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July 24, 2022

Why Is Methamphetamine So Harmful?

Methamphetamine is one of the most dangerous and addictive recreational drugs. When consumed, methamphetamine, which is also called, “meth,” “crystal,” “chalk,” “crank,” “ice,” and “speed,” may make you temporarily feel energetic or alert. But in reality, meth creates a false sense of energy and well-being. After the effects of the drug vanish, most people experience a severe “crash” that can lead to a physical and mental breakdown alongside intense cravings. Continued use of methamphetamine can cause long-term mental health challenges, physical ailments, disease, addiction, and even death. Luckily, understanding some key information about methamphetamine, including its chemical composition, potency, how the drug affects the brain, and the short-term and long-term side effects of use can help you avoid or stop using the substance.

Using methamphetamine can devastate your life and body because:

  • The drug is made with toxic chemicals and harmful ingredients
  • The substance is highly addictive and hard to quit
  • A single dose can have deadly side effects
  • The drug can cause permanent mental and physical damage

Risk Factor 1: Toxic Ingredients

Methamphetamine is made up of toxic ingredients such as acetone, anhydrous ammonia, ether, red phosphorus, and lithium. These products, which are hazardous to your health, can be found in nail polish remover, fertilizer, synthetic dyes, plastic, flame retardants, and smoke bombs. When ingested into the body, these chemicals irritate the nose and throat and can also cause:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Skin burns
  • Eye problems
  • Kidney damage
  • Cancer

Risk Factor 2: Highly Addictive

Methamphetamine is also very addictive. In chemistry, potency refers to the amount of activity that happens in the human body when a substance is consumed. A drug’s potency is measured by the amount of d-isomer, or molecular formula, present in a certain quantity of the substance.

Even small amounts of highly potent drugs can trigger a strong physical or emotional response in the body. In comparison, drugs with lower potency must be taken in higher concentrations to evoke the same kind of response.

Between the years 2017 and 2018, methamphetamine’s potency has increased from 92.1 to 96.9. Generally, highly potent drugs such as methamphetamine are also highly addictive. Some people can become addicted to methamphetamine after trying the drug once. Others may not become addicted right away, but methamphetamine cravings and withdrawals can be so strong that you continue to use the drug, increasing your risk of addiction.

Risk Factor 3: Extreme Highs and Lows

Consuming methamphetamine causes a powerful, euphoric high. This false sense of well-being can make you feel confident, empowered, and energetic. Unfortunately, the high doesn’t last long and is followed by an equally powerful and intense crash. When you crash, you might also experience extreme nausea, vomiting, intense itching, or diarrhea. You might even have convulsions that can lead to death. The extreme highs and lows which methamphetamine causes can wreak havoc on your body and make you more prone to mood disorders, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, which can lead to even more substance abuse.

Risk Factor 4: Deadly Side Effects

Meth stimulates the central nervous system. Even though this may make you feel excited and energetic at first, high doses of methamphetamine can have deadly side effects. Your blood pressure can increase. Your body can overheat. Your heart may race. High doses of stimulants such as methamphetamine can also cause seizures, strokes, convulsions, heart attacks, and death.

Risk Factor 5: Permanent Damage to Your Health

Long-term use of methamphetamine can permanently damage your physical, mental, and cognitive health. Prolonged use of methamphetamine can cause:

  • An increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Premature aging
  • Damaged blood vessels in the brain
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Lung damage
  • Brain damage and memory loss
  • Depression and anxiety

Risk Factor 6: Difficult To Quit

Methamphetamine is one of the hardest drugs to quit. Like cocaine, methamphetamine is often consumed in a “binge and crash” pattern. Unfortunately, this behavior tricks the brain into thinking it needs methamphetamine in order to function properly.

Methamphetamine also alters brain structures responsible for decision-making and impairs your ability to suppress and stop harmful behavior patterns.

Without professional help, these changes, combined with devastating withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, psychosis, insomnia, fatigue, depression, and cognitive issues, can make you feel like methamphetamine is impossible to quit. Luckily, our flexible, outpatient treatment programs can help you quit methamphetamine for good and maintain a sober life.

Empowering You To Live A Sober Life

Here at Meta, we’re here to help you overcome addiction and live a life of recovery. Our flexible, comprehensive treatment programs can help you quit methamphetamine and develop a road-map for long-term sobriety. Addiction doesn’t have to continue to control your life. Let us help guide you through the recovery process. Contact us to learn more.