What Are Some Meth Side Effects?
Meth causes a number of different side effects for people who use it.
Meth side effects keep addicts hooked and falling apart at the same time. Methamphetamine use causes some of the most severe effects of all drugs. The ability it has to keep users up while tearing them down at the same time alarms anyone who is on the outside looking in.
Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug with properties similar to prescription amphetamine. Some common brand name amphetamine drugs include Adderall, Ritalin, and Concerta. These prescriptions help people with attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder stay focused. If you don’t have ADHD, though, amphetamine and meth side effects do the opposite.
There are a few common slang names used for methamphetamine including:
It’s not difficult to figure out if someone is using methamphetamine. They have incredible and often overwhelming amounts of energy, eat very little, don’t sleep often, and usually are noticeably underweight. Are you worried your loved one might be using methamphetamine? Continue reading to find out 10 of the most common meth side effects.
1. Significantly increased amounts of energy.
One of the most noticeable meth side effects is the extreme increase in energy. Again, methamphetamine is a stimulant drug so it speeds up activity in the brain. This makes meth addicts twitchy and causes them to have a hard time sitting still. People using meth sometimes have little focus and jump from task to task.
2. Little to no appetite.
Methamphetamine significantly impacts a user’s appetite. People experiencing meth side effects have little to no appetite which makes them not want to eat. Unless someone encourages them to eat, they may forget to eat for hours at a time. Addicts are aware of this side effect, though, and usually force themselves to eat so they can keep going.
3. Extreme weight loss.
Meth’s impact on a user’s appetite leads to an irregular eating schedule. Skipping meals causes them to not get the proper nutrition they need. This causes extreme weight loss, almost always to the point of leaving users severely underweight. In the worst case scenario, some end up malnourished and in need of medical attention because of it.
4. Difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep.
Since it is a stimulant, one of the meth side effects is its tendency to keep users awake for hours or days at a time. One hit of meth won’t keep you up for a week but many people tend to go on “meth binges.” Instead of letting the drug wear off, they get high again as the effects start fading. As a result, people who use a lot of the drug, especially those who inject meth, end up staying awake for long periods of time, sometimes for a week or more.
5. Odd and erratic behavior.
Meth affects decision-making skills which often causes users to behave strangely or erratically. Sometimes the limited or complete lack of consideration before making a decision puts people in harmful or dangerous situations. Users may participate in unsafe sexual behavior, drive a car under the influence, or lash out violently. It’s difficult to predict what might happen with a person who is high on meth.
6. Severe paranoia.
Using speed causes intense feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and paranoia. These overwhelmingly paranoid thoughts often develop into delusions, or falsely held beliefs that feel like reality to a user. Their paranoid delusions might consist of ideas that law enforcement officials keep tabs on them or are waiting outside their house.
7. Visual, auditory, and tactile hallucinations.
When someone is high on meth, they are prone to experiencing visual, auditory, or tactile hallucinations. This means they might see, hear, or feel something that isn’t actually there. Common hallucinations include seeing “shadow people,” or shadowy figures near the peripheral areas of their vision. Many users also experience “meth mites” which feels like small bugs crawling on their skin.
8. Irreversible tooth damage and decay.
Meth side effects include dry mouth which eliminates the saliva that helps clean acidic substances off of your teeth. Since this natural cleaning process can’t happen when their mouth is dry, users develop “meth mouth.” Meth mouth refers to the irreversible tooth decay often seen in most meth addicts. Sometimes decay gets so bad that teeth fall out or eventually must be extracted.
One of the worst meth side effects is psychosis, the experience of completely detaching from reality. People in a meth psychosis may pose a danger to themselves or others as there is no way to see what they believe they see. Their psychosis feels completely and totally real. There is often no way to convince them that what they see, hear, and feel isn’t actually there. Some people require medical attention or hospitalization if stuck in a truly dangerous psychosis.
10. Psychological dependence.
Heavy meth use often leads to psychological dependence. Methamphetamine does not cause physical dependence in the way alcohol or opiates do; the dependence is entirely in a user’s head. They become accustomed to the meth side effects they experience and have a difficult time imagining a life where they don’t use meth.
Seeking Treatment for Meth Side Effects
Although methamphetamine use doesn’t lead to a physical dependence, the psychological dependence is often just as difficult to break. Addiction treatment at a facility such as Hawaii Island Recovery can separate users from meth and help them live a life free from the bondage of drug addiction.