What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?

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What are the Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse?

When trying this drug for the first time, the user experiences a rush of euphoria and increased energy. Clearly, there’s no wonder so many users like the side effects of methamphetamine abuse and use. However, the short-term effects are much different from the long-term side effects of methamphetamine abuse. This is a powerful and highly addictive stimulant.

What is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine (also called Meth) is an odorless, white, bitter-tasting crystalline powder. It is easily dissolved in alcohol or water. This drug was developed in the early 20th century from amphetamine. However, meth is a more potent stimulant than amphetamine because, at comparable doses, much more of the methamphetamine enters the brain. In addition, the central nervous system is also more harmfully affected by the meth.

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies methamphetamine as a Schedule II stimulant drug. It is only available with a written prescription from a physician that cannot be refilled. In fact, doctors rarely prescribe this drug today. When they do prescribe it, it is at much lower doses than what abusers use on a daily basis. For example, a physician might prescribe methamphetamine for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as a short-term use for weight loss or depression.

Short-Term Side Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

Methamphetamine is such a powerful stimulant that even a small dose can increase activity, wakefulness, and decrease a person’s appetite. The use of this drug also releases very high levels of dopamine in the reward circuit which teaches the brain to want to continue the pleasurable activity.

Some of the short-term side effects of methamphetamine abuse include:

  • Rush” and euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased attention and decreased fatigue
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia (increased body temperature)
  • Increased respiration

The “high” from methamphetamine use normally lasts from 6 to 12 hours depending on the method of use and the purity of the drug.

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

As abusers continue using methamphetamine, it takes more of the drug for them to feel the effects that they are looking for. Over time, they build up a tolerance for the drug and it takes more of it to feel the euphoria and high they want to feel. After a while, the only pleasure they feel is when they are using the meth. Clearly, this leads to further abuse and soon to addiction.

Long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse may include:

  • Changes in brain structure and function
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Mood disturbances
  • Deficits in thinking and motor skills
  • Memory loss
  • Increased distractibility
  • Severe dental problems
  • Psychosis (paranoia, repetitive motor activity, hallucinations)
  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Addiction

The dental problems caused by long-term methamphetamine abuse are referred to as “meth mouth.”  Poor hygiene and poor nutrition are the cause of these dental problems along with other factors. Also, methamphetamine abusers keep a dry mouth because of the drug and also experience teeth grinding.  In fact, these drug abusers also suffer from skin sores due to feeling like insects are crawling on or under the skin. Moreover, they often scratch and pick at the skin to get rid of these imaginary insects.

Methamphetamine Overdose

Indeed, an overdose will occur if the abuser uses too much of this toxic drug. This can happen when abusers are bingeing on methamphetamine for days at a time. Importantly, a methamphetamine overdose can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or other organ damage. Indeed, this can end up with severely dangerous consequences or even death. Above all, don’t let this happen to you or a loved one.

Contact A Forever Recovery in the United States

If you are struggling with addiction to methamphetamine (or any other substance) seek inpatient addiction treatment in a reputable addiction treatment facility. Contact A Forever Recovery to learn about detoxification and treatment programs available. Indeed, you can recover from methamphetamine addiction, or the side effects of methamphetamine abuse, and return to a sober and healthy life. Contact us today. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have.


  • drugabuse.gov – What is Methamphetamine?
  • drugabuse.gov – What Are the Immediate (short-term) Effects of Methamphetamine Misuse?
  • mouthhealthy.org – Meth Mouth

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