With lethal prescription opioids like Fentanyl ravishing America, the rise in deaths from crystal meth addiction is at risk of being overlooked.
That is despite a shocking 5000% spikein overdoses over an 8 year period in parts of the country.
To understand the scale of the problem, it’s essential that we analyze the long term effects of meth addiction on users, both physically and mentally.
Read on to learn some of the more common long term effects of meth addiction.
Devastating Physical Side Effects
From the very first use, crystal meth addicts become trapped in a vicious cycle as they chase the feeling of their first high. Each use builds their tolerance, meaning they use higher doses. As the dosage increases, so do the damaging effects on their bodies.
One of the most visible long term effects of meth is severe malnutrition which leads to flaking skin and “meth mouth“–severe tooth decay and gum disease which often leads to users teeth falling out. This common side effect is the result of long periods of inadequate oral hygiene and a dry mouth.
Other effects of meth addiction that users report include nosebleeds and agonizing shifts between numbness and pain. Severe weight loss is also common.
The reality is that when it comes to crystal meth addiction, the longer they use the substance the higher the risk of a fatal overdose. Because the body builds its tolerance to meth with each use, the risk of overdose increases each time the drug is used.
Tragically, fatal overdoses tripled in the US between 2011 and 2016, highlighting how dangerous meth addiction can be. The dangers spread throughout society–with even drug driving on the rise as a result.
Depending on the method of consumption, long-term methamphetamine users are at grave risk of lethal infections and diseases. Injecting meth with a needle exposes users to the risks of contamination, which can lead to Hepatitis B, C or even HIV infections, which are fatal when untreated.
With so many dangers linked to meth, avoiding contact with it in the first place is the best option. There are some other preventative measures you can take.
Lasting Psychological Effects of Meth Addiction
Long-term use of crystal meth leads to a psychological dependence which permanently alters the chemical composition of the brain. This leads to major side effects for users, and those who are trying to recover from the effects.
Many users report vivid hallucinations, and struggle to separate these hallucinations from reality. Around 40% of users are thought to suffer from psychosis as a result of their meth addiction.
Once in the clutches of addiction, users become paranoid and highly aggressive towards friends and loved ones. This often leads to estrangement from the people who are trying to help them the most.
Sleep deprivation can play its part here. One common long term effect of meth is users staying awake for days at a time. The psychological strain this causes on the mind is severe.
Coping with psychological problems on this scale is impossible for many people. Few can see a way out, meaning that many addicts resort to suicide as a final release from crystal meth.
Meth addiction erodes the serotonin and dopamine receptors in the brain. As a result, users in recovery frequently suffer from severe depression. A study of 300 methamphetamine-related deaths revealed that almost 20% were from suicide.
A Cycle of Suffering
The reality behind all the statistics is that the effects of meth addiction will leave a user scarred for life, both mentally and physically. If you have a friend or loved one who is suffering, reach out to them as soon as possible.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to see how we can help cope with the problems before they spiral out of control after long-term use.