Meth effects

Learn how meth can affect every part of the human body and the consequences of meth abuse on your health. More here.

minute read

The effects of meth are dangerous!

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive central nervous stimulant that affects the brain and body. Because of its high potential for abuse, methamphetamine is classified as Schedule II drug. In fact, meth is considered one of the most dangerous drugs people take, with a potential for developing severe psychological or physical dependence, and addiction.

What are the specific effects of meth use and abuse on every part of the human body? We answer here! If you want to ask anything about meth effects, please post your questions in the comments section below. We try to respond personally to all legitimate questions.

Meth effects on the body

Meth has dangerous and harming effects on almost every organ in the body. It harms the heart and lungs, increases heart rate, leads to irregular heartbeat, increases blood pressure. Meth use can cause irreversible damage to small blood vessels in the brain which may lead to strokes.

Meth users lose their appetite, so over time they lose a lot of weight and become very skinny. Meth also destroys enamel, causing dental problems.

The hallucinogenic effects of meth makes the user to see imaginary insects that they come to believe are crawling all over them. Scratching and picking at these imaginary bugs causes sores on the skin. Note also that meth addicts age very quickly, become extremely thin, have pale complexions and a generally unhealthy appearance.

Meth effects on the brain and nervous system

Meth is a stimulant, so the use of meth cases a ‘high’ that can last up to 12 hours. Users get attached to this drug because of the intensive highs. However, when meth’s effects of euphoria and pleasure wear off, the brain is left deprived of dopamine, and users experience:

  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • loss of energy
  • lack of focus
  • sleepiness

Long term use of this drug has damaging effects on the brain. It’s actually known to cause more damage to the brain than heroin or cocaine. Meth destroys the brain cells that contain dopamine and serotonin. Over time, users have an increased risk of Parkinson’s disease. How does meth work, exactly?

Specifically, methamphetamine works by causing a release of two neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine and serotonin. The brain communicates with every organ of your body signalling it to function regularly via neurotransmitters. In fact, neurotransmitters have a significant influence over your mood, sleep, body weight and focus.

Meth effects on the mind

Meth abuse causes permanent damages to the brain, weakening the abilities to memorize, reason, and feel normal pleasures. The psychotic symptoms caused by the use of this drug can last for several years, even after the person has stopped using methamphetamine. The significant changes of meth use and abuse are also manifested in irreversible cognitive disorder such as:

  • damaged motor skills
  • difficulty performing basic verbal tasks
  • hallucinations
  • harming the ability for learning
  • inability for determining consequences and rational thinking
  • obsessive behavior
  • persecutory delusions

Meth effects on personality and behavior

The nervous system functions very fast under the influence of meth and the brain starts to send danger messages to the body. As a reaction, the body responds immediately to threats and prepares to fight or to run away (fight or flight response). This is why methamphetamine causes violent and psychotic behavior in people, and can often lead to loss of self control and aggressive outbursts.

Meth effects on the heart

Meth increases the heart rate and may cause tachycardia. It can often be the reason for heart attacks or strokes because addicts simply push their bodies to the limits without any rest, recuperation, nor renewal.

Meth effects on heart rate and blood pressure

Meth increases the blood pressure and may cause arrhythmias. A meth overdose can result in extremely high blood pressure and body temperatures which often leads to:

  • heart attach
  • irregular heartbeat
  • stopped heartbeat
  • stroke

Meth effects on the lungs and liver

Smoking meth can introduce many impurities in the lungs and damage the lung tissue. Materials used to cut crystal can block blood vessels in your lungs. Long term use can forever damage the function of your lungs.

Additionally, methamphetamine can lead to chronic liver inflammation (hepatitis).Such inflammations cause cell death and scarring of the liver tissue, which leads to liver injury. Long-term physical effects such as liver, and lung damage may have life threatening effects on meth addicts.

Meth effects on eyes and pupils

Methamphetamine users are usually recognize-able by their dilated pupils and bloodshot eyes. In fact, dilated pupils are one of the most obvious signs of meth abuse and addiction.

Meth effects on skin

Meth makes users feel a sensation as if bugs are crawling on or under their skin. It makes them scratch and pick at their skin a lot. The scratching leads to sores on the face, arms and legs.

Meth effects on teeth

Meth users usually have broken, stained, rotten teeth, and a dry mouth. They often drink or eat a lot of sweet and sugary products, which contributes to the tooth damage and decay.

Meth effects on sperm

According one study, meth use has a direct effect on male infertility. The effects of meth on sperm have been tested on rats. In many studies the results have shown that meth induces abnormal sperm morphology, lowers the sperm concentration and causes apoptosis (cell death) in the testicles of male rats.

Meth effects on pregnancy

Methamphetamine use during pregnancy affects the development of the brain, spinal cord, heart and kidneys of the baby. Plus, the use of meth during pregnancy can result in prenatal complications. These complications sometimes result in premature delivery and birth deformities of the baby. Further, children of mothers who abused meth during pregnancy may experience learning disabilities, growth and developmental delays. Some babies are born without parts of their limbs.

Meth effects on breast milk

Mothers that are meth addicts should not breastfeed. Methamphetamine and its metabolite, amphetamine, can be detected in breastmilk and in baby’s body after breastfeeding.

Several death cases in infants have been detected where the source of methamphetamine was a mother’s breastmilk. Even if an overdose never occurs, a baby’s ability to process information and communicate can be impaired, a child’s development can be delayed, and many other harmful consequences can appear later in life.


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Meth effects questions

Do you have any questions about the effects of meth abuse on the body and brain? Feel free to post them in the comments section below. We try to provide personal and prompt answers to all legitimate inquiries, or we’ll refer you to someone who can.

Reference Sources: DEA: Methamphetamine
Illions Attorney General: Meth Evils
Lancaster: Devastating Effects of Methamphetamine
Arizona Attorney General: About Meth
Medline Plus: Methamphetamine overdose
NIH: Effects of Meth on Bodies and Brains
NCBI: Methamphetamine induces abnormal sperm morphology, low sperm concentration and apoptosis in the testis of male rats
SAMHSA: Tips for Teens-Methamphetamine
ND Health: Methamphetamine Use During Pregnancy
MAINE: Substance use and Breastfeeding
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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