While crystal meth may have been overshadowed by the opioid epidemic in the media, the long-term effects of meth are extremely damaging.
Not only do you risk damaging your body and mind if you abuse crystal meth, but you could end up with substance use disorder.
Today, we’ll be exploring the permanent effects of methamphetamine, in terms of both body and mind and then we’ll take some time to look at meth treatment options and sober living homes.
What Are the Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine?
If you abuse meth to the point of addiction, your brain will undergo functional and structural changes. When this occurs, you will find yourself compulsively seeking and using meth, even though you are fully aware you have a problem.
Just like with other drugs of abuse, tolerance to meth builds. This means you’ll need to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect or to alter the method of delivery to intensify the diminishing effects.
In the case of chronic meth abuse, you may find it difficult to experience pleasure from anything other than methamphetamine, which tends to prompt further meth abuse.
If you develop meth use disorder, you will experience adverse withdrawal symptoms when you detox from methamphetamine, with fatigue, depression, and anxiety accompanied by intense cravings for the drug.
Beyond methamphetamine addiction, if you use meth long-term, you could experience any of the following physical symptoms:
- Mood disturbances
- Violent behavior
- Hallucinations (both visual and auditory)
Research shows that psychotic symptoms can last for months or years after the last use of methamphetamine. If you experience meth-induced psychosis, this can be triggered again in the future by stress, according to the same data.
So, abusing meth long-term can cause problems to both body and mind, so we’ll start by exploring the adverse physical consequences of methamphetamine abuse.
What Does Meth Do To Your Body Long-Term
Long-term meth use can cause both internal and external physical damage.
While some of the meth after-effects will be short-lived, much of the damage inflicted by sustained meth abuse will be long-term, even if you abstain from using methamphetamine. If you are using this drug, that should be one more reason to seek treatment before it’s too late and the damage to your body is irreparable.
The following short-term effects of meth use are indicators to others you are using the drug. These include:
- Loss of appetite
- No need for sleep
- Dilated pupils
- Erratic heartbeat
Using meth long-term can cause the following negative physical outcomes beyond addiction:
- Impaired motor skills
- Extreme weight loss
- Serious dental problems – meth mouth
- Skin sores
- Dramatic mood swings leading to violent outbursts
Unfortunately, much of the damage caused by meth is permanent, but research shows some is reversible.
This study shows that people abstaining from meth for two years or more find levels of microglial cells returning to levels close to normal.
Another study shows that sustained abstinence from methamphetamine can almost reverse the nerve damage caused by meth abuse.
As with most drugs, though, it’s not just the damage that meth wreaks throughout your body you need to consider. Chronic meth abuse also brings with it a battery of adverse psychological outcomes in the long-term.
How Does Meth Affect the Brain Long-Term
When you use meth, your brain’s reward center is flooded with dopamine. The abundance of this neurotransmitter associated with pleasure teaches your brain that using meth triggers pleasurable feelings, and this creates a strong desire to use the substance, even if you are aware of the damage it’s causing.
If you seek treatment and abstain from meth, much of this brain damage is reversible, but if you continue abusing meth, you could easily cause irreversible brain damage in any of the following areas:
- Neurological damage
- Cognitive problems
Meth abuse leads to a heightened risk of dementia like Alzheimer’s.
You also run a higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease if you abuse methamphetamine long-term, according to the same data.
Research indicates that meth abuse can damage nerve terminals in your brain, with long-term and chronic methamphetamine abuse permanently changing white matter in your brain.
Studies show meth abuse can significantly impair cognitive ability.
Problems manifest in the following areas:
- Motor skills
Meth abuse causes enormous dopamine surges in your brain. Over time, your brain stops producing this neurotransmitter. This can lead to depression in meth users.
Sustained meth use causes changes to the circuitry and chemistry of your brain, and this can result in major depressive disorders.
Depression is a common symptom of meth withdrawal. Meth abuse can trigger mental health disorders.
Even if you detox from meth and stop using the drug, you may still find psychological and mental issues persist long after you stop using the drug.
Many people who abuse meth experience anxiety, according to research. Like depression, anxiety is most frequently associated with meth withdrawal.
Psychosis is the most commonly reported psychological outcome of meth abuse.
Meth-induced psychosis can resemble schizophrenia. If you experience this, you can expect:
Research shows that methamphetamine-induced psychosis can remain for years after discontinuing use of the drug.
What can you do to prevent all of this from happening in the first place, then?
Overcoming Long-Term Meth Use with The District
If you have been abusing meth to the point of addiction, we can help you here at The District Recovery Community.
The most effective treatments for meth use disorder are behavioral therapies, including:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Contingency management (CM)
With no FDA-approved medications for treating meth addiction, we’ll help you instead of through the delivery of individual counseling, group counseling, CBT, DBT, and holistic therapies.
If you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, we’ll ensure you can address both issues simultaneously with our dual diagnosis treatment program.
Our outpatient treatment programs will help you build the strongest possible foundation for sustained recovery from meth addiction. Get the process started today by calling 844.287.8506.