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How Does Meth Affect the Brain?

Methamphetamine is a powerful illicit stimulant that quickly causes damage to the brain. It is highly addictive and rapidly creates tolerance, causing a user to use more and more of the drug to experience the same effects. With increased use and addiction, the damage that meth causes to the brain is greatly increased.

Methamphetamine can be taken by smoking, swallowing, snorting, or injecting the drug. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Because the ‘high’ from the drug both starts and fades quickly, people often take repeated doses in a ‘binge and crash’ pattern. In some cases, people take methamphetamine in a form of binging known as a ‘run,’ giving up food and sleep while continuing to take the drug every few hours for up to several days.” The pattern of bingeing intensifies the damage caused by the drug, making the health consequences in both long-term and short-term use much greater.

The combination of bingeing patterns, lack of sleep, and the drug itself, causes major damage to the brain. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, “Because continued use of the drug decreases natural feelings of hunger, users can experience extreme weight loss. Negative effects can also include disturbed sleep patterns, hyperactivity, nausea, delusions of power, increased aggressiveness and irritability. Other serious effects can include insomnia, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety and paranoia. In some cases, use can cause convulsions that lead to death.” Additionally, long-term methamphetamine use can lead to permanent damage to blood vessels in the heart and brain, increased risk of heart attack and stroke, tooth decay, malnutrition, disorientation, confusion, exhaustion, psychosis, depression, and damage to the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and epilepsy. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “Users may suffer brain damage, including memory loss and an increasing inability to grasp abstract thoughts. Those who recover are usually subject to memory gaps and extreme mood swings.”

Even with short-term use, methamphetamine can cause serious damage to the brain. Meth use causes increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature, which can reach dangerous levels quickly. There is also the possibility of convulsions, seizures, and death from high doses of the drug. According to the Foundation for a Drug-Free World, other risks include: “Bizarre, erratic, sometimes violent behavior; hallucinations, hyperexcitability, irritability; panic and psychosis.”

No matter how far down you have fallen into addiction, recovery is possible. You can make the decision to reach out for help today and begin building a happy, joyous, and free life in sobriety. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, is staffed with the highest quality behavior health and addiction specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools needed to achieve and maintain lasting sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431