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The Effects of Meth Use

Widespread production and the relative ease of obtaining illicit methamphetamine has contributed to a huge national meth problem.

Widespread production and the relative ease of obtaining illicit methamphetamine has contributed to a huge national meth problem.

Is Meth Harmful?

Meth Effects question 1

Meth, the abbreviated colloquialism for methamphetamine, is a wildly addictive and dangerous substance. Users can rapidly develop a dependency on its effects, which themselves exert a number of health risks. The illegal production and distribution of meth is one of the leading reasons for crime within some areas of the United States. Meth is often found with relative ease on the streets, contributing to the rapidly growing nationwide problem.

“Meth can cause serious bouts of addiction and is one of the leading reasons for crime within some areas of the United States.”

Meth is often created in small home-based labs that are not up to any type of quality standard. Because of this, fires and explosions have been known to occur during the creation of the drug, and this has resulted in a number of people’s deaths and injuries.

Meth is more addictive and harmful than amphetamine, from which it is derived. The main drug that is used on the streets of this form is crystal meth, which can provide a high for up to 12 hours and allows users to get high relatively quickly.

Meth Effects question 2

Short-Term Effects of Meth

Like all amphetamines, meth has pronounced effects on the cardiovascular system and can lead to marked tachycardia (increased heart rate) and raises the risk for cardiac arrest.

Like all amphetamines, meth has pronounced effects on the cardiovascular system and can lead to marked tachycardia (increased heart rate) and raises the risk for cardiac arrest.

There are various short-term effects of meth. These effects may change a person’s personality or attitude, can lead to weight loss, may increase the risk of death due to heart attacks, and could cause other potentially deadly problems. Some effects are not negative, like increased awareness. When meth was used as a prescription medication, it was often used to increase focus. It is very rarely used medically and tends to be reserved for ADHD or narcolepsy patients who don’t respond to other forms of treatment.

Some potential side effects from short-term meth use include:

  • Aggression
  • Hyperactivity
  • Appetite loss
  • Increased risk of heart attack
  • Heightened awareness (feeling alert)

Meth Effects question 3

Physical and mental effects of crystal meth

  • Going without food or sleep
  • Brief, intense rush
  • Rapid breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
(source)

Credit: Meth Project

Side Effects

The side effects of meth can be life-altering. Problems with your teeth are not uncommon, and significant weight loss can occur. Short-term side effects may be temporary, but long-term side effects can cause irreversible damage to the body. Because meth is addictive in nature, those who take it are more likely to crave the drug and to increase their dosages over time. This may lead to more severe side effects and a higher risk of death.

Meth Effects question 4

methamphetamine-assessment-banner

Long Term Effects of Meth

Depression and psychosis are a few of the long-term health consequences of meth abuse.

Depression and psychosis are a few of the long-term health consequences of meth abuse.

There is a lengthy list of long-term health consequences for those who have experienced prolonged meth abuse. Many of these effects can be quite devastating to those suffering from meth addiction, and the cumulative health toll can ultimately result in death. While no means an exhaustive list, some of the potential side effects of meth use can include:

  • Prolonged appetite suppression
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Marked malnutrition and, in severe cases, starvation
  • Development of amphetamine psychosis
  • Central nervous system hyperactivity and muscle tics
  • End organ damage resulting from prolonged malnutrition
  • Hyperthermia and cardiac arrhytmia
  • Formication, or the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin, which can cause users to scratch the skin off or to create lesions that may become infected
  • Inflammation or infection at the site of injection, if used intravenously
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of obsessive behavior
  • Reduced inhibitions resulting in accidents and bodily harm

Lasting health effects of crystal meth

  • Violence
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of bugs on or under skin
  • Anorexia
  • Dental problems
(source)

Meth Effects question 5

Meth Dependence

Meth abuse or dependency is a real problem, since a user may have difficulties stopping use of the drug. Dependence can be physical or emotional, but both should be treated by a medical professional for the best outlook for the patient. Dependency may be treated with both psychological treatments and medications.

“Meth abuse or dependency is a real problem, since a user may have difficulties stopping use of the drug.”

Synaptic Effects of Meth
Dependency can result in addiction, and addiction can lead to cravings that result in overdoses or serious, life-threatening side effects. For this reason, anyone who suspects a dependency or addiction should see a physician or addiction treatment professional for help stopping the drug. To help a Meth addict, call our 24/7 helpline at (800) 943-0566 for more information.

Meth Effects question 6

Meth Withdrawal Treatment

Meth withdrawal can be carried out safely and most comfortably with some amount of medical supervision.

Meth withdrawal can be carried out safely and most comfortably with some amount of medical supervision.

Because meth is addictive, and can have a quite uncomfortable withdrawal period, detox is frequently carried out inside an inpatient rehabilitation facility or residential treatment center. If it is not, cravings could result in an addict buying and taking more of the drug. In an inpatient facility, the drug will not be able to be accessed, and medical advisors control patients’ dosages of other medications.

To start, withdrawal treatment will usually begin with a tapering process. This tapering process allows patients’ bodies to slowly adjust to lower amounts of methamphetamine. This is done by reducing the drug slowly over time, adjusting the dosages in accordance to the body’s responses and withdrawal symptoms.

Meth use can also lead to patients who are seriously malnourished and underweight. Nutritional help is often given and patients may be nursed back to health. As psychological issues arise, they are dealt with by qualified psychologists or psychiatrists. Some of the types of mental health issues that could present include psychosis, depression, and paranoid behavior, but this is all part of the withdrawal process and is controlled as well as possible.

Once the drug has be eliminated from the system, the patient may begin counseling. This can include psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help patients prepare for life outside the facility.

Aftercare and recovery make up the final stage of the process. During recovery, patients will be able to go home, but they usually head to a sober living home or halfway house. This allows them time to adjust without being thrust back into their original life situations. Patients may also attend 12-step programs, support groups, and other types of therapy to help them stay clean and to continue living without the need for drugs.

Need Help Understanding Your Addiction Treatment Options? Call 1-888-747-7155.