While TV shows and movies often focus on the alarming changes to meth users’ appearance – including skin sores, gum disease and advanced tooth decay – these sensationalized depictions do not always align with the realities of meth use. Over time, methamphetamine abuse can affect virtually every organ in your body, and contrary to well-worn stereotypes, some meth users do not have poor oral health or open wounds from picking at their skin. Here are the leading meth side effects you should be aware of.
Short-Term Effects of Meth Use
Methamphetamine is a potent stimulant that acts upon the brain and central nervous system, providing an intense rush of pleasure and making users feel highly alert, energetic and restless.
People can abuse meth by smoking, snorting, injecting or taking it via pill form. The resulting high can last up to 12 hours, during which users may go without food or sleep. Sleeplessness during a meth binge increases the risk of experiencing delusions and hallucinations.
Only one dose of meth can cause side effects like:
- A heightened sex drive
- Dry mouth
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- Violent behavior
- Paranoia and agitation
Why Is Meth Dangerous?
Besides its effects on the central nervous system, meth also affects the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, causing heart damage, dangerously high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. It’s possible to overdose on meth, even for first-time users.
Call 911 if you experience any of these potentially fatal side effects after taking meth.
- Cardiac arrest
- Elevated body temperature
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or stomach pain
Meth is also a risky drug because it can cause users to be much more aggressive than they would typically be, leading to angry outbursts and impulsive behavior like sexual assault.
Long-Term Effects of Meth Use
Methamphetamine is highly addictive – the longer you use it, the more your tolerance will build, causing you to take progressively larger doses to achieve the same desired effects. A meth addiction results from a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, and eventually, you will have trouble deriving pleasure from anything other than meth use.
Long-term effects of meth use on your body can include:
- Dramatic weight loss
- Drug-related psychosis
- Organ failure
- Gum disease and tooth decay
Meth users who try to quit can experience intense drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms that include fatigue, body aches, insomnia and mood swings.
How to Stop Using Meth
Meth addiction does not have to destroy your health or tear apart your relationships. It is a chronic illness, and people with this disease deserve a compassionate approach to recovery.
At Pillars Recovery, the first step of our accredited California addiction treatment program is detox. This process involves ending substance abuse to give your brain and body a fresh start. We know detoxification can be unpleasant, which is why we work to make your experience as safe and comfortable as possible. In our program, you’ll find a unique and individualized experience designed to support you while you begin your recovery journey.
Contact us today to learn more about transforming your future at Pillars Recovery. We have experienced addiction firsthand, and we know it is possible to find a happy, fulfilled lifestyle in sobriety.