Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug that can cause devastating health consequences. Short-term effects of methamphetamine are dangerous, but the long-term consequences of methamphetamine are extremely serious and terrifying. Most people are familiar with seeing the “before and after” photographs of people addicted to methamphetamine, but the internal health problems that arise from the addiction, although not as obvious, are just as damaging. Methamphetamine greatly increases the amount of dopamine, a pleasure producing chemical, in one’s brain. Overtime, the increased amounts of dopamine create major changes to the brain. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “continued methamphetamine use causes changes in the brain’s dopamine system that are associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning. In studies of people who used methamphetamine over the long term, severe changes also affected areas of the brain involved with emotion and memory. This may explain many of the emotional and cognitive problems observed in those who use methamphetamine.” Additional symptoms of long-term methamphetamine use include, but are not limited to, extreme weight loss, severe dental problem, anxiety, confusion, sleeping problems, violent behaviors, intense itching and sores, paranoia, hallucinations, and, in some cases, psychosis. There is also a greatly increased risk of contracting infectious diseases and viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C if one is injecting methamphetamine. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World explains, “In the long term, meth use can cause irreversible harm: increased heart rate and blood pressure; damaged blood vessels in the brain that can cause strokes or an irregular heartbeat that can, in turn, cause cardiovascular2 collapse or death; and liver, kidney and lung damage. Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.” One of the most severe long-term health consequences is the possibility of psychosis. Dr. Richard N. Fogoros, in a 2018 Verywell Mind article entitled What are the Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse, explains, “Meth abuse can also produce a variety of psychotic features that can include paranoia, visual and auditory hallucinations, and delusions. Some chronic methamphetamine abusers report the sensation of insects creeping under the skin. Unfortunately, some of these psychotic symptoms can persist for months or years after the abuser quits using meth. Reoccurrence of these symptoms can be triggered by stress long after the person has stopped using.” While some symptoms may be reversible will abstinence, others are not and methamphetamine users have a greater risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, making it imperative to seek help for methamphetamine addiction as quickly as possible.
Your story doesn’t have to be one of diminished health as a result of addiction. You can make the courageous decision to seek help now and begin building a brighter future. Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center located in the heart of beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with caring and compassionate professionals dedicated to addressing and treating all aspects of addiction. For information about individualized treatment options, please call today: (877) 279-1777