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5 Long-Term Effects of a Meth Addiction

man sitting with head in hands considers the long-term effects of meth

Methamphetamines, or meth, is among the most damaging and addictive classes of drugs available legally and illegally today. Its short-term dangers far outweigh the highs it produces, and the long-term effects of meth use are nothing short of disastrous. Reach out to NuLife Behavioral Health at 888.568.2057 or via online message today if you or a loved one is struggling with meth addiction. Our compassionate team is standing by to discuss meth addiction treatment with you and make referrals if needed.

What Are Five Long-Term Negative Effects of Using Meth?

The short-term effects of using meth are serious in their own right. Those who use may experience insomnia for periods of up to 15 days during heavy usage, for instance. They may also have convulsions, mood swings, paranoia, dangerously suppressed appetite, irregular heart rate and high blood pressure, and even homicidal or suicidal ideation.

In the long-term, even more serious consequences can occur. Side effects of ongoing meth addiction include:

  1. Brain damage: Meth is toxic to the brain and central nervous system. When it’s used habitually, it compromises the natural dopamine circuit, kills brain cells, and increases the risk of stroke, coma, and death.
  2. “Meth mouth”: This well-known symptom involves extreme tooth decay and gum disease. Those who use meth may neglect dental hygiene completely while binging, grind their teeth to the point that they crack, and crave sugary carbonated drinks that cause further decay.
  3. Heightened risk of Parkinson’s Disease: Meth compromises the brain’s substantia nigra area, which raises the risk of developing Parkinson’s, especially among women who use. Early in Parkinson’s development, rigidity and other movement difficulties are common. As the disease progresses, cognitive and behavioral problems can also occur, including sleep and emotional disturbance and dementia.
  4. Heart damage: In the short term, meth causes irregular and elevated heartbeat, and long term it can produce irreversible damage. Meth usage is linked to narrowed blood vessels, weakened and inflamed heart tissue, and high blood pressure. These can all contribute to cardiovascular disease and heart attacks.
  5. Impaired social functioning: Meth is profoundly addictive and severely impedes normal mental functioning. Those who use may thus find their whole lives consumed by the drug and lose touch with everything else they once valued.

How Can Meth Addiction Treatment Help?

Meth is one of the most frequently abused drugs in the United States today. Because of its high addiction potential, even originally legitimate uses such as certain ADHD medications can result in abuse. Moreover, illegal forms of the product that are mixed with other highly poisonous substances like hydrochloric acid and red phosphorus are tragically widespread.

Fortunately, there are effective treatments available for the scourge of meth addiction. Talk therapy is an essential part of recovery for many who use. This is because one-on-one counseling can get at the heart of why the abuse started in the first place and teach much-needed skills for reframing negative mental constructs that underlie drug use.

Peer support groups like 12-step programs can also be transformative for people recovering from meth addiction since they foster a healthy social sphere. This is important since those who use often become very limited in their contacts, interacting only with others addicted to or selling meth. Building a healthy support network provides accountability, compassionate mutual support, and a new social circle separate from drug use.

Finally, medically monitored detox may be necessary for some in recovery. This typically occurs within a residential program, which provides the highest level of supervision and medical care. Meth addiction is a disease that exists at all levels of an individual’s life, mental, emotional, and physical. Sometimes a global intervention like an inpatient program is essential when tackling this addiction as a whole.

Reach Out to NuLife Recovery Massachusetts for More on Meth Addiction Treatment Today

Call 888.568.2057 or fill out our confidential online form to speak to a team member at NuLife Behavioral Health today. We offer programs in Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey and are looking forward to helping you find the best resources possible for meth addiction recovery. While this journey can feel overwhelming, better health truly is possible, and support exists every step of the way.