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Meth Side Effects

meth side effects

Your teen has recently lost significant weight. There are moments when you see them where they have a ton of energy and seem more attentive, and then there are other moments where they seem depressed and anxious. You notice they spend time with friends you have never met, and they always seem to be scratching themselves to the point where sores begin forming on their skin. You decide to stop your teen one day and wonder what has happened. Their eyes quickly dart to the door before giving up and allowing guilt to wash over them as they admit they have been using meth for about a year. They continue to explain that it seemed like a fun thing to do at first, but now they feel like they might need help. 

50,000 people used methamphetamine in Kentucky in 2021. Using the substance, whether it’s once or fifty times, can result in the presence of side effects varying from symptoms of euphoria and increased attention to tooth decay or organ damage. While some side effects are only possible with long-term repeated use, single uses can also result in the presence of meth side effects.

At SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky, we solve unmet needs in our community. One way we do this is by offering treatment for teens, allowing them to get the proper help they need for their age range. Many people can experience meth side effects when they use the substance, and today we are going to discuss some of them. 

physical impact of meth use

Meth Use Side Effects Over Time

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that people may use due to some side effects they might feel benefit them. Any time someone uses the substance, there is a chance they will experience some side effects. These side effects are often short-term, only lasting a few hours at a time. However, repeated, long-term use can also result in long-term side effects ranging in severity. People with a meth use disorder may experience both short-term and long-term effects throughout their use of the substance. In rare cases, the long-term effects may last beyond recovery, but most of the time, recovery can at least prevent these effects from advancing.

Meth Use: Short-Term Side Effects

Several short-term side effects of methamphetamine are possible when someone uses the substance. Anyone can experience these side effects from one use of the substance. These effects typically present themselves in two categories: positive ones that encourage you to continue to use the substance and more dangerous or adverse side effects. Some of the more “positive” side effects someone might experience when they use cocaine once or twice may include:

  • Increased attention
  • Euphoria
  • Decreased fatigue and wakefulness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased physical activity

However, there are more adverse side effects that you should be aware of if you are using meth, even in the short term. For example, some people may experience irregular or rapid heartbeat, while others may experience increased respiration. It is also possible that people might experience elevated body temperature and convulsions, which could indicate a meth overdose. If you come across someone who is experiencing an overdose, call 911 as soon as possible. An overdose resulting from meth is a medical emergency, and getting help can save their life. 

Meth Use: Long-Term Side Effects

Over time, people who repeatedly use methamphetamine may develop a meth use disorder. This disorder is often categorized by constantly thinking about meth and when you are going to use it again. It may impact your relationships, previous interests, previous hobbies, or even your work life. You may even find that you have built up a tolerance to the substance, and you feel your body needs more of it to allow you to experience the same level of pleasure you had experienced before. If you are unable to use meth for some time or unable to use your average dose, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms of withdrawal may include intense cravings, depression, fatigue, and anxiety. 

People with long-term methamphetamine use may have other side effects, such as anxiety, confusion, and insomnia. Others may experience paranoia, hallucinations, or delusions. These side effects may last longer than methamphetamine being in one’s system, though with adequate treatment, recovery from these symptoms can be possible. The substance can also impair areas of the brain responsible for decision-making and habitual behaviors. 

There can also be physical long-term side effects someone might experience if they use methamphetamine. Some people might experience severe weight loss or skin sores, while others may have tooth decay and eventually tooth loss. Someone might experience organ damage due to using their substance for several years. 

Meth’s Impact on the Mind and Body

Methamphetamine can have a significant impact on one’s mind and body. It comes with multiple symptoms and side effects, some of which can be very dangerous. How it impacts the mind and body can range from symptoms of shortness of breath, anxiety, hallucinations, strokes, and HIV. While not everyone will experience all of these symptoms, and many will not, these are all possible symptoms someone might experience following the use of meth. 

Meth Use: Behavioral Signs

Meth can lead to some people having behavioral changes. For example, some people might be more focused on getting and using the substance than on hobbies they enjoy or friendships and relationships they used to be engaged in. They may also have increased restlessness, or their behavior may have become impulsive or unpredictable.

 While not always the case, methamphetamine use may lead to signs of aggression. Your loved one might seem anxious or suspicious of others, which could lead them to have delusions. Someone who is using meth regularly may not have slept for days. As the effects of meth wear off, they might become exhausted due to the lack of sleep catching up with them. Long-term methamphetamine use can also result in increased irritability or depression.

Meth Use: Physical Signs

If you are concerned that your loved one has been using meth, there are some physical symptoms that they may experience. It is important to remember that not everyone will have all of these signs if they are using meth, and it is also possible that some of these signs could indicate other possibilities. However, some of the signs of meth use might include:

  • Quick eye movements
  • Increased sweating
  • High body temperature
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Decreased appetite
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Tremors
  • Sores on skin
  • Frequent scratching
  • Rapid speech

Seeing these signs in a loved one does not mean they are using meth. If you are concerned, the best thing you can do is approach them with openness and a willingness to understand what they are going through. Address your concerns, but understand they might not be receptive right away. If they do have a meth use disorder, offer your emotional support by suggesting places they can go to receive help. 

Meth Use: Psychological Indications

There can also be psychological indications that someone might be using meth. These might include anxiety or depression but may also include delusions or hallucinations. People may also experience concerns with their memory or other cognitive functions. While in the short term, meth may seem to improve these areas, long-term use may result in a decrease in these functions.

long term effects of methamphetamine

Find Treatment for a Meth Use Disorder in Erlanger, KY

Does it ever feel like your meth use is consuming your life? Perhaps you’ve looked around and don’t recognize the scene you see before you. Maybe you’ve been using meth for several years, and now you feel lost on the journey of your life. 

You might feel turned around, uncertain which direction will lead you to the life you imagined for yourself. Perhaps methamphetamine is pulling you in one direction, but a part of you feels like you don’t want to follow anymore, even though it is challenging to resist. However, by seeking meth addiction treatment, you can receive the compass that will guide you toward the path that leads to recovery. You will experience the tools and support system that make the path to recovery more accessible and comfortable.

SUN Behavioral Health Kentucky solves unmet needs in the Erlanger, KY community. One way we do this is by treating co-occurring disorders, such as meth use disorder and depression. If you have any questions or concerns or are ready to start meth use disorder treatment, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 859-429-5188 today. 


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