The Mental and Physical Effects of Methamphetamine Use

The Mental and Physical Effects of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine is a white, odourless, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. Although it is by no means a new drug, its recreational popularity has soared in recent years. Since it is relatively easy to produce in “home labs” the supply of this drug has increased, resulting in a steady stream of availability for users.

Methamphetamine use presents many public health concerns. As is the case with any drug, a variety of physical health risks are associated with methamphetamine use. Many of these risks are very serious, and can result in severe short- and long-term consequences for the user.

Methamphetamine increases activity in the brain, leading to feelings of euphoria and increased energy, but also to increased alertness, attention, wakefulness, and sociability. Effects typically last 4-8 hours.

Meth abuse frequently occurs due to the highly pleasurable effects it produces. However, repeated use causes changes in the brain that ultimately result in tolerance, causing the user to need progressively higher doses to achieve the same effect. Users often report an inability to feel pleasure without the use of the drug fueling further use, withdrawal and invariably dependence.

Meth causes severe damage to the liver and kidneys, heart problems and structural changes in the brain. Dental issues are synonymous with meth use, and users commonly suffer from gum disease and tooth loss – a condition known as meth-mouth.

The psychological effects of crystal meth use can be just as dangerous. Alongside depression and anxiety, meth is known to cause users to experience delusions or paranoia, which may lead them to believe they have bugs or parasites beneath their skin. These delusions are known as drug-induced parasitosis and can cause users to pick at their skin until it bleeds. Drug-induced parasitosis can lead to serious infections, some of which may be caused by drug-resistant bacteria that can make people very ill.

For those suffering from an addiction to methamphetamine, the physical, social and psychological effects of the drug can be devastating and it may seem like quitting is an insurmountable challenge. However, the most effective way to cope with a methamphetamine addiction is to undergo treatment. Treatment programs can help addicts learn how to live without drugs, improve their self-image, and develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress so that they may forge a path on the road to recovery. 

Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

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