once this supply is used up, the user struggles to feel pleasure and can sink into a severe depression.


The pull of Meth happens largely because of how it rewires the brain’s reward system. Seeing something that reminds users of the drug activates certain areas of the brain, and a powerful desire for Meth can set in.


Meth use causes mental and social issues that isolate users from friends and family. Anxiety, psychosis, and depression are common and studies have shown that up to one third of Meth users in treatment had attempted suicide.


Why do users experience "the crash" when they come down from methamphetamine?

  • Every time the brain creates pleasure it has to create an equal amount of pain
  • Meth depletes the brain’s dopamine supply, the chemical that makes us feel good
  • Meth saps the body of phenylalanine, an amino acid with antidepressant effects
  • Meth over-stimulates the part of the brain in charge of guilt

During a Meth run, users drain
their dopamine supply. This makes
it difficult for users to feel pleasure
at all, lessens their ability to
think and remember, and can also affect movement.



  • The inability to sit still. During withdrawal from methamphetamine, the user may experience extreme restlessness, tension, and insomnia. "All Kinds of Crazy"

  • A severe lack of energy leading to complete inactivity. This can set in after the body finally stops running on overdrive from a Meth binge.

  • The inability to feel pleasure. Methamphetamine can cause this through dopamine depletion, which profoundly disrupts the brain’s reward system. Meth users will often be left severely depressed and withdrawn. Nicki's Story

  • Also known as adrenaline, this hormone increases heart rate and blood pressure and is released by methamphetamine. The adrenaline pumps through a user’s system and is responsible for some of the effects on appetite and energy. But methamphetamine also depletes adrenaline hours or days later, leaving the user severely worn out once the high is gone. Lucias' Story