Long Term Effects of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine is often said to be the most rapidly addictive of all illicit substances currently circulating the underground drug market. “One hit and you’re finished”, many a meth addict has claimed. Thus, one of the most blatantly obvious and serious negative consequences of frequent use is addiction. Physical and mental dependency almost instantaneously occurs with first-time use, and tolerance tends to develop rapidly. This means that greater quantities of the substance are required each time an addict uses meth in order to produce the same euphoric feeling that was achieved initially. If the addict does not use the substance after prolonged use, they will experience withdrawal. Symptoms of meth withdrawal usually include depression, anxiety, confusion, changes in mood, insomnia, and violent behavior. Many addicts will continue using simply to avoid withdrawal, despite the fact that they are no longer experiencing any sense of euphoria upon use.

Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

Long-term effects of meth abuse include many psychotic features, such as paranoia, delusions, and intense hallucinations. Significant changes in the brain cause many of these psychological symptoms to persist for months or years after an addict discontinues use. While neurobiological effects of methamphetamine abuse can be permanently damaging, some consequences are at least partially reversible. Meth abuse has negative effects on non-neural brain cells called microglia – cells that support brain health by protecting the brain against infectious agents as well as eliminating damaged neurons. However, too much activity surrounding the microglial cells is likely to damage healthy neurons, causing lasting and severe brain damage.

Aside from serious brain damage and persisting deficits in thinking and motor skills, long-term methamphetamine abuse is likely to result in serious physical damage. Physical effects include weight loss, skin sores, and severe tooth decay and dental problems. What is frequently referred to as “meth mouth” is caused by a lack of dental hygiene as well as the fact that addicts typically grind their teeth while under the influence. Skin sores result from picking and scratching at the skin – typically related to delusions and tactile hallucinations. Overall, methamphetamine use is extremely dangerous and often permanently injurious. If you or someone you love has been using meth, it is crucial you seek professional help immediately. Feel free to call one of our licensed representatives, who would be more than happy to assist you with any and all questions you may have.

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