What Does Meth Do To Your Body?

Methamphetamine continues to be a popular illegal drug used to achieve a high or euphoric feeling. However, it is highly addictive and can have countless unpleasant and dangerous effects on the body. Treatment for meth addiction varies but may be necessary for recovery.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug when used illegally. This stimulant drug is used in some clinical settings but is also made in home labs with hazardous ingredients for recreational use.

While some effects of methamphetamine may seem alluring, it’s vital to know that there are countless short-term and long-term effects that can put your body in serious danger.

In some cases, these effects can wreak havoc on your bodily systems and cause permanent damage.

Immediate Effects Of Methamphetamine Use On The Body

Methamphetamine has both short and long-term effects. This means you’ll feel some of the side effects of meth almost immediately after using it.

Effects On Eyes

One common side effect seen with meth abuse is its effects on the eyes. Specifically, meth often causes dilated pupils and rapid eye movements.

As a stimulant, methamphetamine can increase activity and wakefulness which can result in rapid or repetitive movements.

Heart Rate And Blood Pressure Increase

A couple of other effects meth can have immediately after it is used are increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Over time, these side effects can become dangerous to your cardiovascular health. Some people also notice an increase in body temperature and respiration.

Dopamine Rush

Perhaps the most desirable and well-known effect of meth is the dopamine rush or euphoria that comes along with its use.

Essentially, methamphetamine causes a rush or excess of dopamine in the brain which can make you feel particularly happy. You may also notice decreased fatigue and increased attention.


Lastly, some people experience short-term constipation with methamphetamine abuse. This is because meth use decreases blood flow, which can cause your intestines to function slower.

Along with this side effect, you may notice a decrease in appetite or a lesser need to eat while you’re high on methamphetamine.

Long-Term Effects Of Meth On The Body

Though the short-term effects of meth can be irritating, the long-term effects can be risky and dangerous to your health and well-being.

Weight Loss

Weight loss from methamphetamine abuse is common and can be pretty extreme in some cases.

The weight loss can usually be attributed to the fact that you eat less when abusing meth due to the decrease in appetite.

Meth Effects On The Female Body

While meth has several negative affects on the bodily overall, there are unique female body problems created by meth use.

Gray matter in the brain can deteriorate faster in women who use meth than men, as well as a higher decrease in neuroplasticity, which aids in memorization and learning.

Effects On The Stomach

Using meth can cause stomach pain and damage by drastically reducing the amount of blood that goes to your stomach and intestines.

This can cause some serious damage over time. For example, some people experience intestinal ischemia with meth abuse.

This condition refers to when the intestines do not receive enough oxygen and cannot function correctly, causing constipation and abdominal cramping.

Other effects of meth on the stomach include an increased risk of blood clots and a reduction in muscle function.

Tooth Decay (Meth Mouth)

One of the more commonly known side effects of meth is tooth decay or meth mouth. Meth abuse can often cause severe dental problems that ultimately end in tooth loss.

This can occur for many reasons. For instance, meth is acidic, can cause grinding of the teeth, and can cause dry mouth, all of which can lead to tooth decay.

Meth Face

Similar to meth mouth, many people are familiar with meth face, which refers to the way people’s faces change after abusing methamphetamine.

One effect that causes this change is weight loss. On top of this, meth can cause premature or false aging, making you look older than you actually are.

Memory Loss

Believe it or not, methamphetamine use can also wreak havoc on your mental health and cognitive function. The multitude of mental effects is often referred to as psychosis.

As meth use causes brain damage and even changes the brain’s structure, many people experience memory loss, confusion, paranoia, hallucinations, violent behavior, and repetitive movement.

Hair Loss

Another effect of meth on your physical appearance is hair loss. Hair loss due to methamphetamine use can occur for a number of reasons.

First, due to the mental effects of the drug, some people pull out their hair. Other causes include improper hygiene and decreased body function, both due to consistent meth use.

Skin Sores

Many people also suffer from skin sores that result from meth abuse. These sores are found on the face and arms in particular.

The sores are often self-inflicted, as people who abuse meth end up picking at their skin repeatedly.

Other Effects On The Skin

A couple of other effects on the skin due to methamphetamine include excessive sweating, leathery skin texture, and in rare cases, allergic reactions.

Meth Mites

Finally, using meth can also lead to a condition commonly known as meth mites. This term refers to the hallucination people have that makes them think there are bugs under their skin.

In attempts to try to get the bugs out, people will pick at their skin non-stop causing the skin sores mentioned previously.

Health Risks On The Body Of Methamphetamine Abuse

In addition to the long-term and short-term effects, meth addiction can also pose a variety of health risks.

Parkinson’s Disease

Research has shown that methamphetamine can potentially increase your risk of developing Parkinson’s disease or cause early onset of the disease.

Parkinson’s is a nervous system disease that progresses over time and affects movement. As the disease progresses, it can make daily tasks difficult to perform on your own.

Diabetic Ketoacidosis

For those with diabetes, using methamphetamine can result in diabetic ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous complication.

It is caused by your blood sugar being too low or too high and can be life-threatening.

Effects On The Lungs

When it comes to smoking methamphetamine, typically crystal meth, there are also some serious risks to the health of your lungs.

The list of meth effects on the lungs is fairly extensive including a higher risk of infection like pneumonia, collapsed lungs, “meth cough”, respiratory failure, interstitial lung disease, and lung damage.

Kidney Failure

Another organ impacted by the use of methamphetamine is the kidneys. In some cases, this means kidney failure.

Meth causes kidney failure by dehydrating the body and reducing blood flow, both of which keep the kidneys functioning.

Heart Attack

Meth can cause irregular or increased heart rate and high blood pressure, which can lead to a higher risk of a heart attack over time.

Heart Disease

A similar health risk of meth use is heart disease. Heart disease is possible for the same reasons with the addition of the constriction of blood flow, which can cause tissues to die.

Some other health risks associated with methamphetamine use include overdose, stroke, and decreased thinking and motor skills.

Additionally, meth abuse can put you at higher risk for certain infections and diseases like hepatitis B and C and HIV.

Treatment Options For Meth Addiction

Meth addiction can deteriorate your health, both physically and mentally, so it’s vital to seek help from a healthcare professional for this condition.

When it comes to any kind of substance use disorder, Bedrock Recovery Center, located in Canton, MA, is the essential addiction treatment center to help you start your new life.

We offer individualized programs with treatment options for meth like detox, inpatient and outpatient services, support groups, therapy, and education.

Find Substance Abuse Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

Are you or your loved one ready to recover from drug use? Call our helpline at Bedrock Recovery Center today.

  1. Harvard Health Publishing https://www.health.harvard.edu/medications/what-are-methamphetamines-risks
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/methamphetamine/overview
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration https://www.samhsa.gov/meth
  4. Wisconsin Department of Health Services https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/meth/index.htm

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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