Methamphetamines are one of the most potent, highly addictive man-made stimulants being abused. Meth’s common street terms such as crystal meth, rock, glass, shards and ice are descriptive of its physical characteristics. Meth looks like small transparent shards like broken glass. The substance can be injected, smoked, snorted and by suppository. Depending on the route of administration a variety of health complications and psychological damages can result in long-term effects of crystal meth use. The most detrimental long-term effect of meth use is meth addiction, a progressive and powerful disease.
Long-Term Effects of Meth on the Brain
Meth effects on the brain cause a rapid release of dopamine, a stimulating chemical. This release enhances pleasure and brain activity. The synthetic production of the chemical inhibits the natural production of serotonin and dopamine, once sustaining from meth use the body has to repair itself in order to produce the natural occurring chemicals.
- Immediate effects of methamphetamine
- Restlessness, insomnia, intense energy
- Decreased appetite
- Confusion, paranoia, delusions
- Aggressiveness, irritability
The long-term effects of Meth on the brain can damage the Central Nervous System. Regeneration of the nerve cells can be irreversible. The psychological damages can be detrimental as well. Delusions and paranoia can become an obsession of a meth addict, the beliefs they inherit can progress to erratic, aggressive and impulsive behaviors. A meth user often abandons reasoning and logic under the influence. Often paranoia can carry a long-term effect on the brain from meth.
Other Long-Term Effects of Crystal Meth Use
The health conditions that result from long-term crystal meth use can vary by administration. Crystal Meth has common and often apparent physical effects and symptoms. After effects of long term meth use can result in:
Weight Loss: Rapid weight loss is common and very apparent. A meth addiction can cause a user to drop anywhere from 10-100 lbs rapidly depending on the amount of using. Severe dehydration and malnutrition can weaken the immune system. Additionally the user can become extremely vulnerable to health conditions, diseases and infections.
Tooth Decay: Also known as “Meth Mouth” Because meth is manufactured with harsh and hazardous chemicals, when meth is smoked the damage to the teeth and gums can be alarming. Teeth begin to turn gray, then black and deteriorate. Gum disease is common. Blood vessels constrict and the gums lack healthy circulation, and can deteriorate.
Infection: From injection, a meth addict can cause infections from repeated and unsanitary needle use. Many meth addicts can become delusional scratching and picking at the skin for imaginary bugs is common, this can cause infections that may progress to blood borne illnesses.
After effects of long term meth use make recovery an extensive journey. Some meth addicts whose heavy and prolonged using has progressed to severe psychosis with irreversible damage. In many cases, even with long periods of abstinence, normally functioning in society may be impossible. However the mind and the body can withstand some extreme measure and still regenerate and recover. Treatment for Methamphetamine addiction can stop the damage, pain, and suffering, and start the mind and body healing process. Recovery options are an expanding resource offering detox clinics, methamphetamine treatment, therapy and other support resources.