Side Effects of Meth

As with many drugs, meth has the short-term effects that are “feel good” highs and the long-term effects that are extremely detrimental to your health.

Last updated: June 1, 2018
Man smoking meth

Short Term Effects of Meth

Meth releases considerable amounts of dopamine, which is known to cause pleasure and euphoria. Because of this, there is a subculture of that use methamphetamines as an aphrodisiac because of its effects on the pleasure center of our brain. In addition, some of the short term effects include:

  • Euphoria or rush
  • Hyper focus
  • Wakefulness and decreased fatigue
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Increased respiration
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia

Long Term Effects of Meth

The long term effects of meth are manifold and deeply deleterious to the brain and body. Not the least of these negative long term effects is addiction which is a chronic condition of dependency, and because users build up a tolerance, they require more and more of the drug to achieve the same high. This results in the body becoming dependent on the drug, making it harder and harder to go without the substance. Long term effects of meth include:

  • Addiction
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Impaired verbal learning
  • Severe changes to the brain
  • Loss of memory
  • Mood swings (aggression or violent behavior)
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Tooth decay
  • Meth mouth
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Increased risk of Alzheimer’s Disease or stroke
  • Psychosis
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

Many people identify meth users by skin sores on their face and body. This is commonly a result of the delusion that bugs are crawling under their skin.

In addition, non-neural brain cells like microglia are affected by methamphetamine use as well. Microglial cells help remove damaged neurons, phagocytose cell debris, and ward off infectious agents. That said, if the microglia are too active, they can mistakenly devour healthy neurons as well. Many studies have shown that former meth abusers feature twice as many microglial cells as those who have never used meth.

All this said, not all of the damage done is permanent and some is even reversible. Studies show that those who have been free from methamphetamines for 2 years exhibit similar microglial cell activation as those who had never taken meth. In addition, increased cognitive function, motor and verbal skills.

Resources

Want someone to talk to?

Online therapy can break the cycle and turn negative thoughts into positive ones.

Get Started

How to build new habits

I Am Sober is an app that helps you get some control back in your life.