Effects Meth Has On Your Brain

how crystal meth affects the brain

Drug abuse can have a major impact on your life and the lives of those around you. If you’re using methamphetamines, you need to know that this drug can have a major impact on your life in a very short amount of time.

What Is Meth?

Meth is a synthetic drug that is more powerful than the sometimes-used amphetamine, which is a stimulant. As a prescription drug, methamphetamine can be used to treat narcolepsy and to help maintain a person’s blood pressure, if it tends to drop. As a stimulant, meth affects the central nervous system. It is highly addictive.

What Kinds of Side Effects Are Caused By Meth?

When meth is initially taken, it may be snorted, inhaled, smoked, or injected. Sometimes, it can be taken orally.

The first side effects of meth are sensations of happiness or well-being. It may make a person hyperactive or give them energy. That’s why it’s so good for narcolepsy or increasing blood pressure; however, the drug is much more dangerous when taken illicitly. The side effects of meth last for up to 24 hours, although it’s most common for them to last between six and eight hours.

Some short-term side effects of methamphetamine usage include:

  • Decreased fatigue
  • Increased talkativeness
  • Increased respiration
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperthermia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased activity

meth pipe

Does Meth Lead to Brain Damage?

Methamphetamine can quickly affect your brain. While it initially causes feelings of pleasure or an elevated mood, it also begins to change the overall structure of your brain from the first time you take it.

The good side effects of the drug are attributed to the release of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, inside the body. This neurotransmitter is used to motivate individuals; it allows for the experience of pleasure and helps the body’s motor functions.

The problem with methamphetamine is that it releases a shocking amount of dopamine. In fact, it releases up to 12 times the amount of dopamine that sex or other pleasurable activities do. That high is hard to beat, which is why the body reacts so positively to it and craves the drug quickly after the first hit.

The elevated levels of dopamine in the body are not positive. They can be harmful to the nerve terminals in the brain, making it harder for your body to work correctly. The dopamine transporters in the drug user are typically damaged due to drug use, which means that even after stopping the drug, the body may not begin to produce dopamine correctly again. For some, that means that depression or sadness is more likely to take place, since the body can’t use dopamine effectively without the use of the drug.

The brain is chemically and molecularly changed with the use of methamphetamines. Imaging studies have shown that the dopamine system being affected alters the way you learn verbally and impairs your motor skills. Functional changes take place in the areas of the brain that control emotions and memory, which explains why those who take meth for a long period of time may struggle with controlling their emotions or remembering certain events. These effects are often long-lasting and may not heal, although many do after being off the drug for a year or longer.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamines?

The long-term effects of methamphetamines include:

  • Aggressive or violent behavior due to stimulation
  • Mood disturbances, like mood swings
  • Memory loss; you may not remember what happened when you were taking the drug
  • Severe dental problems from smoking or chewing meth crystals
  • Changes in the structure and function of the brain
  • Psychosis, which is recognized by the presence of hallucinations and paranoia
  • Addiction
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions, like the feeling that there are insects in your skin or crawling on you

Can a Person Recovery from Meth Addiction?

Meth addiction can be recovered from. It all starts with detox. In fact, in as little as a month, you can begin to see changes in your body and the way your brain begins to function normally again. If a person has struggled with dental problems from the drug, this may need to be treated during recovery to help avoid pain and gun or tooth loss.

How Can I Get Help With Meth Addiction?

Addiction to methamphetamines can be a serious concern. Whether you’re worried about being addicted to prescription methamphetamines or want to know more about how you can get help for a loved one who uses meth, it’s important to reach out and learn about the programs in your area. You can call our helpful 24-hour hotline by dialing 1-866-802-6848, so you can speak to us about the process for seeking the care you need. You can also visit our website online at CoastalDetox.com to find out more about drug addiction and the treatment plans that can help you overcome this struggle.