Meth Effects on the Body

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Methamphetamine or ‘Meth’ is an entirely synthetic stimulant substance produced illicitly for recreational purposes. It has a high potential for abuse as it is very addictive, and is often mixed with other substances that make meth effects more dangerous, even deadly. For example, when mixed with alcohol, the negative effects on the body of too much alcohol are usually masked by meth. This can cause a person to drink more and more alcohol until deadly amounts are consumed. Join Avenues Recovery as we discover: what are the side effects of meth?

Meth Effects on the Brain

There are both short-term and long-term effects of meth on the brain. However, what makes meth so dangerous is that it increases dopamine in the brain which rewards the pleasurable hormones, ‘teaching’ them to ingest more dopamine to reach the same euphoric feeling again.

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How Long do the Effects of Meth Last?

Relative to other drugs, meth’s short-term pleasurable effects are long-lasting (between 6-8 hours) making it the preferred choice of drug for many, despite the dangerous short and long-term side effects of meth.

Since meth is a stimulant drug, taking an unmeasured dose can cause the body to speed up the central nervous system (CNS) to dangerous levels. The user feels an upsurge in energy levels, alertness, and heightened euphoria. However internally, the heartbeat will speed up and become irregular, the blood pressure will rise, and other precarious changes take place in the body. Methamphetamines can be snorted, injected, smoked, or taken orally, with different methods of ingestion causing various side effects.

Short-Term Effects of Meth

There are many short-term adverse side effects of methamphetamines on the body.

Meth Effects on the Heart

Meth increases the heart rate so the heartbeat becomes more rapid and often irregular. It can also cause other cardiovascular irregularities like stroke and heart attack.

Meth Effects on the Body

Meth causes an elevation in blood pressure and in respiratory rate, which means that the user will take more breaths per minute than average. The body temperature will rise, and the user may feel tremors and convulsions. It’s also very common to experience insomnia, nausea, and a loss of appetite after ingesting meth.

Meth Effects on the Brain

Meth can cause symptoms that mimic mental health issues such as anxiety and paranoia.

Meth Effects on Behavior

Like many drugs, taking meth is linked to an increase in aggressive, risky, irritable, and violent behavior.

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Long-term Effects of Meth

With regard to long-term side effects, what does meth do to your body?

Meth Effects on the Heart

Meth can cause irreversible damage to the heart, causing premature heart attack and stroke, and continued heart problems for life.

Meth Effects on the Body

Decreased motor skills, repetitive movements, malnutrition, severe dental issues, damage to the liver, kidney, and lungs, and premature osteoporosis are some of the terrible permanent long-term damages to the body caused by meth.

Meth Effects on the Brain

Some of the changes to the brain include severe anxiety, delusions, hallucinations, memory loss, paranoia, and confusion.

Meth Effects on Behavior

Meth users will likely have mood disturbances and can experience psychotic behavior that is difficult to reverse even after abstaining from meth use. They can also behave irrationally, quickly becoming irritable, aggressive, and violent.

Meth Effects on the Skin

Some of the effects on the skin include dry, cracked skin, sores that cause intense itching, unhealthy skin due to neglect of personal hygiene and poor diet, and very often, horrible scratch marks due to users scratching imaginary bugs [1] and insects on the skin.

Meth Effects on the Face

The face may take on a gaunt, unhealthy appearance, and users may have burn marks around their mouth, nose, and fingers if the drug is smoked.

Reversing Adverse Meth Effects

Although some of the long-term damage caused to users of meth are permanent, there are some effects that may be reversed after meth withdrawal, drug detox treatment and abstaining from the drug for a long period of time. Studies have shown that after a year of quitting meth, many negative neurological changes returned to normal in people who previously struggled with meth misuse. Particularly, the psychotic episodes may stop after a few years of stopping to use meth.

Methods of Ingesting Meth

There are different ways to ingest meth, including snorting, injecting, smoking, or taking the drug orally. Over time, the body develops tolerance to meth and the user will have to increase the dose in order to feel the same pleasurable short-term effects. Another way to feel the same level of pleasure is to change the form of ingesting the drug. For example, smoking causes more immediate euphoria or ‘rush’ as the drug enters the bloodstream faster.


Smoking meth is more addictive than other forms because the euphoria is felt quicker. Likewise, the short-term pleasurable effects wear off quickest when meth is smoked. It also has a higher potential for overdose because the user is inclined to keep smoking when the pleasurable feelings are felt immediately. Some of the effects of smoking meth include ‘meth mouth’ a condition where the teeth become stained, rotten, and decayed. Unfortunately, sometimes the only way to treat this condition is to remove all the teeth in the user’s mouth. Meth effects on teeth can cause long-term suffering in regard to diet, appearance, and dental health.


Meth that is snorted takes longer to produce the pleasurable effects as it enters the bloodstream more slowly (in comparison to smoking or injecting meth). At the same time, the adverse side effects from snorting meth may take longer to develop. The effects of snorting meth include nosebleeds, damage to the nasal tissue and sinuses, and overall irritation to the throat and nasal passages. It can also cause users to lose their sense of smell and be unable to breathe properly through their nose.


Like smoking, injecting meth into the body produces an instant ‘rush’ because the drug enters the bloodstream right away and triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Once again, since injecting meth gives the user instant euphoria, it has a higher potential for addiction and similarly, for overdose. The effects of injecting meth are severe in the long term. Sharing needles [2] without sterilizing them first causes diseases like HIV and hepatitis B and C. These lifelong conditions are dangerous and even lethal.


Meth pills consumed orally take the longest to absorb into the bloodstream, causing the drug to activate the dopamine only after around 15-20 minutes. There are two potentially dangerous pitfalls with meth pills. Firstly, one may take another pill in the time it takes for the first pill to activate, increasing the risk of overdose. Secondly, meth pills are often mixed with other substances to increase the short-term pleasurable feelings, without the user knowing exactly what they are consuming.

Meth Effects Are Not Worth it

Like most addictive drugs, meth produces pleasurable sensations in the body in the short run but, meth can stay in one’s system and leave users with permanent damage that can impact many aspects of their day-to-day living. If you are struggling with a meth addiction, it’s important to know that it’s never too late to give up. You CAN live a drug-free, happy, fulfilled life with a bright future! Additionally, it’s never too late to stop misusing meth - the quicker you stop, the greater the chances of avoiding the short and long-term adverse meth effects. Avenues Recovery, leaders in addiction rehabilitation, are waiting to support you in your journey toward recovery. Start a journey to a life free of drugs today by contacting us and speaking to one of our experienced professionals. You deserve better than a life of addiction, you deserve a sober future ahead!

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[2] en.wikipedia.or

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