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The Damage Done: 6 Long-Term Reminders of Meth Abuse 

Methamphetamine is an extremely toxic and vile drug that produces an initial rush of euphoria and a massive boost of energy. After that first encounter, users can quickly find themselves chasing that same “good” feeling over and over again, but it’s a useless quest.

Truth be told, the effects of long-term meth use are far from glamorous or beneficial. Meth robs people of their physical and mental health, in addition to damaging physical appearance and cognitive abilities.

The Real Effects of Meth

The cruel irony is that most meth addicts began using the drug because they were desperately seeking pleasure, but what they ended up getting is nothing short of a nightmare. long-term use destroys the body’s dopamine receptors – and the ability to experience pleasure. 

Here are 6 long-term effects of meth abuse:

  • Cognitive Damage

    Because meth use releases a surge of dopamine nearly four times the level that cocaine use does, prolonged meth use over time ultimately destroys dopamine receptors and makes it impossible to feel pleasure. Although some PET scans of former meth users show that these dopamine receptors can slowly regrow, the impact on cognitive abilities damaged by the drug is often permanent. This can include impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination similar to those suffering from Parkinson’s disease.
  • Psychotic Behavior 

    Heavy, long-term use of meth can lead to behavior including paranoia, aggression, hallucinations and delusion. Some users have even reported feeling as though insects were crawling beneath their skin.
    “He picks and picks and picks at himself, like there are bugs inside his face,” said the mother of one meth addict to The Spokesman-Review. “He tears his clothes off and ties them around his head.”
  • Physical Appearance 

    Symptom including “meth face” and “meth mouth” are classic signs of long-term meth use, all of which results in drastic changes in appearance that make the user look worse for wear. Open sores, black and rotting teeth, acne and extremely dry skin are all signs of meth use that can make the user look much older than their age. Unhealthy eating habits and a loss of appetite can also lead to a haggard experience.
  • Behavioral Changes

    Some meth users became far more aggressive under the influence of the drug, while others become socially isolated as their addiction worsens. This can lead to issues in personal relationships, as well as legal troubles and even incarceration due to violent episodes stemming from meth use.
  • Financial Difficulties

    Meth addiction can quickly become an all-consuming expense. Homelessness is often an end result of long-term meth abuse because rent and other major bills are often eschewed at the expense of using.
  • Increased Sickness

    As meth use increases, the body’s ability to defend itself from various illnesses quickly decreases. This can lead to becoming sick more frequently and other physical consequences that can include liver damage, heart disease, stroke, coma and even death.

Talk to Us: Have something to add about meth abuse? Looking for support? Curious what others are saying? You’re not alone; head to the DrugAbuse.com Community Forum and sound off.

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