side effects of meth

The Short and Long-Term Side Effects of Meth

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Meth is a highly addictive drug. Consequently, using it even just a few times can lead to a full-blown substance use disorder. Once the side effects of meth start, a person will need professional help getting off the drug. Trying to detox alone usually does not work. Additionally, a person puts themselves at risk when not using medical treatment for addiction. If you or someone you love has become addicted to meth, it’s time to take action. Full-blown recovery can happen for anyone.  

What Is Meth Addiction?

Methamphetamines, often called meth, are synthetic stimulant drugs. Some stimulants are prescribed to treat conditions like ADHD. However, many people turn to homemade stimulants like meth. They may be looking for a cheap alternative to prescription drugs. Conversely, they may be using meth solely as a recreational drug. 

Over a million people in the U.S. aged 12 and older said they had a methamphetamine use disorder in 2018. Crystal meth may be smoked, snorted, or injected. As previously stated, it is highly addictive. As many as 12 million people in the country have taken crystal meth or non-prescribed methamphetamines. Meth use is especially common in rural areas. In addition, more women than men become addicted to it. 

Addiction happens when a person can no longer function without using meth. By the time side effects of meth use show up, it’s usually too late for a person to quit on their own. Meth addiction causes uncomfortable and even dangerous side effects to happen. Medical supervision is needed in order to safely get off meth.

Short-Term Side Effects of Meth

Two types of side effects of meth can occur. The first kind falls under the heading of short-term effects. As a stimulant, meth provides a burst of energy and euphoria. There is usually an initial “rush” that lasts for up to 30 minutes. After that, a person often feels up to 12 hours of alertness and increased energy. This period can lead to them pushing beyond their natural limitations. Consequently, they may remain active to the point of exhaustion. 

As a result, the user often “crashes” after the effects of the drug wear off. Then, they experience severe drops in their moods. Additionally, they feel exhausted. Because of feeling quite tired, they often take more meth. This creates a destructive cycle of spiraling up and down. 

Other short-term side effects of meth abuse include:

  • Paranoia
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Feeling irritated
  • High levels of aggression
  • Insomnia

Long-Term Side Effects of Meth

When a person becomes a long-term user, even more side effects of meth abuse can set in. These include:

Loss of Appetite

Meth is a natural appetite suppressant. In fact, one of its original pharmaceutical uses was as a diet aid for severely obese patients. When taken recreationally, meth can dramatically reduce a person’s hunger levels. As a result, they often develop rapid and unhealthy weight loss. 

Heart Problems

Meth use directly impacts how the heart works. Many addicted to meth develop high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and arrhythmia over time. These effects can be life-threatening.

Dental Damage

Meth abuse causes chronic dry mouth, sometimes called “meth mouth”. As a result, decreased saliva production can cause severe tooth decay. Teeth-grinding behaviors often seen in meth users can contribute to several dental problems. For this reason, many meth users lose many or all of their teeth to decay. 

Psychological Effects

Emotional and mental effects are also common among meth users. Delusions, paranoia, and severe anxiety can all become regular problems. Periods of psychosis sometimes referred to as “tweaking” may occur when a user has developed a resistance to the drug or during withdrawal periods. This happens when long-term users build up a tolerance. They use meth but fail to get the initial rush they expect. Instead, they may experience despair, delusions, and depression. As well, they often develop an altered perception of reality. 

Last but not least, long-term meth use puts users at a higher risk of suicide. For that matter, they also are more likely to be involved in an act of homicide. Other mental side effects include memory problems and trouble concentrating. Some long-term meth users develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

Behavioral Signs of Meth Use

Side effects of meth abuse can be divided into short-term and long-term use. Having said that, many behavioral symptoms exist that can occur at any time. Signs to watch out for include:

  • Not eating enough
  • Lack of sleep
  • Isolating
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and pastimes
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Unexplained uses of money
  • Acts of violence
  • Risky behavior

Another sign to look out for involves paraphernalia. A meth user usually has at least one item they need for taking meth. This can include glass pipes, needles, baggies, spoons, aluminum foil, cut straws, and more.

What to Do if You Think Someone Is Experiencing Side Effects of Meth

If you suspect someone you love has become a meth addict, you can’t help but worry. Additionally, it can be hard to know what to do. First, talk to the person when they aren’t high. Tell them you’ve seen the side effects of meth abuse in them. Second, arm yourself with information about what kind of help they can get. Share with them that you can help them take the steps to enter treatment.

Let your loved one know that anyone can recover from meth addiction. If you need help knowing how to start that conversation, we can help. Ocean Hills Recovery has an admissions staff that can answer all of your questions. We can help you have that difficult talk. For that matter, we can talk to the person and help them see they need help. Whatever happens, remember that you can have the talk more than once. Often, a person agrees to go for help after having time to think about it. 

How Do You Treat Meth Addiction?

Fortunately, it is possible to recover from meth addiction. Subsequently, some of the effects can be reversed. First, treatment starts with detox. This process allows the person to rid themselves of the toxins built up during addiction. Second, they move into the next stage of treatment. This can involve a residential program, which requires the person to live in a facility. Alternatively, they may enter an outpatient program. This provides important addiction care while the person still lives at home. 

Every stage of meth addiction treatment helps a person in many ways. They learn what may have caused them to become addicted. From there, they can learn how to fight urges to relapse. As they move through the stages of treatment, they become stronger. Consequently, they learn how to stay sober after treatment ends. 

Treatment for Meth Addiction in Orange County

Has an addiction to meth affected your life? The side effects of meth addiction can be deadly. Because of this, professional treatment is needed. If you or someone you love needs help overcoming this dangerous disease, we can help. We offer outpatient, residential, and detox services.  Contact Ocean Hills Recovery in Orange County now and get started on healing. As a result, you can live the happy, healthy life you deserve.  

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