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How Methamphetamine Affects Your Body

by Landmark Recovery

February 13, 2021
effects of methamphetamine

How Methamphetamine Affects Your Body

When discussing addiction and epidemics throughout the world, most of the focus for the last few years has been on the opioid epidemic One of the main substances rising in rates of abuse is methamphetamine. This drug is wreaking havoc everywhere from suburbia to farm country, and everywhere in between.

Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at how this substance can cause lasting damage to those who use it.

What Is Meth?

Methamphetamine is commonly known by names like:

  •         Crank
  •         Crystal meth
  •         Ice
  •         Meth

Meth is a highly addictive psychostimulant drug that can be snorted, smoked, eaten, or injected. Users can experience intense euphoria and pleasure when smoking or injecting meth. Wanting to experience this again, users will take another hit of the drug, and this can quickly lead to addiction. Many meth users report that they become addicted to the drug after just one use.

The person using the drug is likely to develop serious physical and mental health problems when excessive us of meth occurs over a prolonged period. Many of these problems will be permanent, and some can even be fatal.

Effects Of Meth On Your Brain

The chemical dopamine floods the brain’s reward centers when meth is used. This teaches the user’s brain that “meth use = good feelings”, and creates a desire to keep using the drug.

As a person will begin to do damage to their brain if they continually abuse methamphetamines, and much of this damage is irreparable.

Cognitive Issues

Studies have shown that meth use severely compromises cognitive skills. Abusing meth can make it difficult for people to make decisions, it can make a person easily distracted, and it can reduce a person’s motor skills. Prolonged use of meth can result in impairments to memory and attention skills as well.

Neurological Damage

People who abuse meth at a higher risk for experiencing Alzheimer’s-like dementias, because meth abuse leads to an increase of certain cells in the brain. They also have a higher chance of developing Parkinson’s disease.

Prolonged use of meth can damage the nerve terminals in the brain, and chronic meth abuse can eventually change the white matter in a meth addict’s brain.

Psychological Effects of Crystal Meth

Mental and psychological issues can persist long after they stop using the drug when people are using meth excessively. Prolonged meth use can cause a negative mindset, and there are also mental illnesses induced by meth.


Anxiety is an extremely common symptom experienced by people who abuse meth. It is most often associated with withdrawal from the drug, and is often experienced after the high wears off.


Another commonly experienced symptom of meth abuse is depression.

As previously stated, meth use forces huge surges of dopamine in the user’s brain. Over time, the user’s dopamine is exhausted. This results in diminished enjoyment from life which ultimately leads to depression.

Excessive use of methamphetamine changes the user’s brain chemistry often resulting in major depression disorders.

Depression is also often experienced as a symptom of meth withdrawal.


The most commonly reported psychological effect of meth use is psychosis.

Meth-induced psychosis often resembles schizophrenia. People experiencing psychosis triggered by meth use experience delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations.

Psychosis from meth use is one symptom that sticks around for the long-term. Many people report experiencing seeing and hearing things that don’t exist for years after abstaining from meth use.

Physical Effects Of Meth

Excessive use of meth can also cause internal and external physical damage to the body in addition to the damage done to the brain. As long as the person can quit the drug some of this damage will be short-lived.

Unfortunately, much of the damage done by meth use will be long-term, even if the user abstains from methamphetamines.

Short-term Effects Of Meth

Many of the short-term effects of crystal meth use on your body will be telltale signs to others that you are abusing the drug.

Some of these short term effects include:

  •         Bizarre behavior
  •         Convulsions
  •         Dilated pupils
  •         Erratic heartbeat
  •         Hyperexcitability
  •         Hyperirritability
  •         Increased body temperature
  •         Loss of appetite
  •         Nausea
  •         No need for sleep
  •         Panic or psychosis
  •         Violence

Long-term Effects of Meth

Excessive use of methamphetamine over a long period can be detrimental. In addition to becoming addicted, a chronic abuser of meth will experience a variety of symptoms, including:

  •         Decrease in motor skills
  •         Distractibility
  •         Extreme weight loss
  •         Impairment in brain function
  •         Loss of memory
  •         Psychosis (including paranoia, and hallucinations)
  •         Serious dental problems
  •         Skin sores
  •         Violent behavior
  •         Wild swings in moods

Research has shown that some of the damage may be reversible, even though much of the long term damage is permanent.

Activation of microglial cells returns to near-normal levels in users who abstained from the drug for at least 2 years. Another study showed that after prolonged abstinence from meth use, biochemical markers for nerve damage return to normal levels.

What To Do Next

There’s still hope if you or a loved one has suffered through addiction to methamphetamines. At Landmark Recovery, we have the knowledge and skills to help you heal from your addictions and help you move forward into a brighter future.

We have many options for addiction recovery, and we are always eager to speak with you to determine what the best option for you is.

If you are ready to seek help, please contact us today so we can get started! Call the admissions team right now at 888-448-0302 and we’ll help you get back on track.

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About the Author

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery

Landmark Recovery was founded with a determination to make addiction treatment accessible for all. Through our integrated treatment programs, we've helped thousands of people choose recovery over addiction and get back to life on their own terms. We're on a mission to save one million lives over the next century. We encourage all those struggling with substance use to seek professional help.