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.

What does crystal meth do to you
In small or even controlled doses, meth abuse can cause a number of health issues. Methamphetamine is a stimulant, often triggering an increase in physical activity and energy. Meth abusers tend to become overactive, pushing themselves much further than a normal physical and mental limit. As a result, users tend to mentally and physically break down as the high wears off.

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:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Increased body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
Frequent meth abuse can cause irreversible damage to the brain and to the body. In excess, meth has been known to cause a decline in IQ and memory loss. Abuse can also affect brain chemicals, specifically dopamine and serotonin, which are neurons responsible for motor skills, thoughts and emotions. An imbalance of these chemicals in the brain can induce symptoms of depression, anxiety and psychosis in users.

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:

  • Malnutrition
  • Depression
  • Epilepsy symptoms
  • Respiratory issues
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Meth sores, or open wounds and abscesses caused from incessant picking at the skin
Three times the potency of cocaine, methamphetamine causes users to become dependent faster than most illegal drugs and is one of the hardest to quit. The stimulant drug triggers the brain to release more than triple the normal amount of dopamine in the body, creating a state of euphoria that can last up to 12 hours in one sitting.  After the first few uses, the drug changes the functionality of the brain, causing it to become dependent on the drug. Even after discontinuation of the methamphetamine, it can take years for the brain to go back to normal.

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:

  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
If you or someone you know is struggling with crystal meth addiction, The Recovery Village is willing and ready to help on your road to recovery. Together with our team of trained medical professionals, you can gain the tools needed to help overcome your addiction and live a healthier, safer life. Don’t wait another day to start your journey.