Methamphetamines are a powerful and remarkably addictive substance. Luckily, there are many meth rehab options available for the physical effects of meth.

Data from the NSDUH 2020 shows that over 2.5 million people in the United States used methamphetamine last year. More people than ever, people are wondering about the physical effects of methamphetamine addiction.

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What are the Physical Effects of Meth?

You may be wondering, “what are the effects of methamphetamine?”.

Meth use brings about intense waves of pleasure and euphoria. These effects of meth on the body are short-lived, though, and users experience strong cravings to use more of the drug so they can recreate these feelings. This pattern of use quickly and easily turns into dependence followed by addiction. Some meth users report feeling addicted to meth after a single use.

Meth is the abbreviated name for crystal methamphetamine. There are many street and casual names for meth, including crystal meth, ice, and crank.

These highly addictive drugs are classified as a psychostimulant that can be smoked, snorted, or injected.

Prolonged and sustained meth abuse leads to a battery of mental and physical health problems, some permanent, and others potentially lethal.

Meth not only damages the brain but can also cause both external and internal damage to your body. Despite how long meth stays in the system, some of these problems can be overcome by discontinuing use. Sadly, some of the physical effects of methamphetamine are irreversible.

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What Are The Physical Effects of Meth?

They physical effects of meth can be quite extreme, ranging from hallucinations and paranoia, to meth sores all over the body, to heart attack and even death from overdose. 

This drug is a powerful central nervous system stimulant, causing the body to go through a series of unnatural bursts of energy, resulting in the deterioration of a number of body parts with long-term use. 

It’s important to note that meth can take an immense toll on a person’s physical wellbeing very quickly, as this drug is highly addictive and can create dependence with as little as one use. The physical effects of meth can stay with you long after a person stops taking the drug as well, with permanent risks of damage that include:

  • Dental problems (known as meth mouth)
  • Brain damage
  • Mental health deterioration
  • & More

Continue reading to learn more about methamphetamine physical effects, and how to get treatment to prevent the physical effects of meth from getting worse if addiction is an issue. 

Effects of Meth on The Body

Meth physical effects can range from just behavioral and mental in the short-term, to far more dangerous and even deadly in the long-term.

Common physical effects of meth use like meth mouth, meth sores, and bizarre behavior are well known, but many who engage in the use of meth may not understand the full potential this drug has to create permanent damage to a person’s physical wellbeing. 

Short-Term Effects of Meth

Methamphetamine physical effects in the short term can help identify that someone is abusing the substance. Here are some of the most common short-term physical side effects of meth:

  • Hyperexcitability
  • Dilated pupils
  • Bizarre behavior
  • Increased body temperature
  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Extreme irritability
  • Sustained periods without sleep
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Panic and psychosis
  • Violent behavior

Meth physical effects can be longer-lasting, too.

Long-Term Effects of Meth

If you use meth long-term, it can lead to serious and adverse physical outcomes, including:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Serious dental problems (meth mouth)
  • Decreased motor skills
  • Impaired brain function
  • Easily distracted
  • Memory loss
  • Skin sores and scars
  • Violent or erratic behavior
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Hallucinations, paranoia, psychosis

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Fight Back Against Meth Addiction

Get evidence-based treatment to overcome meth addiction at Renaissance Recovery. Call our team now to learn more about the process.

What Does Meth Do to Your Body?

These are some of the more serious long-term physical effects of meth abuse:

  • Skin Complaints
  • Meth Mouth
  • Cardiovascular Damage

Click each tab below to learn more about these effects of meth use:

Skin Complaints

The chronic use of methamphetamine impairs your body’s ability to repair itself. As such, skin complaints are among the most visible effects of meth abuse. The skin can appear drawn, with sores that haven’t been able to heal showing up noticeably.

Many of those who use meth long-term develop skin issues like acne. The skin becomes less elastic and loses its luster.

If a symptom known as formication presents, you will feel the sensation of insects crawling beneath your skin. This condition frequently leads to scratching and picking of the skin, sometimes causing permanent damage. These combined skin issues can result in a very easy to spot meth user, as the lesions are typically bright red.

Meth Mouth

The most publicized adverse outcome of methamphetamine abuse is meth mouth, the result of severe dental issues. Meth-induced dental problems typically stem from poor dental hygiene combined with poor nutrition.

Long-term meth abuse can trigger a condition called dry mouth (xerostomia), as well as teeth grinding (bruxism).

This study shows that 96% of those who used meth had cavities, 58% had untreated tooth decay, and 31% had at least six missing teeth.

Cardiovascular Damage

Meth abuse can cause a variety of heart problems, including:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Enlarged heart muscle

This meta-analysis of studies shows that abusing methamphetamine can inflame pre-existing cardiac disorders, increasing the chance of myocardial infarction and sudden cardiac death.

People who abuse meth are also at heightened risk of cardiovascular damage.

Psychological Effects of Meth

Research shows that chronic meth abuse can alter the brain structures governing decision-making. Meth misuse can also increase the incidence of useless behaviors, while at the same time impairing verbal learning.

The abuse of methamphetamine is also associated with functional and structural changes in the areas of the brain linked with emotion and memory.

These changes play a central part in meth addiction, formally termed stimulant use disorder.

Even though some of this damage is permanent, research indicates that some meth-induced damage can be reversed after a year or more of abstinence.

Meth Addiction Treatment at Renaissance Recovery

While medication-assisted treatment is effective for treating many substance use disorders, there are currently no FDA-approved drugs that prolong abstinence from meth or inhibit further meth usage.

Instead, behavioral therapies are the most effective treatments for meth addiction, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management (CM).

The matrix model can also be applied to stimulant use disorders like meth addiction. This involves comprehensive treatment over a four-month period, including:

  • Individual counseling
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Family counseling
  • 12-step programs
  • Drug testing
  • Incentivized health behaviors

If you need meth rehab, we’ve got you covered here at Renaissance Recovery. We’ll start your treatment by personalizing a treatment plan. Then, your can confidently move forward through the first step of detox and withdrawal.

You’ll then benefit from a variety of tailored behavioral therapies including mental health treatment, and more. If you or a loved one is addicted to meth, help is available at Renaissance Recovery.

Call our friendly admissions team today at 866.330.9449 to start addressing the psychological and physical effects of all forms of methamphetamine.

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