Methamphetamine, commonly referred to on the street as crystal meth, is a physically and psychologically addictive central nervous system stimulant. It has many dangerous and potentially fatal short-term and long-term effects, as well as the possibility of irreversible damage. It is important to be aware of the dangers of meth abuse, as many abusers are oblivious to the harmful effects.
Short Term Dangers of Meth Abuse
Upon smoking or injecting meth, the user feels an intense rush, followed by euphoria. Snorting crystal meth creates the euphoria, but not the rush. Upon using meth, users may experience an extreme sense of power, insomnia, decreased appetite, and delusional thought processes. The psychological effects of meth have been known to lead users to act irrationally, often in the form of violence towards oneself or others. Physically, meth abuse severely deteriorates the body. Lack of sleep and inhibition of hunger cause the user to become very unhealthy.
Long Term Dangers
Prolonged meth abuse can cause even more serious effects. Chronic meth abuse often causes meth psychosis, colloquially known as “tweaking.” The effects of meth psychosis may resemble those of Alzheimer’s, with loss of memory, loss of time perception, and dementia-like confusion. One also usually experiences uncontrollable violence, extreme anxiety, and even worse health. Auditory hallucinations and rapid mood disturbances often cause the user to isolate. Meth use negatively affects one’s mouth, possibly leading to tooth decay, or “meth mouth.”
Withdrawal Effects of Methamphetamine
As threatening as meth use is, the body’s reaction to its removal are just as dangerous. Upon stopping meth abuse, users may experience extreme agitation, fear, cravings to use, nausea, and shaking or tremors. A medical detox is vital to helping a meth user successfully detox their body.
Lasting Dangers of Meth Abuse
Even after quitting meth, effects may be noticed for a long time after use. Psychosis may be irreparable. Meth abuse has been shown to significantly increase the risk of Parkinson’s among chronic users as well. Memory loss, short attention span, and decreased motor function may follow a former meth addict for their whole life.