Substance Use

What Are the Side Effects of Meth Abuse?

young woman meth addict needle

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse 

Meth abuse affects millions of American each year — not just users but also their loved ones. In 2020, among people aged 12 or older, about 1.5 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, resulting in thousands of related deaths. 

This highly addictive drug, commonly called crystal meth, directly influences the central nervous system, causing a rapid dopamine release. This brain chemical reinforces rewarding behaviors, contributing to meth addiction. In the short term, meth can cause overwhelming and dangerous effects, some of which are fatal. The same is true for chronic users — the longer you use meth, the greater your risk of an overdose or contracting infectious diseases. 

Zinnia Healing offers evidence-based substance abuse options if you or your loved one are struggling with meth abuse. Discover more about the treatment process and the available levels of care to guide you on your recovery journey. Taking this step could save your life. 

What Are the Short-Term Side Effects of Meth?

Taking even small amounts of meth can lead to adverse effects, including the following:

  • Increased wakefulness 
  • Faster breathing
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • High blood pressure 
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased body temperature
  • Convulsions can occur with an overdose and may result in death

Each dose increases the risk of addiction and the adverse effects of meth abuse. Short-term effects rapidly develop into long-term effects, creating consequences across all aspects of your life. Those with a pre-existing health condition, such as heart disease, face an increased risk of complications. 

What Are the Long-Term Side Effects of Meth?

The route of administration plays a role in the long-term side effects of meth. For example, injecting meth increases the risk of contracting HIV and hepatitis B and C. Those already living with HIV or AIDS can experience worsening symptoms associated with meth abuse, as this drug may increase the progression of its consequences. 

Other long-term effects of meth use include the following:

  • Malnutrition and extreme weight loss 
  • Addiction 
  • Significant dental issues, known as meth mouth 
  • Skin sores from itching or picking
  • Changes in brain function and structure 
  • Sleeping issues 
  • Violent behavior 
  • Extreme paranoia and hallucinations
  • Memory loss 
  • Anxiety 
  • Lung, liver, and kidney damage
  • Long-lasting damage to the heart and blood vessels
  • Severe dependence 

While some brain changes may reverse once you’re off meth for a year or more, others will remain for longer. Sometimes, indefinitely. Research shows that meth users face an increased risk of Parkinson’s. An increased risk of Alzheimer’s and stroke is also a concern. 

If you are abusing meth, it’s crucial that you take action as soon as possible. Zinnia Healing has the resources needed to protect your health and future. Please call our helpline at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about the available treatment options and next steps. Discover the evidence-based therapies we offer at treatment facilities across the nation.

How Is Meth Abused?

Meth comes in many forms, allowing users to ingest, smoke, snort, or inject the drug. Those who inject or smoke meth experience an immediate and intense rush. This rush only lasts for a few minutes. Snorting or ingesting methamphetamine creates a euphoria, creating a high but not an intense “flash” rush. Snorting meth yields effects within 3-5 minutes, whereas oral ingestion takes around 15-20 minutes. 

Like most stimulants, meth is abused in a “binge and crash” pattern. This use pattern can sometimes last several days, with users avoiding food or sleep. Over time, meth users significantly threaten their well-being, prioritizing meth above all else. 

Signs of Meth Abuse

At first, signs of meth abuse are typically behavioral. Loved ones may notice personality changes paired with odd behavior. However, once drug abuse turns to chronic use, the signs become more apparent. These signs include the following:

  • Changes in sleep patterns, including insomnia 
  • Worsening paranoia, delusions, and psychosis 
  • Severe mood swings
  • The onset of violent behavior 
  • Possible deficits in motor and thinking skills

Physical symptoms become quite obvious following prolonged meth abuse, including:

  • Skin sores
  • Tooth decay and tooth loss
  • Severe weight loss

Users abusing meth will also quickly develop a dependence. If they do not take meth, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms, including intense cravings, irritability, confusion, and low energy. Unfortunately, these symptoms often drive people to continue using, creating a vicious cycle of drug abuse. 

What Drugs, Substances, or Supplements Interact With Meth?

Mixing substances can significantly increase your risk of overdose. Many regions are seeing an influx of meth or cocaine overdoses when these stimulants are combined with fentanyl. A fatal dose may be administered unknowingly. Since meth is most often used recreationally and obtained on the streets, it’s impossible to know how much you’re taking or if your dose was cut with something else.

Using meth and consuming alcohol can also significantly affect judgment, placing you in dangerous or fatal situations. In addition, research shows that binge drinking is associated with the likelihood of meth use among regular users. 

Getting Help

Meth use in the United States is rising, contributing to thousands of unnecessary deaths. From 2012 to 2018, rates of death involving psychostimulants like meth increased nearly five-fold. Since this drug is so highly addictive and destructive to the lives of those who abuse it, seeking treatment as soon as possible could mean the difference between life and death. 

Zinnia Healing offers detox, outpatient, and inpatient addiction treatment programs tailored to each individual. These evidence-based programs focus on a holistic approach, helping individuals heal physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Our treatment facilities are located nationwide, ensuring access to comprehensive, professional treatment wherever you are. After all, we firmly believe in health and healing for everyone, everywhere. 

Meth abuse is dangerous, destroying the lives of those affected. The longer you use it, the higher the risk of complications. However, with one phone call, that can all change. Our comprehensive treatment plans are tailored to your unique needs and goals, helping you achieve a healthier, more fulfilling future. Please contact Zinnia Healing to discuss your situation and begin the healing process.