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What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?

A young adult struggling with meth addiction sits alone in the dark.
Methamphetamine was developed from its parent drug, amphetamine, in the 20th century. Its initial use was to relieve nasal congestions and bronchitis. It may also be used as a treatment option for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methamphetamine is also classified as a highly addictive drug. It is now acquired illegally as a stimulant and has adverse effects on the nervous system. 
A continuous intake of methamphetamine causes addiction. According to studies, there is an increase in abuse of this drug in the United States. Methamphetamine abuse causes significant health complications that might be long-lasting. The drug intake can be through- smoking, injections, or orally. There are short-term and long-term side effects associated with methamphetamine abuse.

Short-term Side Effects

  • Weight Loss: Methamphetamine can also be used as a weight-loss treatment option. However, this prescription is rarely given by a health provider. By overusing, it can cause extreme weight loss, which is unhealthy. The drug reduces the need to eat. Therefore, abusers might go for a long while without a proper meal. It, in the end, causes a drastic loss of weight.
  • Hyperactivity: When methamphetamine is overused, the abuser feels a sense of more energy. It, hence, causes them to do more activities than the body can handle. It, in turn, causes the body to break down.
  • Heart Problems: When the potent drug is taken for a long time, it might cause irreparable damages to the heart. The heart problems that abusers get as a result of methamphetamine include heart failure and an irregular heartbeat. Records state that a lot of people abusing this drug seek treatment because of heart-related issues.
  • Attack of Gums and Teeth: This highly addictive drug causes intense teeth and mouth problems. Due to this, the abuser might experience gum diseases and tooth decay. The damage to the teeth and gums is severe as it can be impossible to stop the cracks. Therefore, this can lead to massive teeth removal.

Long-term Side Effects

After using methamphetamine for a while, the pleasure aspect reduces. It, hence, causes the abusers to take more drugs to achieve the same feeling they had before. This causes intense side effects that can last a long time. Here are long-term side effects as a result of methamphetamine abuse.

  • Addiction: Once an abuser is used to methamphetamine, it is difficult for them to withdraw from it. Even when they know the side effects caused by the drug, they cannot stop using it.
  • Mental Disorders: Depression is one of the most prevalent mental issues that methamphetamine abusers have. It results from the reduction of dopamine levels in the brain, which causes their sense of pleasure to go down. The abusers, therefore, cannot experience joy.
  • Kidney Damage: When individuals indulge in methamphetamine too much, they tend to forget their body needs for survival, such as food and water. When the body does not have enough water, it will decrease the blood flow, which causes low blood circulation to the kidney. The drug is known to cause muscle breakdown, which causes the release of toxic substances to the kidney. When this organ is not performing its function, the operation of the whole body is affected.
  • Lung Failure: This primarily affects individuals who take methamphetamine through smoking. Since the lungs are affected, the drug abuser might experience pulmonary edema. This causes them to have difficulty in breathing and produce a wheezing sound. When there is a lack of enough oxygen in the body, the result can be death. Abusing methamphetamine can also cause bleeding in the pulmonary vessels, and an individual can get other respiratory diseases.
  • Financial and Legal Problems: Once an individual is used to methamphetamine, they cannot retain excellent financial health. This might, therefore, cause them to use a lot of money in purchasing the drug. Due to some side effects explained, such as addiction, it might be challenging to maintain a job or perform it adequately. As a result, an abuser might lose their source of income and experience a hard time getting another.

Since it is necessary to have money to purchase the addictive drug, an individual might indulge in unlawful activities. The use of methamphetamine is illegal. Hence, when caught with them, the abusers can be charged and end up in jail.

Methamphetamine abuse has a massive impact on how an abuser leads their life. Since the side effects affect the health and physical aspect, it is impossible to make significant strides. However, by seeking the appropriate medication and going to inpatient rehabilitation, getting off the toxic drug is possible. It is important to note that some side effects as a result of the drug are irreversible.


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