According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, there are over 24.7 million people using crystal methamphetamine. Of those users, there are over 529,000 in the US. Considered a public health menace, meth is highly addictive and ravages your health in a wide variety of ways.
Immediate Effects of Methamphetamine Usage
Meth is a powerful stimulant and gives the user a burst of energy. Suddenly, the person is no longer tired, is motivated to work and isn’t hungry. While this sounds great, it also can cause rapid and irregular heartbeat, hyperthermia which induces profuse sweating and increased blood pressure. It’s also possible for a user, even a first-time user, to suffer convulsions and die as a direct result of meth.
Long-Term Effects of Meth
As a person continues to use, the strain on the body becomes obvious. Dopamine receptors in the brain become overloaded, requiring more and more of the drug to be taken. The person may lose a lot of weight due to having no appetite and spending all their money on the drug. Grooming habits can be forgotten and, coupled with a dry mouth from smoking meth, can destroy a person’s teeth entirely in just a few short months. Long-term users can also develop heartbeat arrhythmia, which can cause a deadly heart attack.
Mentally, long-term users can develop hallucinations and psychosis. He or she may imagine bugs are crawling on or under the skin, which can lead to self-mutilation as the user frantically scratches at the ‘bugs.’
No discussion of the consequences of meth usage is complete without mentioning mental health. The constant stress of procuring the drug, the paranoia of being discovered and even the anxiety of law trouble all add up.
If You or a Loved One Is Using Meth
The health effects of long-term meth usage are clear, but here is one statistic that is ultimately sobering: heavy meth users only live 5 to 7 years. If you or someone you love is using, getting help now is imperative. Don’t wait, don’t try to kick the habit alone. Get help right now.
Methamphetamine usage is terrible for you, both your mind and your body. By understanding the effects of the drug, you are better able to see the signs of addiction in those you care about and empathize during their recovery.