- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
Crystal Meth’s Shocking Side Effects
It’s no secret that crystal meth is a dangerous drug. Formerly a Class B drug, meth was bumped up a Class A drug in 2006. That means there are more serious penalties for possession (up to seven years in prison), putting it at the same level as cocaine, crack and heroin.
Meth is a mixture of highly volatile, toxic compounds. The dextrorotatory portion of methamphetamine makes it a potent stimulant of the central nervous system. Essentially this makes users “wired”. The heart races, blood pressure increases and blood sugar shoots up. The high increases mental alertness, energy levels and sexual libido but lowers appetite. Psychologically, one of the biggest attractions to addicts is the boosted self confidence it gives them.
Images of people before and after meth
addiction have been sweeping the internet lately. As the old saying
goes “a picture speaks a thousand words”. Not only has the drug made
users look older it has stamped them as obvious misfits of society.
Long-time use imparts a certain ghastly look that can’t be acquired by
One strike feature is “meth marks”. Addicts
sometimes pick at their skin leaving an ugly and painfully obvious
indication that something isn’t quite right with them. Skin complexion
becomes increasingly leathery and grey, producing a look popularized in
American zombie movies.
Sometimes the changes are so diverse and serious that it hardly looks like the same person anymore. Of course, some scepticism must be applied as there is no doubt a portion of fake before and after photos out there to scare or sensationalise.
- Marks and Sores
- Dulled Complexion
The decay and damage caused to
teeth is caused by several factors. Firstly, meth contains highly acid
contents that may include battery acid, lantern fuel, anti-freeze, just
to name a few. As with all street drugs, one can never be certain what
it might contain. Secondly users tend to have horrible dental hygiene
during the 12 hours they are high. Copious amounts of sugary drinks like
Mountain Dew are craved and there is a tendency to clench and grind
This phenomenon of severe decay found in young people
has been shocking dentists around the world. Never before have they seen
patients so young get dentures. Dentists aren’t sure how to deal with
the problem and usually have to extract several teeth upon check-up
because the serious damage renders the teeth unsalvageable.
- Grinding of teeth
- Poor oral hygiene
- Tooth decay
- Tooth loss
Effects on the brain and behaviour
Crystal is a neurotoxin, so it
disrupts and even kills the brain neurons that process and send signals
to other parts of the nervous system. It is believed that the huge surge
of dopamine (the chemical in the brain that makes us feel euphoric) is
critical to increased neurotoxicity. Dopamine breaks down into hydrogen
peroxide, creating oxidative stress.
After abusing the drug over time, even in small doses, the changes in brain chemistry can be observed. Addicts feel a need to scratch or pick at their skin creating unsightly marks on the face that have become characteristic of meth use. Psychoses, repetitive bizarre behavior, loss of memory, wild mood swings and increased violent actions have been noted by researchers of the drug. See the list below for a complete listing of negative side effects that may appear after long-term or short-term use.
Psychological side effects
- Aggressive behaviour
- Incessant conversations
- Decreased appetite
- Slurred speech
- Obsessive behaviours
- Panic attacks
It’s addictive and kick the habit is not fun
Beating a methamphetamine addiction is more difficult than stopping cocaine use. Mental depression lasts longer and is more severe. To make matters worse, the drugs used to reduce cravings have a low success rate. Still, an addicted person doesn’t stand much of a chance dealing with it alone.
Recovery consists of detox, treatment of the health problems caused by meth use, and going through a 12-step process to kick the habit.
Miscellaneous Side Effects throughout the Body
Meth’s effects on the body are so numerous that it’s impossible to cover every one here. Use causes damage to a good portion of the organs in the body including the ones most vital to us: heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Below is a laundry list of side effect to be aware of.
-Impaired immune system
-High blood pressure
-Vessel damage in brain
-Blood clotting and stroke
-Rapid heart rate
-Shortness of breath
-Loss of coordination