- Habitual methamphetamine use can exacerbate the symptoms of COVID-19 because both conditions affect the lungs and heart.
- People who struggle with substance abuse that includes methamphetamine are at higher risk for serious complications of COVID-19 because of the respiratory and immune impacts of their use.
- Stopping the use of methamphetamine is recommended, but the only effective treatment is psychotherapy.
- Harris House offers both inpatient and outpatient treatment for methamphetamine abuse.
Nearly 30 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19 with symptoms including chest congestion, inflammation, shortness of breath, and secondary pneumonia. Although there are many symptoms of COVID-19 other than respiratory ones, breathing issues are often the most serious and lead to the most life-threatening cases of the virus.
Despite the fact that more than 500,000 Americans have died from the virus, it actually has a mortality rate well under one percent; however, having certain diseases and health conditions called comorbidities raises a person’s risk for serious complications and death from the virus.
Meth Use Raises Risks from COVID-19
People who abuse methamphetamine (meth) already have three to five percent higher death rates than the general public. Those rates rise significantly when meth users get COVID-19.
Meth use, including the use of crystal meth, can lead to greater susceptibility to serious complications from COVID-19. Its use leads to a weakened respiratory system and conditions like COPD, asthma, and cardiovascular complications.
The same co-occurring conditions are known to have caused worse outcomes in patients with earlier coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Meth also raises users’ risk of fatality from COVID-19 for another reason: It compromises the body’s immune system by significantly reducing the function of immune cells that can fight off viruses and pathogens. This immune system compromise leaves the body more vulnerable to viruses and other infections and reduces the chance of recovery from disease.
A study published in JAMA using data from the Chinese Centers for Disease Control showed that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 among people with chronic respiratory disease was over six percent, while the overall case fatality rate in China at the time of the study was 2.3 percent.
Treatment for Meth Abuse
There is no current treatment for meth abuse other than psychotherapy. Unfortunately, meth abuse is increasing during COVID-19 because it is cheap and easy to get. Some people are even making meth themselves out of common ingredients. In addition, lockdowns and quarantines are creating greater stress for individuals, leading to more use of dangerous drugs.
Harris House is here for you. If you or a loved one struggles with meth abuse, we can provide compassionate, evidence-based treatment. Call us to learn about admissions to our programs and how we can help.