5 Dangerous Side Effects of Meth You Need to Know

Knowing the Dangerous Side Effects of Meth Can Mean the Difference Between Life and Death

The opioid epidemic in the United States is a crisis, and methamphetamine addiction knows no social, economic or geographic boundaries. Because it is highly addictive and people can have a serious allergic reaction to meth, it is critical for everyone to be aware of just how risky this drug is. Learn the five most dangerous side effects of meth so you can help protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming opiate addicts, or help them seek treatment quickly.


Methamphetamine is so addictive, abusers develop an intense craving for it. They need to take higher doses of the drug, change how they administer it, or take it more frequently to achieve a pleasurable effect. In addition, users may experience an allergic reaction to meth, or withdrawal symptoms like depression, fatigue and anxiety. Addicts have a chronic condition, which results in compulsive behavior to seek out the drug. Relapses are common, and addiction to this drug is a disease which requires comprehensive and in many cases, ongoing treatment. Other side effects of crystal meth addiction include devastating financial loss, emotional anguish and broken family relationships.

Aggressive and Violent Behavior

The dangerous side of effects of meth go beyond routine mood disturbances and having an allergic reaction to meth. Methamphetamine abusers can develop psychotic behavior including:

  • Paranoia
  • Visual illusions
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Delusions

Psychotic symptoms can even persist for years after a person has quit abusing methamphetamine. Routine stress encountered in daily life can easily cause long-term users to spontaneously exhibit psychotic behavior. Violent behavior is one of the most serious side effects of meth because it not only impacts the user, but puts family in friends in danger.

Brain Damage

The underlying cause of behavioral changes is the damage meth causes to the brain. Brain imaging studies in chronic abusers show severe changes in areas of the brain related to memory and emotion. These side effects of crystal meth reduce motor skills and impair verbal learning. Brain damage may be partially reversible with early intervention, but it is critical to seek help at the first signs of a meth addiction. Methamphetamine abusers also have a higher risk of stroke, which can also result in brain damage.

Heart Attack and Stroke

Methamphetamine use can cause a variety of heart problems, including arrhythmias, heart palpitations, stroke and heart failure. The drug causes inflammation and damage to the heart by increasing blood pressure and constricting blood vessels. Young meth users with no known health issues can experience an allergic reaction to meth or sudden cardiac death, which is one of the most serious dangerous side effects of meth.

Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

Toxic epidermal necrolysis is just one more of the life-threatening side effects of crystal meth. In this condition, large areas of skin peel off over 30 percent of the body. The peeling skin removes the entire top layer of skin, which can be serious, since skin helps protect against infections and diseases. Rash and sores accompany the peeling skin, and users become extremely ill with symptoms of fever and chills. Toxic epidermal necrolysis can also cause large amounts of fluid to seep out of the body. When exposed tissues are no longer able to protect the body from infection, disease can spread throughout the body and lead to organ failure, which is one of the more serious deadly side effects of meth.

Fortunately, there are a variety of types of treatment options for people suffering from meth addiction. Important aspects of recovery programs include the flexibility to complete treatment at home or at a rehab treatment center. Regardless of the specific methamphetamine addiction treatment, the most important things are swift intervention and a supportive network of family and friends.

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