Most people know that methamphetamine, or meth, is an addictive and dangerous drug, but not everyone is aware of the numerous health-related consequences associated with this drug.
Whether injected or snorted, meth is very damaging for health
As the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) explains, meth increases levels of dopamine in the brain, which results in feelings of pleasure and makes people want to use meth again and again. As a stimulant drug, meth not only makes people feel good, but it also speeds up the body’s systems, including the cardiovascular system. This, combined with other effects of meth on the body, can lead to the following health problems*:
Since meth increases heart rate and blood pressure, it can lead to serious problems, such as hypertension and even heart attacks. Damage to the cardiovascular system from meth use can also lead to stroke, which can be fatal, much like a heart attack.
Damage to the Brain, Resulting in Cognitive Deficits and Mental Health Problems
Ongoing meth use can damage the brain and neurological system, leading to problems with memory, attention, language, learning, and motor skills. This can make it difficult to complete mentally challenging tasks, and it can interfere with coordination if the motor skills are affected.
Meth is also associated with numerous mental health problems, including sleep disorders, depression, and psychosis. Because of the mental health effects of meth, people who are under the influence may become violent, agitated, or paranoid. They may also experience hallucinations or delusions. In some instances, these symptoms may look like schizophrenia, but in most cases, psychosis disappears after a person stops using meth, suggesting that the psychosis is drug-induced, rather than being indicative of schizophrenia.
Finally, meth can interfere so significantly with mental health functioning that users are at risk of suicide, according to research.
Dental Health Problems
Meth use is also associated with poor dental health, which can result in periodontal disease and cavities. Research has shown that dental health tends to be worse among people who have been using meth for longer periods of time. People who are addicted to meth may become so focused on drug use that they neglect oral hygiene practices, such as regular tooth brushing.
Pregnancy-Related Problems and Meth Abuse
Beyond the numerous health problems that affect meth users, abuse of this drug can have a negative impact on a developing baby if its mother abuses meth during pregnancy. An analysis of eight different studies found that meth use during pregnancy was linked to problems like premature birth, low birth weight, and smaller size at birth.
Other Health Impacts of Meth Abuse
In addition to the problems noted above, SAMHSA has reported the following health risks associated with meth abuse:
- Damages to organs like the lungs, kidneys, and liver
- Skin sores from scratching
Based upon what is known about meth abuse, it is pretty clear that this drug damages multiple systems in the body and takes a significant toll on users’ health.
If you or a loved one is abusing meth, it is important to reach out for treatment to help you stop using and to reverse the damage that comes with meth addiction. Visit irecoveryusa.com to learn how you can participate in addiction treatment from the comfort and privacy of home.
*All information in this article is based upon government reports, as well as research findings. Sources are linked throughout the article.