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Side Effects of Meth Use

Meth users are likely to experience a wide range of physical side effects from using meth, which can result whether meth is used once or on a regular basis.

Obviously, continued and excessive use of meth will result in more serious health problems for the user. Nonetheless, even the experimental meth user may experience medical conditions as a result of using meth which can be very serious, if not fatal.

Physical side effects
Using meth, even one time, can cause heart failure, irreversible brain damage, and stroke. If a person overdoses on meth, he or she will very quickly experience cardiovascular and kidney malfunction and collapse, which can lead to coma and death. Brain damage that occurs due to meth usage can be permanent. Such brain damage can lead to decreased cognitive abilities, including memory, reasoning, and judgment, and severe impairment to motor coordination. In this regard, the side effects of meth usage are similar to the symptoms of a person who has been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

Other common medical side effects of using meth include hyperthermia, or an extreme rise in body temperature, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, inflammation of the heart lining and blood vessels, tremors, convulsions, xerostemia, or "dry mouth," and tooth decay. Meth usage can also result in respiratory disorders, fatal kidney and lung disorders, blood clots, irregular heartbeat, liver damage, ulcers, erectile dysfunction, and a deficient immune system. Since meth acts as an appetite suppressant, major weight loss is common among meth users, and can lead to anorexia.

Psychological side effects
Moreover, meth usage can cause substantial behavioral and emotional side effects, including increased anxiety, mood swings, paranoia, confusion, irritability, psychosis, depression, suicidal and homicidal tendencies, visual and auditory hallucinations, and extreme outbursts of rage. The mental side effects of using meth can be severe enough that they resemble the behaviors of a person who suffers schizophrenia. A meth user may behave aggressively, irrationally, and bizarrely, and has the capacity to commit serious, violent crimes.

Complications with injections
Users who inject meth are also at risk of infectious diseases such as HIV and/or Hepatitis transmission, as are all intravenous drug users. When the risk of contracting these infectious diseases is combined with a compromised immune system, which can result from meth usage, the results can be very severe, or even fatal. Repeated meth injections also can result in skin abscesses at the injection sites, which can lead to infection and other complications, as well.

Due to the array of chemicals commonly used in the production of meth, users may be exposed to toxic substances that independently can cause medical complications. Some meth manufacturers use lead acetate as a reagent in the production of meth, which can lead to acute lead poisoning. Additionally, exposure to other metals and salts that may be used in meth production can also lead to health problems; exposure to some of the chemicals can even result in cancer, respiratory problems, anemia, and birth defects.

Finally, all of the side effects of meth usage are compounded by its highly addictive nature. As a result, treatment is difficult, relapse is likely, and serious long-term side effects are probable.