Stories about meth addiction often feature alarming photos of meth mouth and skin sores. Yet many meth users do not match the stereotypical profile of an anxious person with skin sores and poor oral health. Methamphetamine intoxication affects virtually every organ in the body, and the side effects of meth use can affect both your long and short-term health.
Short-term Side Effects of Meth Use
Methamphetamine is a stimulant that increases activity in the brain and central nervous system. This can cause a person to feel more alert and energetic. In addition to well-known negative side effects like agitation and aggression, some other symptoms you may experience include:
- A higher libido and increased interest in sex
- Excessive talking
- Intense feelings of pleasure
- Rapid or shallow breathing
- A rapid heart rate
Brian Wind, a clinical psychologist and addiction expert, emphasizes that meth can damage the heart, causing high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. He urges meth users to seek emergency care if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- Dilated pupils
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Irregular heartbeat that is slowed or fast
- High blood pressure
- Stomach pain
- Paranoia and agitation
Long-term Side Effects of Meth Use
Addiction is one of the most common side effects of methamphetamine abuse. The longer you use the drug, the more dependent you may become, causing you to use progressively larger doses to chase the high you once got with a lower dose. It is possible to overdose any time you use meth. However, prolonged use of meth increases your risk of overdose because you may use more and more of the drug.
Some other long-term side effects include:
- Sexually aggressive behavior. In one 2016 study, three of 35 male meth abusers reported sexually aggressive behavior.
- A higher risk of mental health issues such as anxiety, paranoia, and depression.
- Difficulty feeling any pleasure except that which comes from meth.
- Serious health problems such as heart disease.
Get Help Now
Meth addiction does not have to destroy your life or your relationships. It is a disease, and people with this disease deserve compassionate treatment. WebMD Connect to Care counselors are standing by and ready to help you. Reach out today to get started on the path to a better life!