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A man clings to a staircase railing as he suffers from meth paranoia

Meth Paranoia and Domestic Violence Rates

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive, long-lasting chemical substance that affects the central nervous system and creates a feeling of intense euphoria in the user. Meth works by causing the brain to release very high levels of the chemical dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that affects attention, alertness, motivation, and motor function. Elevated dopamine releases may cause the harmful effects of methamphetamine on the brain, such as meth paranoia. Chronic use of meth can cause depression, fatigue, anxiety, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, and violent behavior.

How Many People Use Meth?

According to the 2016 World Drug Report, between 15 million and 56 million people worldwide use methamphetamine. Moreover, approximately 1.2 million Americans use methamphetamine. And of men and women arrested for domestic violence, 67% of women and 78% of men were under the influence of alcohol or drugs — half of them admitting to using methamphetamine at the time of their arrest. Typically, research indicates a strong relationship between meth use and both perpetrator and victim involvement in domestic violence. In other words, meth use can both increase the occurrence of users as victims and users as perpetrators in domestic violence situations.

Co-occurrence rates of meth use coupled with domestic violence range between 25% and 80%, depending on the study. Additionally, women and men equally have been identified as both the perpetrator and victim. However, the rate of domestic violence situations is three to five times higher for women who are meth users than those who are not. Some research indicates that the interaction of methamphetamine, dopamine, and serotonin in the user’s brain leads to hyperirritability, aggression, and violence. Other studies suggest that perceptual distortions cause by meth use, like meth paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions that their partner is cheating, lying or otherwise behaving in a deceitful way, increase the risk of violence.

What is Meth Paranoia?

Although depression is the primary mental health condition experienced by methamphetamine users, about 23% experience meth paranoia. Some believe that changes in the brain cause meth paranoia. These create a disproportionate perception of victimization or ill-treatment. Individuals experiencing meth paranoia may feel that their partner is somehow persecuting or mistreating them. They may wish to cause serious physical or fatal harm. As a result, the individual may behave violently out of fear or panic to protect themselves. Because of the strong correlation between methamphetamine use and domestic violence, studies indicate that the integration of individual and couple-based domestic violence interventions into treatment programs is needed. Additionally, offering domestic violence-related resources for meth-using couples not in treatment, who are experiencing domestic violence incidents, is also warranted and could help reduce domestic violence as a consequence of meth use.

Get Treatment at Promises

Meth paranoia and domestic violence are no laughing matters. If you know that your need meth addiction treatment, don’t hesitate. Reach out to Promises Behavioral Health today. We offer several therapy programs to help you defeat your meth addiction, including:

Meth paranoia doesn’t need to rule your life anymore. Contact us at 844.875.5609 today.

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