The Health Risks of Methamphetamine - Harmony Oaks Recovery Center
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The Health Risks of Methamphetamine

The Health Risks of Methamphetamine

Health Problems with Methamphetamine Use

The health risks of methamphetamine use are serious. This is because methamphetamines, or “meth”, destroy both the body and the brain. Very few drugs do the same level of intense damage. Even mild or moderate use can lead to permanent health problems. To begin with, meth is highly addictive. This means that occasional users can quickly become reliant on the drug. This drives them to behave destructively. It also leads them to compulsively seek the drug out. Which leads to even more health problems.

The Physical Problems Caused by Meth

Methamphetamines, along with other amphetamines, affect many of the organs in the body. The most commonly damaged organs are:
  • Heart and blood vessels.
  • Liver and kidneys.
  • Bones and teeth.
  • Skin.
  • Lungs.

Heart and Blood Vessels

The first issue that meth creates is in raising a person’s heart rate. Our hearts are meant to work at a certain rate. When it is sped up, it can be damaged. Because meth is so addictive, people use it often. Thus, the heart races. Worse, people who become addicted to meth need larger amounts to receive the same high. This is because their body develops a tolerance to meth. Since they are using larger amounts, they increase their heart rate more. Over time, meth users often have high blood pressure. This leads to strokes. It can also cause heart attacks. Both of these can be fatal.

Liver and Kidneys

Meth isn’t natural at all. This is because it is made in a laboratory using chemicals. Since it is unnatural, it has many toxins in it. These need to be filtered out. The liver and kidneys are the filtration system for our bodies. When they are frequently bombarded with toxins, they become damaged. This is what happens with meth use. The large number of poisons that meth contains hurts the liver and kidneys. Over time, this leads to permanent damage. It can also lead to organ failure.

Bones and Teeth

Meth users often develop a condition known as “meth mouth.” This is major rot of the teeth. Meth mouth is caused by a mixture of factors:
  • Acids and toxins in meth corrode the teeth.
  • Meth use inhibits saliva production. This leads to dry mouth. Without saliva, toxins on the teeth are not washed away. This leads to increased decay.
  • Due to the mental problems of meth use, meth users often don’t take care of their teeth.
  • Meth users often grind their teeth. This reduces enamel. Since enamel protects the teeth, this allows toxins to attack the teeth directly.
  • Because meth users often eat poorly, they expose their teeth to more toxins.
When you combine all these factors, it is a recipe for rotted teeth. Meth use has also been found to impact bones. This is because meth increases metabolism. Increased metabolism affects the bones. By increasing metabolism, the bones decay faster. This can lead to osteoporosis and bone weakness. Bones can also be impacted by the dangerous toxins meth puts into the bloodstream.

Skin

Meth doesn’t directly cause skin problems. Instead, it causes itching. As a result, meth users frequently scratch. Therefore, they get sores. People can also have the delusion of bugs or devices in their skin. This can cause them to dig at their skin to remove these imaginary things.

Lungs

The lung problems with meth come mostly from people who smoke the drug. Inhaling the toxic smoke damages the lungs. Toxins in the bloodstream also harm the lungs.

The Mental Problems with Meth

In addition to damaging the body, the side effects of amphetamine use happen in the brain. These create many mental problems. The most common mental problems with meth are:
  • Insomnia.
  • Paranoia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Confusion.
  • Delusions.
  • Various mood disturbances including depression, agitation and irritability.
  • Violent behavior.
The longer a person uses meth, the worse these issues become. Those who use meth often, or who use large amounts can end up with permanent brain damage. This can cause some of these symptoms to last the rest of their life.

Getting Help with Meth

The sooner someone stops using meth, the better able they are to heal. If you or someone you know is battling meth addiction, we can help. Our staff can deal with meth addiction. We begin by helping our patients find medical detox. Then we create a treatment plan that helps repair the body and the mind. In addition to teaching our patients how to stay clean, we seek out new medications that will allow them to cope with any mental problems they may be experiencing. Because we have multiple levels of care, we are able to move someone from addiction all the way into living a sober life. Don’t wait. Each day the meth does a little more harm. Contact us today so that we can begin the care you or your loved one needs.
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