Long-Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse
Long-term abuse of methamphetamine has many devastating effects on the user. Initially, a user develops tolerance. This means the drug becomes less and less able to give the pleasurable effect the user was trying to achieve. This prompts the user to take higher and more frequent doses or take it in different form, such as injecting instead of smoking. This tolerance often develops quickly.
It becomes difficult for meth abusers to feel any pleasure at all other than the diminishing pleasure provided by the drug. They wind up needing the drug just to feel comfortable or normal.
When a chronic abuser stops taking the drug or can’t obtain it, the symptoms of withdrawal kick in. These include fatigue, anxiety and depression, plus an unbearable craving for the drug.
Thus, the person becomes trapped in the vicious circle and downward spiral of drug addiction.
Methamphetamine is Essentially a Poison
As methamphetamine is highly toxic, the user experiences the damaging, accumulated effects of chronic poisoning. Being steadily poisoned produces all kinds of unwanted and unpleasant sensations and discomforts which drive the user to get more drugs to cover them up.
Meth and Brain Damage
Methamphetamine attacks and damages various organs of the body, including the brain. Chronic meth poisoning causes structural and molecular changes in areas of the brain associated with emotion and memory. The damage can reach a point where it becomes irreversible.
This damage to the brain includes disruption of its dopamine system. Dopamine is a type of chemical that plays a very important role the brain’s healthy performance. Messing up normal dopamine function has been associated with reduced coordination and impaired verbal learning.
Symptoms of Chronic Meth Use
These changes to the structure and chemistry of the brain and other organs account for many of the problems observed in chronic meth abusers, which include the following:
- severe anxiety
- mood disturbances
- violent behavior
- hallucinations (for example, the sensation of insects crawling under the skin)
- increased risk of stroke
- increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- weight loss
- tooth decay, tooth loss (“meth mouth”)
- skin sores
- increased blood pressure
- cardiovascular collapse
- liver, kidney and lung damage
- memory impairment
- inability to grasp abstract thoughts
Even those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings
Break Free from Methamphetamine Addiction
What all this means is the sooner the methamphetamine user can be helped to overcome his or her addiction, the better the chances of a full recovery and a return to good health. It’s essential to start recovery the first moment possible rather than waiting until the damage has been severe.
No matter how desperate the user’s situation seems or how severe the hell being endured by the friends and family who care about him, it is possible to break this vicious trap of addiction and return to a healthy, drug-free life.
There are thousands of people living drug-free lives today who can attest to the effectiveness and workability of the Narconon program, across almost half a century. Please contact us today to learn how Narconon can help.