There are many long-term effects of meth that you might not yet know anything about. Methamphetamines are a class of highly addictive drugs, and using them for a long time can have some pretty serious consequences.
Drug addiction is also a mental health issue, which complicates the side effects of meth. Getting treatment for meth addiction early is essential to preventing the long-term effects of meth use.
Memory Loss and Increased Distractibility
People who are going through meth withdrawal will often experience memory loss and a decreased ability to focus. One explanation for this is that the nerve endings get shorter, making it harder for the electrical messages to be sent along the established neural pathways. Consequently, nerves need to learn new ways of sending messages, which can take longer. The brain structure is also altered with people who use crystal meth, with death of neurons in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory, the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in inhibition, and a number of other brain structures.
Long-Term Effects of Meth on the Body
Some of the most ubiquitous side effects of meth occur on the face and body. While addiction is caused in the mind, the most immediately noticeable long-term effects of meth are physical. Meth users appear to age much faster than normal people, along with looking generally haggard.
One of the signs of long-term meth abuse is experiencing rapid tooth decay, which is especially common with adolescents and teenagers. Because of this, teeth will fall out quickly. Meth causes tooth decay because it causes the salivary glands to dry out, which lets the acids in the mouth eat away at the enamel. People who are using meth also tend to eat a lot of sugar, which further causes tooth decay. They enjoy sugar because it causes a dopamine spike, similar to how meth can produce a dopamine high. Finally, since meth is a stimulant, many people who take it engage in teeth grinding, which further damages the teeth.
One of the side effects of some stimulants like methamphetamines is a decrease in appetite, which often results in weight loss. While some people might think that they wouldn’t mind this weight loss, it’s not a healthy weight loss. It also changes a person’s metabolism, speeding up the process with which people can lose weight. Again, this might sound like a dream to people trying to lose weight, but a person quickly builds up a tolerance, so they have to take more. Moreover, the change in metabolism, coupled with the decreased appetite, can cause people to lose so much weight that they’re actually gaunt or even skeletal looking.
Rapid Aging of the Face
Because of the increased production of ceramides, the faces of meth users also rapidly age. Ceramides cause rapid aging because they speed up the metabolism, which causes cells to die more quickly. Not only do faces become thinner, which actually makes people look older, but it also causes premature wrinkles and hollowing around the eyes and around the cheeks.
Sores on the Body and Face
Meth users often get sores on their face and body. There are several reasons for this. The immune system of people taking meth is suppressed, which means that sores that form take longer to heal. Blood flow to the skin of meth users is also cut off, which leads to blood vessels dying. Thirdly, many people taking meth experience a sensation of bugs crawling on their skin that causes them to pick at their own skin, which further creates scarring.
Prevent the Side Effects of Meth
Meth is a serious drug that has many physical consequences, and much of the damage is irreversible. Meth users and the family and friends of meth users should look into finding drug addiction treatment in Tennessee to find people who can help meth users quit this body- and mind-destroying drug. Remember that you don’t need to go through the process alone. A quality rehab program can help you get your life back. New patients should contact Encore Health Group online to find out how we can help.