Meth Effects

The effects of methamphetamine use reach much farther than the immediate meth high felt by the meth user. Learn how meth effects the brain and the short-term and long-term meth effects such as meth mouth, weight loss, hallucinations, delusions, and more...


One of the most dangerous drugs out there is methamphetamine, or meth. Meth is extremely addictive, due to how meth effects the body. However, it is also very damaging to the brain and the body. Prolonged meth use can have very dramatic and negative effects. Some of the meth effects may even be long lasting, lingering after the user has stopped taking methamphetamine. It is important to understand the possible effects that meth use can have on the body.

How meth works in the brain

First of all, it can help to learn about meth effects on the brain. Meth increases the amount of dopamine that is released in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that the brain produces in order to provide a feeling of pleasure. When dopamine is released, it results in feelings of euphoria. Some activities, such as physical exertion, reading something you like or playing video games, result in the release of dopamine. This provides you with positive feelings.

Meth, though, increases the natural release of dopamine and prevents it from being taken back in by the brain. This way, the rush you feel is more intense. This intense feeling is the source of a “high.” However, as with many such things, when the high is over, the comedown is quite intense as well, leaving the user wanting to feel that rush again.

Not only does meth result in the increased release of dopamine, but it also changes the very functioning of the brain. It alters the dopamine system, and even shifts the structure of the brain. As a result, long term meth effects often include learning problems, memory loss and reduced motor skills.

Short term meth effects

The main short term meth effect is the "high" feeling, one of the main reasons that people abuse methamphetamine. However, there are other short term meth effects on the body. Like any other stimulate, meth produces wakefulness and restlessness. Meth will also increase your blood pressure and can cause an irregular heartbeat. You are also likely to experience faster, shallower breathing, as well as a decreased appetite. While these short term effects don’t always cause immediate problems, a large dose of meth can overload your heart, and cause cardiac arrest. It is also possible that some of these short term meth effects can eventually lead to more long term problems.

Long term meth effects

Not only does meth affect you in the short term, but it can also provide long term problems. Short term effects, such as irregular heart beat and elevated blood pressure, can translate into long term health issues down the road. But there are other problems associated with methamphetamine abuse. Some of the problems that can arise from sustained meth use include:

  • Severe dental problems as the teeth are weakened and the mouth is infected in some cases. (This is sometimes referred to as “meth mouth”).
  • Extreme weight loss as the appetite is continually suppressed.
  • Insomnia as the stimulant nature of meth results in sleeping problems.
  • Mood swings as the chemicals in the brain continue to be out of balance.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations and delusions.
  • Violent behavior stemming from mood swings, paranoia and hallucinations.

It is also important to note that some meth effects may not be as direct or noticeable. Many meth abusers share needles for injection with each other. This can result in the spread of infectious diseases. For a body with a compromised system, this can result in increased illness. However, it isn’t just diseases like cold and flu that are passed around via needle sharing. More serious diseases like hepatitis and HIV can be shared through needles used for injection. Many meth users find that they are afflicted by chronic and terminal diseases due to their needle sharing habits.

Pregnant women who use meth affect their unborn children. Meth use can result in low birth rate, along with other health complications.

There are a number of meth effects on the body, and it is important to get help for those you are concerned about. Meth can have lasting consequences, and it is important to strive to overcome a drug addiction as soon as possible, since some meth effects can’t be reversed.

Related Article: Methamphetamine Statistics >>