Short Term Effects of Methamphetamine Abuse

There are many short term effects that are caused by methamphetamine use. Although many people do not think that they are at risk, they are poorly mistaken. There are several ways that a person is affected. Here are a couple of ways that a person is affects on a short term basis:

Cardiovascular Effects – When using meth, chest pain and hypertension can result in cardiovascular collapse and death. Accelerated heartbeat, elevated blood pressure, and permanent damage to the blood vessels in a person brain can also occur.

Psychological Effects – Symptoms resembling schizophrenia can be caused. These are characterized by anger, paranoia, panic, hallucinations, repetitive behavior patterns, and formication (delusions of bugs or parasites under the skin). You can also experience homicidal or suicidal thoughts.

Other Physical Effects – Dizziness, tooth grinding, dry or itchy skin, acne, numbness, pupil dilation, sores, sweating, impaired speech, loss of appetite, and respiratory disorders.

Since methamphetamine is a drug that affects a person’s central nervous system, even in small amounts it can produce a euphoric sensation, increased alertness, and increased activity.

Adverse Effects of Methamphetamine Use

There are many adverse effects of methamphetamine use. Some of these include overdose, addiction, and health issues. What this means is that everyone is affected by methamphetamine use, whether you are the user, the family, or the loved ones. If you are a taxpaying citizen, you are affected.


When a person overdoses on methamphetamine, unlike other drugs, there are no immediate signs. Most of the time, a person will take a lethal dose and not realize immediately that they have are about to overdose. Once a person takes a lethal dose, a rapid onset of physiological deterioration occurs. This will eventually lead to a heart attack or stroke. When this overdose is fatal, it is sudden and unexpected. Some common signs of an overdose are profusely sweating, rapid breathing, dilated pupils, and increased heart rate. A person will have a very high temperature; they will experience kidney failure, and cardiovascular collapse. Again, all of this will happen very quickly. The dose of the meth taken varies from person to person on whether or not that amount will cause an overdose. An overdose can occur at low levels. For a non-tolerant user, 50 milligrams of pure drug can cause an overdose.

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug and users become physically dependant on it very quickly. This is in part due to the pleasurable and euphoric feelings that it produces. These feelings are followed by depression and irritability once the drug is wearing off and this is why most will continue to use. A user will seek more and more meth to try to get back to that pleasurable state. Many will think that just to feel “normal” they need to use. Addiction occurs because a person’s survival system is short circuited by artificial stimulation in the brain. This cause decreased confidence in normal rewards of life and an increase in confidence in meth. It will first affect them on a physical level and gradually affect them on a psychological level. The withdrawal from meth itself is not life threatening, but they very strenuous on a person and relapse is common.

Many people believe that meth addiction is one of the hardest addictions to treat. This is because the addicts are overly excited and resistant to any form of intervention once the acute affects of methamphetamine have worn off. The acute effects of meth withdrawal are over very quickly. There is a “wall” period that a person will go through that can last weeks, months, or even years to overcome. During this time, the brain is trying to recover from all the damage that has been done. Some addicts have done so much damage that the person will never recover 100%. During this stage, a person may feel fuzzyheaded, depressed, or think that nothing is pleasurable in life. At this point, will power alone is not going to get a person clean. When a person abruptly stops taking meth, without an effective treatment program about 90% of the addicts relapse.

Health Issues:

There are many public health issues as well as individual health issues when methamphetamine is involved in a situation. Public issues are most commonly found from waste left behind from a methamphetamine lab. Severe health problems or even death can occur from being exposed short term to high concentrations of the chemical vapors that exist in meth labs.  Exposures to these chemicals occur from volatile air emissions, spills, fires, and explosions. A fire fighter having to respond to a blaze is how the labs are most commonly found. The cooks, their families, and the first responders are at the highest risk of acute health effects.  These include lung damage and burns. After a meth lab is moved, the person who moves on the property where the lab was is at risk of health problems as well. Exposure to chemicals left behind can be dangerous to a person as well.


For more information on the short term effects of meth call 800-468-6933.

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