According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around a million people in the United States aged 12 and above may have methamphetamine use disorder, also known as meth addiction. Furthermore, meth—often known as crystal, speed, or ice—may have been used by about 1.9 million people in the past year.
Continued meth use can harm your health and mind in various ways.
Keep reading to learn more about meth and the body and get answers to your question, “how does meth affect your body?”
What Is Meth?
Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a highly addictive stimulant that affects the central nervous system.
Meth takes the form of a white, bitter-tasting, odorless crystalline powder that dissolves quickly in alcohol or water. Meth is also available as pills or chunky crystals, commonly called ice.
Ice, also called crystal meth, is especially popular among young adults and those who frequent clubs and parties.
Other popular names for meth include Christmas tree, crank, uppers, speed, chalk, and glass.
Methamphetamine is only legally obtainable through a non-refillable prescription because the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration lists it as a Schedule II stimulant.
Medically, it may be prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and as a temporary weight-loss aid. However, both applications are rare, and when they are used, the prescribed doses are far lower than what people use.
How Does Meth Affect the Body?
“How does meth affect the body?” The answer to this question is one everyone who abuses meth should know. While using meth can be all “fun” and “helpful,” the negative meth effects on the body can shorten a person’s life span.
What Does Meth Do to the Body?
Abusing meth causes the brain to release excessive amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that creates feelings of euphoria.
Methamphetamine provides a considerably stronger sense of euphoria than other drugs. It also boosts energy and activity, making people feel more alert and lively. These effects are amplified when meth is smoked or injected, as the drug enters the brain more quickly.
Meth can temporarily give you the impression that you have more energy and vigor than you actually do. However, this momentary high is followed by a severe collapse as you come off the drug.
Effects of Meth on Your Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among people who abuse meth. Meth abuse has a number of effects on the cardiovascular system.
According to the American Heart Association, people who misuse meth are at risk for the following conditions:
- Abnormally increased heart rate
- Severe heart disease
- Constricted blood vessels can cause dangerous spikes in your blood pressure
- Persistent heart attack even years after you stop
- Structural changes in your heart muscles
- A distinct kind of cardiac failure among young people who abuse meth
Effects of Meth on Your Immune System
According to research, prolonged methamphetamine use might have a negative impact on your immune system. Meth can potentially change your immune cells and alter their signaling pathways.
Meth can inhibit white blood cells that fight germs and viruses, which leads to a weakened immune system and an increased risk of infection.
Also, the body’s natural defenses against infection decrease because meth abuse causes mouth abrasions and dried-out mucous membranes.
People who abuse meth are more likely to contract infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV, especially among those who inject meth and share needles.
Effects of Meth on Your Respiratory System
Acute respiratory failure, pneumonia, and other types of lung diseases are some of the dangerous effects of meth on the body. These are often caused by constriction of blood vessels, which increases pressure on the arteries leading to the lungs.
One of the ways people abuse meth is by smoking it. Taking meth this way increases a person’s risk of developing several respiratory issues associated with smoking substances.
Effects of Meth on Your Muscles
Some of the effects of meth on your muscles include:
- Involuntary and repeated movements
- Muscle twitching
- Muscle atrophy
What Are the Signs of Meth Abuse?
Now that the question “How does meth affect the body?” has been answered, it may be beneficial to you to learn about the signs of meth abuse so that you can get help as soon as you notice these signs in your loved ones or yourself.
Some of the signs of meth abuse include:
- Meth mouth—dental issues that arise due to neglect of oral hygiene and nutrition.
- Weight loss
- Loss of appetite
- Premature aging
- Meth sores are caused by constantly picking and scratching your skin
- Paranoia and hallucinations
- Dilated pupils
- Increased heart rate
- Exaggerated mannerisms
- Irregular sleeping patterns
How to Find a Meth Treatment in Beverly Hills
Meth abuse has potentially lethal effects. To prevent causing serious damage, you need to get help at an addiction treatment center.
Total RMH is the place to go for help in Beverly Hills. Our treatment center can assist you in overcoming your meth addiction.
At our Beverly Hills medical center, we can help you target any damage done using brain optimization. We also offer nutritional counseling and NAD IV therapy to replenish key nutrients and minerals that your body may be lacking but desperately needs. Contact us right away to learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Los Angeles, CA.