If you or someone you love uses methamphetamine even occasionally, it’s important to understand the long-term effects of meth. It’s easy to close your mind to these effects because you don’t want to think about the future consequences of something that gives you intense pleasure right now. Let’s start by understanding why meth delivers that pleasure, making you want more and more despite the long-term effects that are guaranteed to come.
What Causes the Intense Pleasure and Long-term Effects of Meth?
When you experience a sensation of pleasure, your mood is a reaction to the presence of dopamine in the hypothalamus region of your brain. That dopamine release is what allows you to enjoy everything from food and sex to exercise and hobbies. Methamphetamine drops up to 600 times the natural level of dopamine into your brain. Is it any wonder you can’t get enough once you start using? The problem is meth interferes with your life in the short term. Immediate symptoms may include sleep disturbances, euphoria, hyperthermia, and loss of appetite. It’s difficult to maintain steady employment and sustain lasting relationships when you’re suffering from those side effects. The long-term effects of meth are even more dangerous, so take a moment to read through the following checklist.
Meth can interfere with your heart in the following ways:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Rapid heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Damage to blood vessels
Many meth users associate the irregular or rapid beat of their hearts with the rush that is characteristic of a methamphetamine high. As intense pleasure overtakes their brains and spreads through their body, they seem oblivious to the dangerous change in their heart rhythm. As tolerance for the drug builds, a serious addiction will lead to higher doses of meth that are more likely to interfere with the heart in the short and long term. If you’re a long-term user of meth, you can permanently damage your heart without realizing it’s happening.
Chronic use of meth can lead to neurological damage that causes psychological problems. This is one of the most troubling long-term effects of meth because it changes the way the user thinks and behaves, which often makes it difficult for them to remain a productive, safe member of society. To make it simple, we can say that many long-term meth users don’t act like themselves even when they aren’t under the active influence of the drug. Some psychological problems associated with meth include extreme anxiety, uncontrolled anger, and unexplained confusion. Meth users may seem delusional or paranoid, and they’re at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts.
This is one of the most visible long-term effects of meth because it leaves many chronic users with damaged or missing teeth. Extreme stimulation of the central nervous system leads to a loss of bone growth and strength, allowing osteoporosis to develop. That can cause teeth and other bones to break easily.
Research has confirmed the long-term effects of meth extend to learning, memory, motor speed, and emotion control. Users may process information slower and struggle to keep up in academic settings due to compromised understanding and memory. Many also suffer from mood swings and other emotional problems that can last for years even after treating the addiction and stopping use of the drug.
Beat Meth with the Help of The Ranch PA
Overcoming meth addiction is challenging, but with quality drug rehab services, you can find your path to recovery. It starts when you contact the compassionate professionals at The Ranch PA to discuss one of our treatment programs, which include:
- Drug and alcohol detox
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Psychodrama therapy program
- Pain management cener
- Other traditional and alternative therapies
Take the first step today by calling us at 717.969.9126. We’ll help with the rest.