Meth Addiction Health Risk Factors

There are various risk factors in developing a Meth health risk. Read on to learn more. 

Meth health risk

Table of Contents

What is Meth health risk?

Meth health risk occurs in someone as a result of the increase in natural chemical dopamine in the human brain. Both young and older adults develop tolerance and dependence due to constant intake of the substance.

Meth is a very addictive synthetic stimulant with significant effects on the central nervous system. The drug can result in addiction in just one use. In certain cases, the substance is useful in the treatment of mental health conditions like ADHD. Most individuals using meth in the United States typically take the street version of the substance. 

Drug Schedule

Other common names for meth include ice, crank, and speed. Methamphetamine belongs to the Schedule II drug class typically known for its high potential for abuse. Other examples of Schedule II drugs include hydromorphone, oxycodone, and fentanyl. 

Methods of Use

Meth appears in different forms, including white powder, pills, and crystals. Common forms of meth intake include swallowing the powder, injecting the powder, swallowing meth pills, and smoking the substance. Due to the tendency for the drug’s “high” to fade quickly, people typically binge the drug intake. 

What Does a Meth High Feel Like?

Initial Rush

The stimulant’s high starts with an initial rush and meth half-life extend for an average of ten hours. When a person smokes or injects methamphetamine, they typically experience a rush caused by an increase in blood pressure or heart rate. The pleasure-inducing transmitters in the brain are also responsible for the meth rush individuals experience at first intake. 

The High

Snorting meth doesn’t produce an equal level of a rush as smoking or injecting the substance. Instead, individuals typically experience a euphoric sensation, which increases meth health risks. Injection typically produces a rush that lasts half an hour.

After the initial meth rush, individuals may experience a high that extends from eight hours to a full day. The period of experiencing this high depends on the mode of consumption. Note that injecting methamphetamine typically gives a stronger high compared to snorting or smoking. Moreover, in situations of overdose, someone may experience tweaking. 

Short-term Health Risk of Meth Use

Consuming small amounts of this drug can cause harmful effects on the body. Here is a breakdown of meth health risks and their short-term effects: 

Increased Blood Pressure

For most individuals, the normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. After meth use, individuals may experience an elevated blood pressure of 120 – 129 mmHg/less than 80mmHg due to constrictions and spasms.

There are various levels of elevated blood pressure. For stage one high blood pressure, individuals may have 130 – 139 mmHg/80 – 89 mmHg. Someone with stage two high blood pressure has systolic and diastolic numbers of 140 mmHg and above/90 mmHg and above. If a person has a blood pressure higher than 180 mmHg/ higher than 120 mmHg, it is vital to consult a doctor immediately. 

Faster Breathing

Someone experiencing faster breathing is a significant sign of meth abuse. These individuals may also experience labored breathing and other such difficulties. Note that faster breathing is more prevalent in individuals consuming crystal meth (a smoked form of meth).

This faster or troubled breathing from meth use is typically due to constriction to blood vessels. Consult a doctor when there’s a noticeable sign of faster breathing. 

Irregular Heartbeat

The synthetic stimulant effect of meth makes it speed up the body’s vital signs, including the heartbeat. According to a report, cardiovascular disease is the second-leading cause of death among individuals using meth after a possible accidental overdose. The study also reviews the drug’s effect on conditions like stroke or heart disease.1

Regular and continuous use may cause various meth health risks, including narrowing of the arteries. When the arteries are narrowed, a person may have less oxygen and blood to reach the heart muscle. Hence, the heart may need to work harder to cause irregular heartbeat and chest pain in most cases. 

Disturbed Sleep Patterns

People who use meth may experience significant disruption in their typical sleep cycle because of the synthetic stimulant. Those who binge the stimulant may be unable to sleep for one or more days during meth half-life.

When an individual stops the consumption of meth, there will be a depletion in certain neurotransmitters, which may result in drowsiness and lethargy. Most people who experience meth use disorder experience decreased REM sleep and poor-quality sleep. Those individuals may also have disturbing dreams during sleep. 

Erratic Behavior

Another term that may describe erratic behavior in someone consuming meth is tweaking. Tweaking describes the disorganized and compulsive behavior that people using meth exhibit after large doses. People may demonstrate repeated physical motions, mood swings, and violent outbursts

It is worth noting that individuals may also display other meth health risks like destructive behaviors, irregular speech patterns, and anger for several days after its intake. 

Long-term Health Risk of Meth Use

Constant intake of the substance causes certain long-term meth health risks. Here’s what to know: 

Heart Issues

Meth can cause severe effects on someone’s overall heart health. The substance is responsible for the constriction of blood vessels causing a spike in the normal blood pressure. The drug’s effects on the CNS cause a stimulating effect, which ultimately results in a faster heartbeat.

The cardiotoxic effects that the substance causes in individuals include weakening of heart muscle, narrowing of blood vessels, and high blood pressure. Note that people who use the substance have a high chance of having high cholesterol and blood pressure, which are significant meth health risks. 

Brain Issues

After an intake of meth, someone may experience a massive release of dopamine and norepinephrine, including other neurotransmitters. The body then experiences an increase in energy, feeling of invulnerability, and powerful euphoric meth side effects.

An increase in meth use is linked to a decrease in the number of neurons in the CNS or neuronal death. Some areas of the brain that may experience neuronal death include the striatum, the parietal cortex, the hippocampus, cerebellum, frontal and prefrontal cortex, and some subcortical structures. 

Severe Dental Problems

One of the most common symptoms of consistent meth use is the development of meth mouth. Tooth decay and gum disease are both major symptoms that indicate the presence of meth mouth and typically cause the teeth to fall out. People experiencing meth use disorder may observe blackened, stained, and rotting teeth.

Regular use of meth also makes individuals crave carbonated, sugary, or high-calorie beverages, which contributes to poor dental hygiene. According to a study in a group of 571 meth users, 6% of older ones had less than ten teeth, 40% of the individuals agreed they were uncomfortable with their dental appearance, while 96% had tooth decay.

Premature Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis occurs when the body loses too much bone, produces little bone, or both. The condition makes the bones weak and increases the tendency for them to break from a fall or minor bumps. Those who use meth on a long-term basis typically experience drug-induced premature osteoporosis.3

Most people that take meth typically go long periods without eating. In cases where these individuals eat, there’s a high tendency that they don’t follow a nutritious diet after consumption. Hence, they tend to develop osteoporosis. 


The synthetic stimulant tends to cause meth-induced psychosis, which leads to hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. People experiencing hallucinations see objects that aren’t where they think are or feel bugs crawling under their skin after taking the substance.

Paranoia typically occurs as an effect of hallucinations after meth intake. Due to the increase in brain activity by meth, a person may experience paranoid thoughts or rumination. Note that in most cases, paranoia typically occurs as a meth withdrawal symptom. 

HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis

The possibility of HIV/AIDS or hepatitis is due to the constant misuse of the substance. Contacting HIV/AIDS is possible due to the sharing of contaminated syringes or needles. One of the major meth health risks is individuals engaging in certain risky behaviors like unprotected sex. 

Meth Overdose

Meth overdose is treatable, but people typically find it hard to admit their usage. Different symptoms indicate an overdose of meth. Some of these symptoms or meth risks include rapid breathing problems, seizures, kidney failure, changes in personality, and loss of consciousness.

Here’s a breakdown of all you need to know about meth health risks and overdose: 

Acute Overdose

Acute meth overdose occurs when an individual consumes the drug unintentionally or on purpose and suffers life-threatening meth side effects. Note that the acute overdose symptoms typically last for a short period, typically within twenty-four hours. 

Chronic Overdose

Individuals who experience a chronic overdose of meth are typically individuals that consume it frequently. Some of the common meth risks or chronic overdose symptoms include behavioral changes, bone marrow damage, dermatitis, and cerebral atrophy. 

Meth Rehab Options

Rehab is imperative to minimize the disabling meth side effects. When a person stops the intake of meth, it typically results in meth withdrawal. Note that withdrawal signifies physical and mental symptoms that take place after an individual stops the intake of the substance.

During rehab to manage meth risks and withdrawal symptoms, medical experts typically advise detoxification. Some of the common symptoms of detox include fatigue, nausea, depression, dehydration, anxiety, and hallucinations.

During rehab, medical experts may suggest a couple of treatment options for meth risks. Some of these options include: 

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: The purpose of CBT is to shift behaviors to stop certain unhealthy patterns to avoid meth risks. This therapy helps patients identify reactions to environmental or emotional cues.4
  • Contingency management intervention: The management intervention focuses on motivation via reward. It offers incentives in exchange for accepting treatment for meth use disorder. 


If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

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