Meth, formally known as methamphetamine, is a Schedule II drug that can be used to treat obesity, ADHD, and narcolepsy.
However, meth is often abused with recreational use. Much like the use of any illegal substance, methamphetamine use is associated with a wide variety of side effects.
This is due to a number of reasons. First, meth that is used recreationally is often made in labs or people’s homes, which involves the use of hazardous ingredients.
On top of this, the method of use can expose you to different dangers. Varying forms like crystal meth can have more risky effects than other types of the drug.
And, meth is often mixed with other drugs like opioids or amphetamines that can pose additional health risks.
The Short-Term Effects Of Meth Use On The Body
With meth use, you may experience a number of physical short-term effects.
This means you may experience these effects immediately after use, even if it’s the first time you’ve done meth.
The most common short-term effect of meth includes a feeling of euphoria, or a “rush”.
Other immediate effects of meth abuse can also include:
- irregular heartbeat
- increased heart rate
- hyperthermia or increased body temperature
- increased breathing
- increased blood pressure
Additionally, there are some short-term effects that you may consider to be unexpected, such as the following.
Meth Use And The Stomach
One common side effect of meth use is a decrease in appetite. For some people, this side effect is more enticing than off-putting, though it can lead to additional issues with continued use. Meth can also instigate stomach problems by creating gastrointestinal issues and ulcers.
Believe it or not, there are a few immediate effects you may notice in your eyes when you use meth.
Specifically, meth abuse can cause dilated pupils, vision problems, and rapid eye movements.
Using methamphetamine can cause constipation. This is because meth constricts blood vessels which decreases blood flow, including the blood flow to your intestines.
When your intestines don’t receive an adequate amount of blood, you can encounter side effects such as constipation, cramping, or diarrhea.
Also known as crank bugs and ice mites, “meth mites” refers to the hallucinations methamphetamine can cause that make people think there are small bugs on them.
This phenomenon is responsible for the skin sores and scabs often seen on the faces and arms of people who abuse meth.
How Meth Affects Sleep
Lastly, methamphetamine abuse can commonly affect your sleep. This is because meth is a stimulant drug which causes increased energy and hyperactivity.
As a result, people who use meth will often have a lesser need for sleep. However, this can quickly lead to insomnia.
Other Physical Side Effects Of Meth Use
On top of short–term side effects of methamphetamine use, the drug can have various visible, physical effects.
These effects often make it obvious that someone has been using methamphetamine.
Physical side effects of meth may include:
- meth mouth: the occurrence of tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and dry mouth with meth use
- meth face: the change in someone’s face with meth use. Typically includes rapid aging and deterioration
- meth sores: the sores often found on the face and arms due to picking at the skin from meth hallucinations
- hair loss from meth use
- skin reactions from meth abuse
- weight loss from meth use
Mental Side Effects Of Meth Use
While meth can wreak havoc on your physical health, abuse of this substance can also cause your mental health to deteriorate.
Mental side effects can range in severity with meth use. Some common effects of meth on the brain include increased distractibility, memory loss, mood swings, decreased motor skills, and decreased cognitive abilities.
However, methamphetamine use can also lead to more permanent serious conditions.
Meth And Bipolar Disorder
It has been found that the use of meth can mimic the symptoms of bipolar disorder or increase the symptoms in those who already struggle with it.
As a disclaimer, it’s important to note that meth use does not cause bipolar disorder.
However, because meth affects the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your body, like dopamine and serotonin, you may feel increased symptoms or develop symptoms similar to this condition like mood swings.
Psychosis And Schizophrenia From Meth Use
Two other serious mental side effects of methamphetamine are psychosis and schizophrenia.
Psychosis refers to a variety of mental effects such as hallucinations, paranoia, and repetitive movement.
On the other hand, schizophrenia can often be worsened or become more likely when you abuse meth.
Behavioral Side Effects Of Methamphetamine Abuse
Meth can have effects on nearly every function and system in your body, even your behavior and behavioral patterns.
In many people, methamphetamine can increase violent behavior, aggression, and risky behavior.
Meth Use And Sexual Behavior
Meth can often cause a change in sexual behavior. Short-term meth use can cause increased libido and enhanced stimulation.
However, long-term use of this substance can lead to problems like decreased libido, erectile dysfunction, decreased arousal, decreased pleasure, and even infertility.
Long-Term Effects From Methamphetamine Abuse
The long-term effects of methamphetamine use are even more concerning than short-term effects.
In short, using meth can permanently damage several systems and functions within your body.
Long-term effects of meth may include:
- weight loss from meth
- meth abuse and diabetic ketoacidosis
- change in brain structure/brain damage
- damage to the heart or cardiovascular system
- heart attacks
- heart disease from meth abuse
- liver damage
- kidney failure from meth use
- premature osteoporosis
- lung damage from methamphetamine use
- hepatitis B and C
- higher risk for HIV/AIDS
Treatment Options For Methamphetamine Addiction
Addiction to methamphetamine can cause great damage to your mind, body, and life, so it’s essential to seek medical advice and adequate treatment.
Bedrock Recovery Center, located on the East Coast, is a high-quality treatment center where you can get started on your journey to recovery.
We’re an accredited and top-rated rehabilitation facility that offers personalized treatment for anyone with substance abuse issues.
Addiction treatment can include services such as detox, medication-assisted treatment to help with withdrawal symptoms, therapy, support groups, education, inpatient programs, and more.
Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center
Are you or your loved one facing the harrowing effects of meth drug use? Call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center to learn more about our evidence-based recovery programs.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/overview
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/meth
- U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Methamphetamine-2020_0.pdf