breaking badThe AMC network’s television series “Breaking Bad” recently set a series record when 10.3 million viewers tuned in for its final episode. The show, which has won multiple Emmys and other awards, centers around a main character who is a high school teacher turned methamphetamine manufacturer.

While the show never glorified meth use or its production, its popularity does indicate that the viewing public is at least familiar with meth. While 30 years ago meth was primarily produced by biker gangs, more recently many people in small town America have been lured into a life meth production by a promise of easy money. So Breaking Bad is an incidence of art imitating life.

What Users Won’t Tell You About Meth

With meth use showing no signs of slowing down, it seems important to not only look at what users consider the positive effects they get from meth, but also the things they don’t tell you about.

1. The harmful physical effects

Many meth users would probably tell you they use the drug for the increase in energy, ability to focus, the rush they get, the euphoria they feel, or their ability to work longer. What they won’t tell you about is all the negative physical effects that go along with using the drug.

Methamphetamine is a stimulant that causes insomnia, and suppresses a user’s appetite. Just these two physical side effects cause a number of complications for regular users. Most people who use meth stay up for days at a time eating little to nothing, which causes dramatic weight loss, and a period of crashing after the drug has worn off.

Other immediate physical effects of meth use include:

· Dilated pupils
· Restlessness
· Hyperactivity
· Excessive sweating
· Tremors
· Rapid breathing
· Dry mouth and teeth grinding (which lead to “meth mouth”)
· Twitching

The drug can also produce contradicting effects like an accelerated heartbeat or a slowed heartbeat, high blood pressure or low blood pressure, and diarrhea or constipation. In cases of chronic use and/or high doses severe complications like convulsions, stroke, heart attack and death can occur.

2. The harmful psychological effects

Meth also produces a long list of psychological effects. While a regular user might tell you about the increase in self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, and feelings of invincibility they experience, what they don’t tell you about is everything else that accompanies them.

Common adverse psychological effects of meth use include:

· Anxiety
· Irritability
· Compulsive skin picking
· Delusions of grandiosity
· Repetition and obsessive behaviors
· Hallucinations
· Paranoia

Chronic meth use can also cause a drug induced psychosis, which according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse can last for several months to years after the abuser quits taking meth. This psychosis is generally related to taking high doses of the drug, and is characterized by paranoia, repetitive motor activity, and hallucinations.

3. The increase in energy and decrease in inhibitions

Simply put, people who are high on meth find themselves doing things they normally wouldn’t do. This can lead to regrettable, or embarrassing behavior, and in some cases more serious consequences.

One side effect of meth use is an increase in libido. When you combine an increase in sex drive with a decrease in sexual inhibitions the danger of contracting HIV, hepatitis C, and other sexually transmitted diseases is drastically increased.

Users may also find themselves with legal problems related to their use. First and foremost meth is an illegal substance, and when someone has been up using it for days it is pretty easy to spot them. Also, when a user becomes addicted to meth, they may resort to criminal means to get money to continue their habit.