a person looks out of a window sadly as they struggle with meth side effects

Side Effects of Meth

Methamphetamine, or meth, stimulates your central nervous system. Whether it’s called crystal meth, meth, ice, blue, or any other street term, methamphetamine has powerful effects on your brain and body. It can cause short-term and long-term side effects. The drug can cause physical dependence and addiction regardless of uncomfortable meth side effects. If you want to stop using the drug, a meth rehab center can help.

Promises Behavioral Health offers treatment for methamphetamine and other types of substance abuse disorders that you can trust. To learn more or to find a Promises meth detox center near you, call 844.875.5609 today.

Short-term Side Effects of Meth

Short-term side effects of meth occur immediately. In addition to the high from taking meth, other intended side effects can include the ability to stay up for hours to perform many physical tasks and a decreased appetite.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) research shows some unintentional or undesirable meth side effects on your heart and circulation that include:

  • Increased heart rate – Meth causes your heart to beat faster. This can cause irregular heartbeats, which increases the risk of stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
  • High blood pressure – High levels of meth can lead to a spike in blood pressure, putting an extra strain on your heart, arteries, and brain. These side effects are only temporary but they can be dangerous.
  • Changes in mood – Meth use causes intense feelings of euphoria, but it can also lead to irritability or agitation.
  • Hallucinations and delusions – The hallucinations are caused by the drug’s ability to alter your perception of reality. This can cause paranoia and even violent behavior.

Meth can also be extremely easy to overdose—which can have catastrophic consequences.

The Dangers of Meth Overdose

Side effects of a meth overdose can consist of hyperthermia (raised body temperature) and seizures. Without treatment, these severe side effects could be fatal. Meth overdoses can also cause hallucinations and psychosis (lack of touch with reality). The CDC reported that meth was involved in 13.3% of drug overdose deaths in 2017. In western U.S. states, meth is the top drug involved in overdoses. Meth overdoses can also lead to permanent disability because of brain hemorrhages and strokes.

According to the University of Arizona’s MethOIDE education website, newer meth users are more at risk of sudden overdoses than long-term, frequent meth users. Meth overdoses can also affect muscle tissue. When the cells die, they can release toxic substances that can lead to kidney failure.

Long-Term Side Effects of Meth

Methamphetamine use over time almost always leads to physical dependency. It can also lead to addiction. Dependence refers to a physical need for the drug to feel “normal.” Addiction combines physical, emotional, and social symptoms. Addiction is probably the most severe long-term side effect of meth. Many meth users need to go to a meth addiction treatment center for lasting recovery.

Other long-term meth side effects include:

  • The sensation of bugs creeping under the skin – Also known as “meth bugs,” this is caused by the drug’s effects on the brain.
  • Damage to blood vessels in the brain – Heavy meth use can cause damage to these veins and arteries, leading to stroke and aneurysms.
  • Infectious diseases – Meth users are at a greater risk for contracting HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.
  • Weight loss and malnutrition – Chronic meth users often lose a lot of weight because of the drug’s effect on their eating patterns.
  • Damage to teeth – Meth can cause tooth decay (known as “meth mouth”) as well as gum disease that leads to tooth loss.
  • Mental health problems – Meth use can lead to anxiety, depression, and even psychosis.

Brain scans show that meth alters the brain’s natural chemistry. It interferes with the natural dopamine receptors in your brain. It also alters other functions in your brain, which results in changes in your ability to learn. Meth can also reduce your physical coordination. Other serious long-term side effects include changes in the parts of your brain which are responsible for your memory and emotions. Given this effect on your brain, it is important for those in recovery from meth to seek addiction therapy programs to cater to the negative effects meth has on the mental state.

More Problems Caused by Meth

Long-term side effects of meth can resemble behavioral disorders like obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), according to the University of Arizona. Long-term meth users can repeat behaviors like washing their cars or cleaning their houses even when they’re not needed. The psychological term for repetitive meth behavior is “punding,” which means “an organized goal but nevertheless meaningless activity.”

Lack of appetite from long-term meth use can also lead to diagnosable eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia. Impaired judgment can lead to problems at work, with your family, and with meeting responsibilities. The long-term anti-meth project “Faces of Meth” shows meth’s potential long-term effect on physical appearance. Blemishes and sores result from scratching and long-term skin changes. Dental problems occur from meth’s effect on hygiene and gum health. Weight loss from loss of appetite or eating disorders can age meth users decades beyond their calendar age.

Another side effect of meth won’t just affect you. If you’re pregnant, meth will affect your baby. According to NIDA, babies exposed to methamphetamine before they’re born can be smaller than usual and experience heart and brain abnormalities.

Meth Addiction Treatment at Promises Behavioral Health

Methamphetamine has powerful effects on users, including an intense euphoric high. It also comes with a host of undesirable side effects, from overdose risks and disabling strokes and heart problems to long-term impacts on your mind and body. If you’re using meth, you can receive help to stop. Our treatment programs include:

Contact us at 844.875.5609, and Promises Behavioral Health will talk with you about how you can recover and your addiction treatment options.

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