Long-Term Effects of Meth Abuse and Addiction

Long-Term Effects of Meth Abuse and Addiction

Meth is a potent stimulant drug that is used medicinally to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). While it is available by prescription, most people who abuse meth are buying the street version. Street meth often contains dangerous household chemicals that are not intended for human consumption, making it risky to misuse. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2.5 million people abused meth in 2021.[1]

Meth causes short-term effects like increased energy, loss of appetite, a rush of euphoria, and more. This can be incredibly addictive, causing you to use meth without fear of consequences continuously. Unfortunately, long-term use of meth has a high potential of causing numerous adverse physical and mental health effects. 

Some of the long-term effects of methamphetamine include dental decay, malnutrition, heart complications, structural and functional brain changes, and even psychosis. In other words, misusing meth for a long period is incredibly dangerous. Thankfully, meth addiction treatment programs can help you overcome your substance use disorder and allow you to regain control over your life.

In this article, you will learn:

  • The short-term effects of meth abuse 
  • The long-term effects of meth 
  • Specific information on how each long-term effect of meth will affect you

What are the Short-Term Effects of Meth Abuse?

Meth is a stimulant drug that increases activity in your central nervous system (CNS). This can lead to symptoms like increased heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and more.  You might also experience heightened energy, increased focus, and a rush of euphoria. 

Meth can cause a variety of short-term effects, including:[2]

  • Increased energy and attention
  • Lessened need for sleep and food
  • A rush of euphoria 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Increased breathing rates
  • Excessive sweating and hyperthermia 
  • Anxiety and paranoia 
  • Dilated pupils and constricted blood vessels

While meth can cause effects that feel pleasurable, it can also lead to severe anxiety, paranoid thinking, and delusions. Because it causes you to stay awake for long hours, you could also become delirious and experience hallucinations.[3] The longer you use meth, the worse the symptoms will become. 

If you or a loved one suffers from methamphetamine abuse, it’s time to seek professional treatment. The effects of chronic meth use include short and long-term dangers, containing risks like life-threatening overdoses. A meth rehab center can provide the tools and support you need to achieve long-term sobriety. 

What are the Long-Term Side Effects of Meth Abuse and Addiction?

Methamphetamine addicts tend to binge on meth, which means they are using higher doses of it every time they get high. Unfortunately, this leads to significant mental and physical health effects, making meth one of the most dangerous substances to be addicted to. 

The long-term effects of meth abuse and addiction may include:[4]

Heart Issues

Meth causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase substantially. Because of this, regular use of it will cause strains on your cardiovascular system. You could experience heart issues like irregular heartbeat, arrhythmias, and even heart attacks or strokes. 

Dental Decay

Meth causes the constriction of blood vessels in your salivary glands which reduces saliva production, so you will have less saliva in your mouth. Saliva is important to dental health, including reducing damage from acids, protecting your enamel, neutralizing bacteria, and more. 

As a result of reduced saliva production, you will experience tooth decay from frequent meth abuse. You could experience increased cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Dental decay is so common among meth users that it is referred to as “meth mouth.”[5]

Substance-Induced Psychosis 

Meth abuse can lead to side effects like paranoia, delusions, and even hallucinations. Over time, this can develop into something more serious, which is referred to as “substance-induced psychosis.”[3]

Unfortunately, substance-induced psychosis can last anywhere from several weeks to years after you stop abusing meth. Psychosis is characterized as a detachment from reality accompanied by hallucinations and delusions. It often requires hospitalization and long-term mental health treatment. 

Weight Loss and Malnutrition

Stimulant drugs like meth cause you to have a decreased appetite. When you are binging on meth and staying high for days on end, it is not uncommon to forget to eat. Over time, this can lead to severe malnutrition, which can be life-threatening without treatment.[6] 

Decline in Cognitive Abilities 

Lastly, meth is known to cause changes in your brain structure and functioning. According to NIDA, meth can cause “alterations in the activity of the dopamine system that are associated with reduced motor speed and impaired verbal learning.”[3]

Repetitive use of meth can cause significant declines in your cognitive abilities. While some of these effects can be reversed with long-term sobriety, you might not fully recover from cognitive issues caused by meth abuse. 

Find Help for Meth Addiction 

If you or a loved one suffers from meth addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Meth addiction treatment centers like The Living Room can offer the tools and support you need to overcome a meth use disorder.

Contact us today for more information on how our meth addiction treatment center works. 


  1. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States
  2. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are the immediate (short-term) effects of methamphetamine
  3. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Methamphetamine Psychosis: Epidemiology and Management
  4. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What are the long-term effects of methamphetamine misuse 
  5. National Institutes of Health (NIH): Effects of Methamphetamine Withdrawal on the Volume and pH of Stimulated Saliva
  6. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Dietary Habits of Methamphetamine Users

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