What are the medical complications of methamphetamine abuse?

Methamphetamine (commonly referred to as “meth”) is a highly addictive stimulant that has been classified by the U.S. government as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that the drug has a high potential for abuse and limited medical applications.

When taken without the approval and supervision of a qualified medical professional, meth can lead to a wide range of damaging and devastating effects, including the following:

  • Anxiety, confusion, and paranoia
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Brain damage (especially in the areas that control emotions and memory)
  • Disturbed mood and a tendency toward violent behavior
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat and other cardiovascular damage
  • Increased blood pressure and hyperthermia (dangerously high body temperature)
  • Loss of appetite and extreme weight loss
  • Lead poisoning (as the drug may be contaminated during production)
  • Significant prenatal damage and complications (in cases of use by pregnant women)
  • Severe dental damage

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), meth-related damage can occur after first-time use, and can become progressively more devastating among heavy or chronic use.

If you or someone you love is struggling to overcome an addiction to methamphetamine, know that effective treatment is available. For more information, or to find the treatment program that best meets your specific needs, call 866-323-5608.