Meth side effects may be enjoyable for some but can lead to many short-term and…
The Shocking Effects of Meth on the Body
Methamphetamine is a powerful drug that causes great physical and psychological harm to users. Known as crystal meth, speed, tweak, and ice
Crystal meth. Speed. Tweak. Ice. Whatever you call them, the use of methamphetamines carries the promise of destruction along with it. The physical and psychological repercussions of using the drug have the potential to last a lifetime. The longer you use the drug for, the bigger and longer-lasting the impact.
Although 667,000 Americans reporting that they actively use meth (according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health), it still is not as common as other drugs. In comparison, 24 million people report active marijuana use, 3.3 million use pain relievers, and 1.9 million extensively use cocaine.
What kind of impact does crystal meth use have on these individuals? You may have seen an anti-meth campaign showing before and after comparison pictures of drug users. The external consequences of speed are obvious but what happens on the inside? Continue reading to learn more about the effects of methamphetamines on your body
What is Methamphetamine?
Methamphetamine is a potent and dangerous stimulant drug that comes in the form of a white crystal powder. On its own, it is bitter tasting, odorless, and it dissolves in alcohol or water. Meth affects the body by directly impacting your central nervous system and causes an intense high while decreasing appetite.
People usually use it one of three ways: smoking it, snorting it, or injecting it intravenously (into their veins) with a needle. Although it is odorless in its regular crystalline or powdered state, meth gives off a “chemical” smell when smoked. Some compare the chemical smell of the drug to cleaning products or, more specifically, ammonia.
Meth releases a massive rush of dopamine in the brain which creates a feeling of euphoria in the user. It causes hyperactivity and increased talkativeness. It causes users to feel energized and results in jumpiness and being overly verbal. When someone is high on speed, they often feel overly confident and that they can accomplish many things at once.
People usually use it one of three ways: smoking it, snorting it, or injecting it intravenously (into their veins) with a needle.
Meth Effects on Your Body Over Time
From an outside perspective, though, meth users usually look anything but okay. Although they may believe they can handle a number of tasks at a time, usually they end up hyper-focused on a single, menial task for any number of hours. Someone high on crystal may end up cleaning for hours at a time or taking objects apart and attempting to reassemble them.
Meth users often describe their first time trying the drug as the best they have ever felt. They proceed to chase this initial high, attempting to replicate that overwhelming sense of euphoria they felt the first time. Unfortunately, any high that follows the first time will never fully compare to that initial incredible rush of dopamine.
Long-term meth use leads to both physical and psychological consequences. The severity of these reactions depends on the number of drugs used and the length of time the individual used them for. Most people recover almost entirely from the effects of meth use but some experience a longer-lasting impact due to their use.
Physical Meth Effects
The anti-meth campaigns seen throughout the past decade display the physical effects of the drug. These physical reactions to crystal meth often show soon after someone starts to use the drug then proceed to worsen with time.
Again, crystal meth directly affects the central nervous system. It causes auditory, visual, and tactile (physical sensations) hallucinations. This means that the user hears, sees, and feels things that are not actually there. From the outside looking in you will not see what the person is talking about. Inside their head, though, these hallucinations are very real.
The tactile hallucinations cause many meth addicts to experience the sensation of imaginary bugs crawling on their skin. These people pick at their skin to get the bugs off which leads to tearing and eventual scabbing of their skin. Once the skin scabs, they pick at their existing scabs, creating more scabs and starting a vicious cycle.
Other meth effects include the following:
- Significant weight loss over a short period of time
- Dilated pupils
- Significant twitching
- Meth mouth—a condition is characterized by the appearance of rotten or browning teeth that fall out due to the extreme acidity of methamphetamine combined with poor oral hygiene by the user.
- Open sores or lesions on the skin
- Rough and scaly skin that gives users an older look
Psychological Meth Effects
In comparison to the physical meth effects, the psychological effects of meth results linger for longer periods of time. The visual and auditory hallucinations tend to overwhelm individuals and create a sense of paranoia. If they continue using speed or do not seek treatment once they stop, the paranoia may progress into psychosis or persistent delusions.
Common psychological meth effects include the following:
- Intense euphoria
- Increased alertness and energy
- Increased anxiety and tremoring
- Decreased motivation
- Increased depression
- Prolonged periods of lethargy
- Suicidal thoughts, ideation, or an increase in self-harming behavior such as cutting
These long-term hallucinations may lead to a long-term psychosis. The psychotic symptoms may last for as short as a few days or as long as some number of months or years. If left untreated, delusions may continue on indefinitely.
Prolonged use of crystal also impacts your ability to properly release dopamine in its natural form without help from chemicals. This often leads to depression or anxiety in those trying to quit using meth.
Quitting a Methamphetamine Addiction
Crystal meth may be one of the most difficult types of drugs to quit using. The false belief that the initial sense of euphoria is just around the corner lives on in every speed addict. Inpatient addiction treatment, like the program offered at Hawaii Island Recovery, helps addicts develop a new way to live and look at life. They provide a chance for people to get back to normal.