How Does Meth Affect the Body?
Table of Contents
It may be shocking to learn the many ways that meth affects the body. This potent and destructive substance can wreak havoc on both physical and mental health. Read on to learn more about how meth affects the body.
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine (meth) is an illicit stimulant drug concocted with amphetamine and a variety of flammable household ingredients. These may include battery acid, drain cleaner, or paint thinner, all products that can cause an altered state of reality.
Meth is a potent and dangerous stimulant that can cause profound changes in the brain. Even after a single use, the brain’s reward pathways can be affected, leading the person to seek the drug again. After ongoing use, the brain begins to depend on the drug to stabilize the altered brain and provide dopamine.
The initial effects of meth include sensations of euphoria, alertness, energy, and a sense of wellbeing. However, there are also some adverse effects caused by meth use. These include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Hyperactivity, mania.
- Decreased appetite and weight loss.
Meth is also referred to as crystal meth, speed, crystal, ice, and crank. The drug can be ingested in various ways, such as smoked, swallowed in pill form, snorted, or injected. The drug’s effects come on quickly and fade fairly fast, leading to continued abuse and eventually addiction.
Once someone becomes addicted to meth they will be unable to control their drug-seeking behaviors and meth use. This happens when the brain’s chemical makeup has been altered and natural dopamine production dwindles. Without the drug, the person no longer feels pleasure.
As addiction sets in, the person’s life will begin to unravel. Legal problems, job losses, stress, financial problems, child custody issues, and even homelessness are common among meth addicts.
Some of the signs of active meth addiction include:
- Severe dental disease.
- Skin sores from picking at invisible bugs.
- Weight loss.
- Droopy skin.
- Angry or violent outbursts
- Cognitive problems.
- Aggressive behavior; angry outbursts.
- Mental confusion.
- Mood swings.
How Meth Affects the Body
Because meth is such a toxic substance, serious health conditions can develop as a result of addiction. The drug inflicts heavy damage to the body. Some of the effects of long-term meth abuse include:
- Meth mouth.
- Memory loss.
- Increased risk of stroke
- Coronary artery disease
- Cardiac arrest
- Aortic dissection
- Parkinson’s disease
- Liver damage; increased risk of hep B and hep C
- Increased risk of HIV/AIDS
Although some of the damage done to the brain and the body can be reversed, many will suffer long-term health effects even in recovery. Other long-term effects of recovery include feeling chronically tired and depressed.
What is Meth Mouth?
One of the most extreme effects of meth is a dental condition called “meth mouth.” The level of damage to the teeth will depend upon the duration and extent of the meth addiction. Meth mouth is often seen in heavy meth users, not those who use it on occasion. Meth mouth is more severe in women versus men.
Meth mouse is caused by dry mouth, a direct result of the meth addiction. Meth users may also grind their teeth, causing teeth to loosen or crack. It is also common for meth addicts to lose interest in taking care of their dental hygiene.
Signs and symptoms of meth mouth may include:
- Poor overall dental health.
- Loose teeth.
- Sensitive teeth.
- Inflamed gums.
- Dry mouth and tongue.
- Broken or fractured teeth.
- Severe tooth decay.
- Loss of teeth.
In many cases, the person waits too long before seeking the help of a dentist. By the time they reach out for help the damage is too extensive and the teeth can’t be saved. This often results in full mouth extractions and dentures.
Meth Detox and Withdrawal
Before you can break a meth habit, you will need to first complete the detox and withdrawal process. This is best done under the care of a detox team who will be able to assist you as symptoms arise. They have various meds they can use to help reduce discomfort.
Because meth is a synthetic drug, the withdrawal effects are more intense and ragged. The human body is not equipped to metabolize the dangerous and toxic ingredients contained in meth.
The withdrawal symptoms emerge within 12 hours of the last dosing. This is called the “meth comedown,” which refers to the period when the drug is wearing off. The person may experience the following symptoms:
- Increased appetite.
- Mental confusion.
- Sleep disturbance.
- Mood swings.
- Intense depression.
- Drug cravings.
- Memory problems.
- Thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
During meth withdrawal, the psychological symptoms are often worse than the physical symptoms. This is an added reason to only attempt meth detox under supervision, as there is a heightened risk of suicide.
Turn Your Life Around with Treatment and Recovery
Making the decision to get clean and sober after a meth addiction should come with the knowledge that you will need ongoing support. Starting with a structured treatment program, you will be guided toward learning ways to deflect compulsive drug seeking behaviors. Using one-on-one therapy, group therapy, 12-step groups, and addiction education, these programs can help you turn your life around.
Life is too short and too precious to waste it with a meth problem. Seeing how meth can affect the body may be a wake-up call for many. These are the long-term effects that people are largely unaware of when they take that first hit of meth. But now that you know meth’s affect on the body and you are ready to break free from its grip, reach out for help today.
Golf Drug Rehab Provides Luxury Meth Addiction Recovery Services
Golf Drug Rehab is an upscale addiction treatment center that offers help for those who struggle with meth. Our program features an evidence-based treatment approach combined with recreational golf. By mixing in some pleasure with the work of rehab, there is a greater chance you will complete the program. For more details, call us today at (877) 958-5320.
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