Methamphetamine is an effective and highly addictive drug, commonly known for treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Due to its weight loss effects, meth has also been used to treat severe cases of obesity. However, it is frequently abused for its long-lasting highs and potency, as it is more than double the strength of cocaine.
Methamphetamine comes in the form of an odorless powder, pills, and a rock known as crystal meth. This crystal, resembling the consistency of ice, is a cheaper and more concentrated version of meth users commonly smoke. What makes it so dangerous, other than its potency and intense, euphoric high, is that it’s often cut with dangerous chemicals.
Crystal meth and methamphetamine products carry a number of health concerns with every use. The potency of this drug makes it easy for users to overdose, and effects from this drug are responsible for irreversible damage to the brain and body.
In more severe cases, meth abuse can cause addicts to neglect daily routines and necessities like personal hygiene and eating. Meth acts as an appetite suppressant, causing users to experience extreme weight loss from suppressed hunger. Supplementing meth for food eventually takes a toll on the body the longer it goes without nutrients.
Other serious short-term effects of meth abuse include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Increased body temperature
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Long-term methamphetamine abuse can also damage blood vessels in the brain, increasing the risk of stroke and an irregular heartbeat. Users are also more prone to lose teeth. Meth affects the functionality of oral salivary glands, preventing acids from food and bacteria to break down. In turn, acids begin to wear down tooth enamel. In milder cases, users only suffer from a few cavities and red gums. However, more severe cases of oral damage cause addicts to develop meth mouth, a frightening display of decaying teeth that often fall out.
Other common long-term effects of meth abuse include:
- Epilepsy symptoms
- Respiratory issues
- Liver and kidney damage
- Meth sores, or open wounds and abscesses caused from incessant picking at the skin
Once the brain begins to crave meth, the body will soon follow. As a result, an individual’s recreational use becomes an addiction. If users try to abruptly quit using meth, they will be susceptible to painful withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms vary from one user to the next, but heavily depend on how frequently the drug has been used. Common withdrawal symptoms from methamphetamine include:
- Dry mouth