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11 Meth Addiction Side Effects and Health Risks

11 Meth Addiction Side Effects and Health Risks

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Methamphetamine is a powerful stimulant drug commonly referred to as meth. It is used by roughly 4% of the population of the U.S., with recent reports showing meth using rising in areas around the country.

  • 2012- 440,000 people reported using meth
  • 2014- 569,000 people reported using meth

That is a 29% increase in just two years!

  • 2014- 3,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth
  • 2015- 4,900 overdose deaths were caused by meth
  • 2016- 7,700 overdose deaths were caused by meth

Recent statistics indicate that meth is one of the most commonly used drugs in America. This illicit chemical substance is a Schedule II drug, with an elevated potential for:

  • Abuse
  • Dependency
  • Addiction
  • Long-term health issues

Using this drug is not only illegal but extremely dangerous for both mental health and physical health. Meth addiction can lead to some very serious organ problems, and can even be fatal. The risks associated with meth addiction only get worse the longer that someone uses it. More damage is done to the organs and the risks of developing other health issues continued to increase.

Meth is a highly addictive drug, and meth addiction can be very difficult to overcome without safe medical detox, professional treatment, and continued support. Due to the risks of meth use, one should not wait to get help. But how do you know someone has a meth addiction?

Here are 11 signs and side effects of meth addiction to watch out for.

  1. Meth Mouth

Xerostomia, commonly known as dry mouth, is a well-known side-effect of meth addiction. The mouths own saliva contains antibacterial properties that naturally help to maintain oral hygiene. When someone has a chronic dry mouth, less saliva is produced, causing more exposure to bacteria. “Meth mouth” is when dry mouth from meth use causes thing like:

  • Inflammation
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth loss

Regular issues with oral hygiene such as these may be an indication of frequent meth use.

  1. Hallucinations

A common side effect of long-term meth addiction is experiencing hallucinations. This may not mean they are currently under the influence of the drug. Hallucinations are not only visual either. Some people who hallucinate due to meth use experience:

  • Disturbing images or people who aren’t there
  • Hear phantom sounds and voices
  • Smell odors
  • Fell phantom sensations

Sometimes the hallucinated sensations can lead to other side effects.

  1. Open Sores

A side effect of meth use is severe itching, which can cause intense scratching that creates huge, red, open sores on the skin. The sores can happen even after the first use. Typically they show up on:

  • Face
  • Arms
  • Chest

This is because the chemicals used to make meth can dry out the skin. But the itching and scratching fits can also be caused by hallucinations created by the chemicals in the drug. Some users will think there are bugs on, or even beneath their skin.

  1. Violent Outburst

Meth addiction is frequently connected to aggressive behavior and even bursts of violence. Studies conducted among meth users have determined that:

  • 56% of meth uses admit the drug causes them to commit violence
  • 59% reported specific violent criminal behaviors, such as robbery and homicide

This powerful stimulant can exaggerate aggression. If you or a loved one exhibits uncharacteristically violent outbursts, it may be a sign of serious meth addiction.

  1. Insomnia

A signature side effect of most stimulants is that they prominently influence the central nervous system, giving an individual an energy boost. Due to the heightened sense of alertness, meth addiction often causes sleep disturbances and insomnia.

Many meth users report to staying awake for several days or even weeks at a time. Eventually, they may experience an intense crash for two or three days between extended periods of intense stimulation.

  1. Nervous/Anxious

As meth continues acting on the central nervous system, the stimulant typically makes someone feel more nervous or anxious on a constant basis.

  • Evidence shows roughly 75% of meth users have experience anxiety disorders

Anxiety is one of the most commonly reported psychiatric symptoms of people addicted to meth.

  1. Paranoia

Along with the effects of the stimulant on energy levels, meth also influences the part of the brain that controls rational thinking and emotional responses. Once this chemical acts on the brain, it can create an imbalance that causes paranoid thoughts to creep in. Other side-effects of meth can actually make it worse, including:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Increased Aggression
  • Anxiety

These various factors can contribute to a growing sense of paranoia, which could be an indication of severe meth use.

  1. Depression

Because of the effects of using meth on the brain, the stimulant also causes emotional imbalance. Some studies show:

  • 48% of meth users struggle with depression

The imbalance in brain chemicals for altering and controlling a person’s mood can lead to other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder.

  1. Weakened Immune System

The use of meth has been connected to higher rates of inflammation and cell damage. These side effects cause many meth users to have weakened immune systems. This decreased immunity makes meth addicts more vulnerable to illnesses and diseases. Meth users suffer high rates and are at higher risk of illnesses like:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Staph infection/MRSA
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancer

These are a few examples of why someone recovering some meth should seek professional medical treatment.

  1. Brain Damage

As mentioned, the potential damage caused by meth only gets worse the longer it is used. Extended meth addiction can damage blood vessels in the brain can cause fatal side effects, including:

  • Stoke
  • Heart attack

Data has also shown meth can decrease gray matter in the brain, which increased the risk of memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Organ Failure

Methamphetamine is commonly cut with various chemicals that are very toxic to the body. These toxins put vital organs through a lot of stress, which can lead to organ failure. A very dire sign of meth addiction is organ failure, especially regarding:

  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Lungs
  • Brain
  • Heart

Too much meth containing toxins that cannot be properly filtered or processed can cause organs to permanently shut down or cease to function, which can ultimately lead to death.

Meth Addiction Treatment

All the damage caused by meth and the chemicals combined with it should not be underestimated. This is why it is purposely suggested that those trying to recover from meth should seek out a safe medical detox in order to properly diagnose and treat related issues, and avoid further health complications. Look for a professional and personalized program that is right for you.

Beyond the physical harm, comprehensive addiction treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and other holistic and innovative treatment options. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, do not wait. Please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Your Face on Drugs: Meth

Your Face on Meth

You might be familiar with terms such as “meth mouth” and “meth mites,” referring to the physical appearance of meth users. And it’s no wonder these terms are thrown around in pop culture and daily language. It’s not just an urban legend; meth has a profound and disfiguring effect on meth addicts’ faces and bodies.

Faces Of Meth: Extreme Weight Loss

Crystal meth is an amphetamine, a type of drug that increases brain activity related to the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Among other things, this causes a loss of appetite. Over time, as meth use increases, the user becomes malnourished from disinterest in food and eating and displays significant weight loss. The faces of meth users are easily recognized by their sunken in cheeks and hollow-looking eyes.

Faces Of Meth: Decaying and Cracked Teeth

Rotting and decayed teeth are another common aspect to the faces of meth users. There are a few different reasons for this. First, as mentioned above, nutrition is a thing of the past for meth addicts and as a result, their hygiene, namely their teeth suffer. Meth users often neglect self-care tasks such as brushing their teeth. Also, meth has the tendency to cause users to clench and grind their teeth. This can cause cracked and chipped teeth, which not only looks bad, but leaves their teeth and gums susceptible to bacteria and infection. Combine that with lack of brushing and you have….meth mouth.

Faces Of Meth: Hair Loss

Again, from poor nutrition, meth addicts have noticeably brittle and thinning hair. Without the much-needed nutrients to sustain healthy hair, meth abusers are left with an already sickly visage, are commonly seen to have sunken faces framed by dull and thin hair.

Faces Of Meth: Obsessive Plucking and Picking

Abusing meth can lead to delusions, psychosis, and paranoia. A common delusion to meth addicts is what is called “meth mites” – imaginary bugs under their skin which cause them to use tweezers and other sharp objects to pluck, pick, and scratch at their skin, including their face and eyebrows, to the point that they pluck out all of their eyebrow hair and even chunks of their own skin. The faces of meth addicts are typically covered in gaping sores and unsightly scars from the constant picking.

Faces Of Meth: Sickly Skin

Meth is a toxin and, just like with other toxins, the body rids itself of it by way of the pores. This causes severe acne and an overall diseased-look. Meth also slows down the body’s ability to heal and repair itself so acne, sores, and skin infections take longer to heal. Combine this with the obsessive plucking and you have a ghastly complexion.

The Phenomenon of Meth Face

Crystal meth causes the blood vessels to constrict, cutting off the steady flow of oxygen-rich blood to all parts of the body, including the skin. Therefore, heavy meth use can weaken and destroy these blood vessels, causing your tissue to become easily damaged and inhibiting your body’s ability to repair itself.

So, when you take meth, it is basically like you are slowly killing your own flesh; it isn’t getting the oxygen rich blood it needs, which in turn leaves you looking like a walking zombie.

If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for meth addiction, please give us a call at 800-951-6135.

 

Sources:

http://www.methproject.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/

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