Meth Addiction Information

Meth addicted woman

Methamphetamine, is a powerful, highly addictive central nervous stimulant. Its use directly affects the brain, nervous system, heart, lungs, and other vital organs and internal functions. Meth appears as a white, odorless, bitter-tasting powder or crystalline substance that can be injected, snorted, or smoked. The resulting effect is powerfully addictive and can induce intense cravings after a single use.

What Are the Consequences and Effects of Meth Addiction?

Addiction to crystal meth can have devastating consequences across all areas of one’s life. Meth use destroys physical health, mental health, relationships, work-life, financial condition, and legal status.

  • Effects on the body – Meth use causes an increase in talkativeness, decreased appetite, increased energy, and a compelling sense of euphoria. Meth also has lasting effects on the brain and central nervous system. Meth reduces the production of saliva thus allowing the teeth and gums to deteriorate. Meth use is harmful to the skin and hair, a condition exacerbated by meth users’ constant scratching at the skin and pulling at the hair.
  • Effects on the mind – Meth’s effects on the mind are particularly concerning. Meth use impairs judgment considerably. In fact, research has found that methamphetamine alters brain structure and weakens the individual’s ability to suppress habitual behaviors. Meth use also impairs decision-making and rational thought.

The above effects, combined with the emotional and physical sensation one gets when they use meth, are part of why the drug is so addictive. It is a vicious, one-two punch. The individual experiences highly euphoric effects from the drug, making them want more. On top of that, they also experience a reduction in judgment, rationality, and sensible decision-making, which causes them to ignore the almost immediate negative side-effects of meth use. The result is a drug addiction that is very difficult to break free from.

Effects of Meth on Relationships

Neglected child

Because meth is so addictive, the effects of one’s meth use on his or her relationships will be considerable. A meth addict will virtually always prioritize getting and using meth over tending to the needs of family members and loved ones. That makes for abandoned children, neglected spouses, and ignored loved ones.

Effects of Meth on Employment

Because it is virtually impossible to conceal a meth addiction for very long, and because meth is illegal for recreational use in all 50 states, a meth addiction almost always results in joblessness.

Effects of Meth on Legal Status

Person in a jail

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, methamphetamine offenders now account for 24 percent of all drug-related offenders incarcerated in federal prisons. As mentioned earlier, meth use is illegal, it’s not easy to hide such a habit, so it is not long before many meth users find themselves in legal trouble.

Short-Term and Long-Term Damage Wrought by Meth Addiction

In the short-term, meth use can cause confusion, insomnia, mood changes, anxiety, aggression, and even violent behavior. Meth users may also experience psychotic behavior, such as extreme paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions. What’s particularly concerning about such symptoms is that they can go on for months or even years after one has stopped using meth.

In the long-term, meth addiction can have devastating, even permanent consequences. Most notably, repeated meth use can cause functional and molecular changes within the brain, changes that one might never recover from. That’s why it is so crucial that those who are addicted to meth get help for their habits as soon as possible.

Signs and Indicators of Meth Addiction – Knowing What to Look For

Meth user is piking skin

Meth use destroys tissues and blood vessels. That inhibits the body’s ability to repair itself. Meth users will often have open sores on their skin that never seem to heal. Their teeth and gums will likely be severely damaged. They may have an uncontrollable twitch.

Acne, sores, taught skin, poor diet, teeth-grinding, poor oral hygiene, sleeplessness, a reduction in personal grooming habits, body order, often combine to make meth users look much older than they are.

Other signs of meth use include:

  • Disorganized lifestyle
  • Meth pipes
  • Burnt spoons
  • Aluminum foil
  • Missing lightbulbs around the house (meth users sometimes smoke meth out of lightbulbs)

Other physical signs can include convulsions, increased heart rate, lowered resistance to illness, extreme rise in body temperature, contraction of illnesses, infections and diseases.

Meth use rapidly and severely harms the lives of those who participate in such use. From the first instance of use, meth causes destruction to both physical and mental health, and ongoing usage can cause permanent damage. That’s why it is critical to:

  • Discover if meth use is present.
  • Get the person who is using meth into treatment as soon as possible, before further harm is done.