People who’ve used methamphetamines for long periods can face serious consequences, which may or may not fully recover after meth addiction treatment. The best way to prevent the long-term effects of meth abuse is to stop using, but that’s easier said than done.
Side Effects of Long-Term Meth Abuse
Long-term methamphetamine use impacts the body, mind, and spirit. Aside from the direct effect that the drug has on our health, the lifestyle adopted by methamphetamine users can have serious consequences. Not getting regular sleep, nutrition, exercise, and hygiene all contribute to the long-term effects of meth abuse.
Below, we’ll examine the impact that methamphetamines can have on our physical, mental, and dental health.
A variety of physical health problems can occur due to meth abuse. To list just a few, people who use meth for extended periods often experience the following:
- Significant weight loss
- Macro and micronutrient deficiencies
- Skin lesions and scabs
- Chronic insomnia
- Cardiovascular health problems
This is by no means a comprehensive list. The physical effects of methamphetamine can be severe and become harder to treat the longer a client uses the substance.
The physical effects of meth abuse stem from the excitatory nature of methamphetamine. As a stimulant, using meth causes your heart rate to increase, creates a spike in blood pressure, stifles your appetite, and forces wakefulness even if you haven’t slept in days.
The increased pressure on your heart and liver causes direct damage, but lack of sleep and nutrition means your body doesn’t have the necessary time and energy to recover.
The acute effects of methamphetamine can often resemble serious mental illnesses, such as psychosis. But negative mental health effects can last long after the drug wears off as well. One of the most common side effects of methamphetamine withdrawal is severe depression. After sustained drug use, the brain adapts to artificially high serotonin and dopamine levels produced by methamphetamine and struggles to find joy in everyday life.
Fortunately, our brains have a remarkable capacity for recovery. While methamphetamine causes significant changes in the brain’s reward processing centers, most people can return to neurotypical brain functioning after six months to a year of sobriety.
Lastly, methamphetamine can have a lasting effect on our teeth. Dental decay and tooth loss are irreversible, and prosthetics may be your only option if your teeth have declined beyond a certain point. There are several reasons meth use leads to dental health problems:
- Meth can cause dry mouth, reducing saliva that can protect our teeth from decay
- Bruxism, or jaw clenching and grinding, is a side effect of methamphetamine that can cause teeth to wear down or crack
- Improper hygiene during active addiction allows plaque and bacteria to build-up
- Poor diet and nutrition standards in meth users contribute to tooth decay
These effects lead to what’s commonly referred to as “meth mouth,” significant signs of oral decline associated with the long-term effects of meth abuse.
Meth Addiction Treatment at Liberty Bay Recovery
Fortunately, many of the problems from long-term methamphetamine use are treatable and reversible if you get the proper care and medical attention. At Liberty Bay Recovery in Portland, Maine, our addiction specialists are trained to treat the root cause of methamphetamine use disorders and the side effects that long-term use can bring.
Call (855) 607-8758 today to join a recovery community that can help you overcome your addiction and start a new life clean and sober at Liberty Bay Recovery.