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Effects of Meth Abuse and Addiction

Overdose fatalities from stimulants have increased dramatically in recent years in the United States. Methamphetamine (meth), one of the main culprits in these cases, is a synthetic stimulant that is highly addictive and has the potential to inflict various other serious health consequences.


Researchers studied data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); they showed that meth overdose fatalities in the United States rose almost threefold between 2015 and 2019.


Let us first explore what meth is before examining how it affects the physical and emotional health of those who use it.

What is Methamphetamine?

Meth is a synthetic psychostimulant substance that speeds up the brain's inner workings and impacts the CNS (central nervous system), resulting in long-lasting effects on the individual. Some of the nicknames for this substance are:


  • Crystal

  • Speed

  • Zoom

  • Go

  • Crank

  • Tweak

  • Ice

  • Glass

  • Rock candy

  • Shizzo

  • Yaba

  • Fire

  • Uppers

  • Poor man's cocaine

  • Shards


When speaking in public, some individuals refer to the drug as Tina, making it seem like they are talking about a woman rather than a substance.


Depending on the materials used to produce it, meth can be swallowed as pills, snorted, injected intravenously, or smoked. It can take the form of tiny glass shards or a distasteful, bitter-tasting powder ranging in color from clear to pinkish or off-white to brown. Those who get addicted to the substance suffer significantly due to their addiction. According to MethProject.org, the addiction element associated with methamphetamine is vital; it is "one of the most dangerous and addictive chemicals" currently available.


Medically Reviewed:


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Signs and Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Unfortunately, one terrible fact of drug usage is that it is frequently undetected by others around you until it has progressed to misuse or addiction. The following are some of the short-term signs of meth addiction:


  • Overheating 

  • Loss of appetite

  • Increased physical activity

  • A heart rate that is too fast or too erratic

  • Breathing more quickly


Meth can cause you to strain your muscles too hard and too quickly. Once the drug effects wear off, you can experience physical exhaustion and sleep for an extended period, referred to as a "crash."


You also run the danger of overdosing. Seizures and a dangerously elevated body temperature are among the possible symptoms. In addition, you might have a cardiac arrest, a stroke, or multiple complications with many organs. In the event of an overdose, if you don’t get immediate medical attention, you might die.

The Impact of Meth Addiction on Your Life

Meth is classified as a Schedule II substance. Accordingly, although the stimulant may be beneficial in treating some medical issues (such as narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) recognizes that meth has a high potential for abuse and addiction complications.


Meth use has been linked to short- and long-term adverse health consequences. Symptoms of constipation or diarrhea, disorientation and migraines, intense sweat, fast breathing, and weight loss are all possible in the best-case scenario for consumers of this product. 


Here is how meth addiction affects your life:

Experiencing old age too soon.

Meth use may create various appearance-related problems, including reduced skin elasticity, making individuals seem much more aged than they are. Methamphetamine use can also clog pores. Long-term skin damage, such as skin picking, acne, and excessive scratching, can also lead to other factors, including stress and anxiety.

Complications of the heart

Meth harms the central nervous system. It raises the body's temperature, breathing rate, and blood pressure, increasing the likelihood of stroke and cardiac difficulties and can easily lead to death.


Methamphetamine addiction's influence on the cardiovascular system may range from an irregular heart rate to myocardial infarction. In addition, injectable meth usage may lead to blood clots in the veins, pathogenic microorganisms in the blood arteries, and heart valve difficulties, among other things.

Meth mouth is real!

"Meth mouth" is characterized by severe gum disease, often resulting in teeth breaking or falling out. A survey on the teeth of 571 people who used methamphetamine revealed the following: 


  • 31 percent had at least six missing teeth

  • 58 percent had tooth decay 

  • 96 percent had cavities 


The teeth of those severely hooked to meth are blackened, rotting, stained, crumbling, and falling apart.

Kidney problems

The kidney filters blood and urine from excess fluids and toxic substances. Once the waste has been filtered, it is delivered to the bladder (reservoir). Most illicit substances enter the bloodstream through this same process.


If the excrement (urine) is more acidic or has a more significant concentration of toxins, the kidneys' ability to perform their filtration function is impaired. The kidneys must then work harder to finish the filtering process. People who have established a tolerance to methamphetamine will progressively increase the amount of the drug they consume to get the same high. The amount of poisons the kidney must filter grows, leading to a decline in renal function over time.


In addition, when meth addicts binge, they often do not consume enough fluids, resulting in dehydration. Dehydration causes a significant drop in blood pressure, which results in reduced renal blood flow. As a result, binge meth users are more prone to renal failure due to this reduction in blood flow.

Besides, meth is known to cause rhabdomyolysis, hepatotoxicity, acute renal damage, and neurotoxicity. Any of these illnesses may occur alone or in concurrency with others. Essentially, the usage of meth may result in the development of multisystem toxicity.

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Meth Addiction and Mental Health Complications

Methamphetamine addiction may result in difficulty paying attention to activities, memory loss, irregular mood fluctuations, and potentially lifelong psychosis and paranoia, among other symptoms.

Meth Can Cause Sexual Dysfunction

Some people who take this drug claim they have a more intense sexual experience when on methamphetamine. Unfortunately, this will only last a short while. Quantitative research done in 2016 revealed a link between methamphetamine and erectile dysfunction. While some addicts initially reported heightened sensations, this altered with time, and many reported experiencing sexual dysfunction due to their usage.


Because users make judgments while under the influence of drugs, they are more likely to engage in harmful conduct, it is common for users to engage in unprotected sexual behavior, putting them at risk of contracting sexually transmitted illnesses.

Crystal Meth Is Illegal in the U.S.

Using crystal meth, like other illicit narcotics, may get you into severe issues with the criminal system. The penalties associated with methamphetamine vary by state, depending on the nature of the offense. Still, methamphetamine may also result in federal narcotics charges if transported into the United States.

Meth Addiction Hurts Relationships

This is a drug that has an immediate effect on your behaviors. This might harm one's connections with family and friends over time. Increased dosages or continuous use of meth may also result in aggressive conduct, placing the loved ones of individuals addicted to methamphetamine in a potentially harmful situation.


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Bottom Line

Methamphetamine is a highly harmful and addictive stimulant. When someone is suffering from a Meth addiction, it can seem as if they'll never be able to recover. Rolling Hills Recovery Center, however, may assist Methamphetamine addicts in breaking their physical and psychological reliance on the substance. If you or a loved one is struggling with a Methamphetamine addiction, speak with our addiction professionals immediately to learn about possible recovery alternatives.

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What is methamphetamine?
Signs and symptoms of meth addiction
The impact of meth addiction on your life
Meth addiction and mental health complications
Meth addiction hurts relationships
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