How Does Crystal Meth Destroy The Mind And Body?

How meth can affect your brain
How can crystal meth destroy the mind and body?

An incredibly addictive drug, crystal meth inspires an addiction that ravages the body and destroys the mind. People become addicted to this drug for all sorts of reasons, but the dependence of the mind upon this drug necessitates repeated use in order for a person just to feel normal. After years of meth abuse, if the individual even survives that long, existence without the drug offers a life with no enjoyment and an emotional deadness.

Many meth addiction stories suggest that the incredible high from crystal meth arrives just as fast as cocaine, yet the euphoria and the manic state last longer. This potency creates incredible potential for addiction in users who realize that they cannot live without the drug and would rather die without it. A recent study by Columbia University scientists suggested that crystal meth abusers had an 80 percent higher rate of suicide attempts than other drug users.

Many crystal meth users will heat the drug in rock form to a point where it can be smoked, although it’s also possible for a user to inject crystal meth directly into the body or snort it. Unfortunately, no matter how someone first tries the drug, dependence upon it often happens after just a single use.

It’s essential to note that methamphetamine is actually a legal drug available under prescription and is used as treatment for a variety of ailments such as ADHD and obesity. Crystal meth, on the other hand, is an illegal version of the chemical which is made through a dangerous alteration of widely available drugs, like ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

Impact on the Brain

Like other stimulants such as cocaine and ephedrine, crystal meth impacts how the brain’s neurotransmitters operate. The important chemical of dopamine no longer travels correctly over the brain’s natural nerve highways, and this leads to a large boost in the presence of the chemical. Dopamine is an incredibly important chemical in the brain and is responsible for basic motor functions within the body, and also controls emotion.

Unfortunately, repeated use of crystal meth destroys this vital system in the mind and has a direct impact on a person’s basic ability to function in society. It’s not uncommon for habitual meth abusers to seem like gibbering mental patients without the ability to control their limbs and faces. What is so vicious about the impact of crystal meth on the brain is that it takes an incredibly long time for any positive change to result from being clean.

Permanent Brain Damage

A highly disturbing report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that even after an individual quits use of the drug and is able to stay clean for over a year, the brain doesn’t work the same. The dopamine receptors within the brain that were damaged during extreme methamphetamine use actually experienced some growth, but they no longer worked in the study’s patients.

Other impacts on the brain that appear long-lasting or permanent include memory problems, an inability to control emotions, impairment of verbal and cognitive function, and damaged motor skills. At a certain point, a crystal meth addict won’t even have the brainpower to assist in getting clean or entering a rehabilitation program.

Immediate Side Effects

Like all harmful drugs, crystal meth offers a number of potential side effects with the first use and the Coalition Against Drug Abuse suggests that the following problems may result from short-term abuse of the drug:

  • Appetite loss
  • Convulsions
  • Blood pressure issues
  • Heart rhythm problems
  • Inability to sleep
  • Mood swings
  • Tremors

Long-Term Side Effects

With repeated use and a long-term period of abuse, crystal meth may cause all sorts of problems inside the body and mind. Long-term side effects have the potential to shave decades off a user’s life, and in many cases cause the death of an addict. Some of the worst long-term physical side effects of crystal meth use include:

  • Brain damage
  • Cardiac arrest (heart attack)
  • Coma
  • Formicating (feeling of bugs crawling under the skin)
  • Hallucination
  • Hyperthermia
  • Psychoses
  • Sores (due to picking)
  • Strokes
  • Tooth decay and loss

Early Aging

Most habitual users of crystal meth appear incredibly aged whether they’re 20 years old or 40. The appearance of the skin will look sunken and discolored like dead tissue; a severe case of acne might develop, and long-time users often lose all of their teeth. The loss and destruction of the teeth is so common in meth users that the condition has an official name: meth mouth.

Due to issues of formication (described as the feeling of bugs crawling under the skin), habitual meth users often exhibit open sores all over their body and in prominent areas such as the face. Sometimes a long-time crystal meth user might even look as though they’ve experienced a stroke due to the drooping of the eyes and uneven architecture of a meth-ravaged face.

The signs of aging due to crystal meth use aren’t just the outwardly physical signs of aging since the drug also destroys the body’s ability to recover from injury and heal properly. Blood vessels no longer function in the body, the immune system stops functioning properly, and the slightest cold may cause enormous complications.

Danger of HIV and Hepatitis B and C

Due to the manic state many crystal meth abusers experience each time they take the drug, the chance for becoming infected with HIV or experiencing transmittal of Hepatitis B or C increases dramatically. One of the emotional effects of someone who is actively high on crystal meth is an intense feeling of reduced inhibitions. This leads to risky behavior, such as unsafe sex.

In addition, anyone who chooses to inject crystal meth may become exposed to dirty or infected needles. Once a person who is addicted to crystal meth is infected with HIV, the progression of the disease to full blown AIDS happens much faster than in a drug-free individual.

Stopping the Spread of Crystal Meth Use

Due to the incredible potential for addiction that exists with crystal meth use, preventing vulnerable individuals from ever trying the drug is essential for stopping the spread of addiction of this deadly substance.

As long as surveys, such as the “Monitoring the Future” study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggest that young people continue to try crystal meth, efforts must be made to impress upon people the danger offered by trying the drug just a single time.


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