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What Does Meth Use Do to the Body?

a person looks sadly at the floor possibly struggling with meth effects on the body

Crystal meth, also known as methamphetamine or meth, is an illicit drug that’s created by combining toxic chemicals and ingredients found in cold medicine. While meth is inexpensive and potent, it’s also extremely dangerous, addictive, and deadly for many users. Meth use wreaks havoc on all aspects of a person’s health and life. It causes significant damage to internal organs, and many of the effects of chronic use are irreversible. If you are struggling with meth addiction or you are worried about a loved one, reach out for help today.

Meth addiction treatment can help treat the effects of meth on the body so that you can focus on the path to lifelong recovery. At The Arbor, we know how important it is to have a safe, supportive environment to learn the skills you need to succeed in sobriety. Our in-house psychiatrists provide support to people struggling with a dual diagnosis, while our recovery specialists engage our clients in therapies to promote personal growth. Call 844.413.2690 today to get started.

How Does Meth Work?

Meth is a central nervous system stimulant, which is part of the reason it’s so very addictive. When a person takes meth, it goes to their brain, creating signals that unleash a torrent of dopamine. Dopamine activates the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, but the level of dopamine released when taking meth is many times higher than what happens naturally.

The accelerated release of dopamine creates a euphoric state and it also triggers addiction. The user’s brain begins to crave the high, which pushes them to take progressively higher dosages. Along with feelings of intense pleasure and happiness, meth typically increases a person’s physical activity and energy levels, as well as their alertness and sociability. Users aren’t likely to feel hungry or tired, and they often have increased attention spans.

What Does Meth Do to the Body?

While methamphetamine creates an intense high, it does so much more to the body. There are severe immediate and extended consequences that can cause medical emergencies.

Short-Term Effects

Some of the short-term effects of meth use are often associated with the extreme limits it pushes the body to, including:

  • Increased body temperature
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Potential brain hemorrhage
  • Convulsions during overdose
  • Lung collapse

Long-Term Effects

After a person develops an addiction and chronically uses meth, their body begins to break down in several ways, like:

  • Extreme, rapid weight loss
  • Sleep deprivation and insomnia
  • Damage to internal organs such as the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys
  • Harm to nasal passages from snorting meth
  • Skin conditions such as infections, abscesses, and sores
  • Tooth decay, commonly called “meth mouth”
  • Malnourishment

Meth also puts a great deal of stress on the user’s heart, disrupting its normal rhythm. With the severe damage to the cardiovascular system, the user’s risk of heart attack and stroke dramatically spikes. It constricts the veins and blood vessels, which causes the formation of blood clots. Furthermore, meth is toxic to the blood vessels; it causes rupturing that may lead to bleeding in the heart.

How Do People Use Meth?

Depending on the resources available to the person struggling with a meth addiction, they may resort to different methods of getting the drug into their body. Some of the most common uses of meth include:

  • Snorting – This method can cause a quick head rush and damage to the sinuses.
  • Injection – Shooting up may lead to one of the fastest meth highs since it goes directly into the bloodstream. Extended injections can cause track marks.
  • Smoking – Using pipes or other methods to smoke the drug can lead to meth mouth over time.

Although there are a few different ways people use meth, the devastating effects on the body are usually the same. Prolonged meth use damages the liver and increases the risk of liver failure and hepatitis. This failure is due to the numerous toxins contained in the drug, including battery acid, drain cleaner, paint thinner, and lithium. Meth may cause kidney failure due to increases in body temperature, as well as the breakdown of muscle tissues.

It’s important to consider the drug’s effects on the lungs when evaluating the impact of meth on the body. When a person smokes meth, its toxins go directly into the lungs, causing severe damage. As the drug constricts the blood vessels, it inhibits blood flow to the lungs, leading to fluid accumulation.

The Deeper Effects of Meth on the Mouth

One of the most obvious signs of meth use in a person struggling with addiction is its effect on the mouth. Meth mouth occurs when teeth decay and gums become red and swollen. Signs of meth mouth include:

  • Blackened, stained teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Severe gum disease
  • Tooth loss

While the effects of meth on the mouth are visible to others, it’s important to consider the psychological effects of the drug as well.

The Mental Effects of Meth

The mental effects of meth can sometimes be more damaging in the long run than the physical effects. Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant, and it overstimulates the brain’s synaptic activity. This overstimulation can lead to issues with:

  • Cognition
  • Memory
  • Psychosis
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Visual and auditory hallucinations

Meth users often experience a euphoric high when they first start using the drug. However, this high is usually followed by an intense crash that can lead to feelings of anxiety, irritability, and depression.

Recovering from Meth Addiction Is Possible

While the effects that meth has on the body may seem frightening to many, they may be easily overlooked by someone battling an addiction to the drug. The effects of meth not only damage the user’s body and life, but they also affect everyone around the person.

It is also notoriously hard to kick the habit, and relapse is extremely common. Those who successfully beat a meth addiction generally undergo long-term addiction treatment and have a plan for life-long support. Finding support with a professional rehab team like the one at The Arbor can be a lifesaving decision.

With around-the-clock support from our mental health and recovery professionals, you can be sure that care is just around the corner. You can find a new hobby in any of our holistic therapies, like horseback riding, disc golf, fishing, swimming, and yoga. Call 844.413.2690 to get started today.