Methamphetamine is a particularly dangerous drug. Also called “meth,” “speed,” and “crystal meth,” it’s known to be incredibly addictive and to cause health problems. So what are the dangers of meth, and what should you do about it?
One Dose Can Kill
Most addictive drugs are dangerous cumulatively. The more you take, the higher the risk. However, even one dose of meth can kill a perfectly healthy individual. Meth is a powerful stimulant, and can result in spikes in body temperature (causing hyperthermia), spasms in the arterial walls (causing heart attacks or strokes). While it’s relatively rare, it absolutely does happen.
Meth Causes Long-Term Damage To Your Body
Methamphetamine use can cause long-term and even permanent damage to multiple parts of your body, specifically:
- Your brain. Meth use damages the dopamine receptors in your brain, which means you are unable to feel normal pleasure and may become psychotic or paranoid. It also results in cognitive impairment. Some, but not all of these changes can be reversed once you go off the drug.
- Your heart. Evidence shows that meth users are more likely to develop cardiac disease and develop it at a younger age. It affects your heart’s muscles, your blood vessels, and also raises your blood pressure.
- Your immune system. Meth use leaves you more vulnerable to disease, including COVID-19. It can aggravate long-term health issues such as HIV. (And if you are injecting it, you are more likely to catch HIV or Hepatitis).
- Your kidneys. The toxins in meth put a lot of load on your kidneys and this can lead to damage.
- Your teeth. “Meth mouth” is a thing. Meth use causes rapid tooth decay and gum disease, and this can result in jaw pain, headaches, and trouble eating. Some people end up needing surgery.
- Your skin. Meth use leads to intense and extreme itching, which can then result in sores and skin damage.
Meth Can Affect Your Sex Drive
The first few times you try meth, it can increase your libido. Long-term use, though, decreases it and can lead to erectile dysfunction and other sexual dysfunctions.
However, it also lowers your inhibitions and makes you more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior. This increases your risk of HIV and other STDs…and also your risk of ending up in a compromising situation. This is particularly the case if you combine meth and alcohol.
If you get pregnant while using meth, your baby can be born addicted, which often results in premature birth, low birth weight and behavioral problems. Meth can also be passed through breast milk.
It is Ridiculously Addictive
Meth is one of the most addictive drugs there is. People often become addicted after trying it only once or twice. The withdrawal symptoms are also particularly bad, and include:
- Fatigue, including hypersomnia, where people sleep for an unusually large amount of time.
- Vivid dreams.
- Psychosis and hallucinations.
- Very strong cravings.
- Increased appetite.
Part of what makes meth so addictive is that it creates an intense high, which is followed by an equally intense crash. Also, you develop tolerance over time and need more of it to create the same effect. Users are just trying desperately to regain that high. This means that meth rehab and detox requires a lot of supervision to keep the person from harming themselves and others.
It’s Dangerous to Produce
“Cooking” meth involves using some extremely hazardous chemicals. Meth lab explosions and fires can create issues for the surrounding area. Exposure to these chemicals can cause dizziness, nausea, disorientation, lack of coordination and worse, pulmonary edema and chemical burns.
Because of this, meth production is as dangerous as meth use, and using meth encourages this dangerous (and environmentally unfriendly) activity.
The dangers of meth are substantial. If you are trying to kick a meth habit or if you are concerned that a loved one may have a substance abuse problem, call First Steps Recovery in Fresno, California at 844-489-0836 to find out how we can help you with addiction treatment and recovery,